Monday, February 2, 2015
“Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ― African Proverb
Karen had a big crowd (over thirty) parents of preschool children and guardians of preschool orphans here yesterday afternoon to begin Santa Caryn Pierce Academy as a new school totally under the control and direction of Karen Wiggins and Maisha Na Maji. This is a big change as the Methodist Church had been in charge of the school, but the pastor had stolen money from the parents, failed to pay the teachers, and ultimately was kicked out of the Methodist Church and is no longer a pastor or even a member. He married a woman with money and is now running a competing school about two kilometers from here complete with a school bus. The Presiding Bishop asked Karen to take over the preschool and run it, and she agreed. The parents that were here are looking for a good education for their children and know that that is what we provide, along with meals. They also know that the Montessori Method is in use here along with the latest technology which allows the kids to use iPads to do the Starfall reading program. One of the pictures at the right is of Karen having a child show the parents how the Starfall program works on an iPad. We have three iPads for the school and could use more, so if you have upgraded and don’t know what to do with your generation one or two iPads—send them here, please. The former pastor took the teachers with him—however, as God usually does, He sent a certified teacher complete with diplomas in hand to the meeting yesterday, so we don’t even miss a beat getting this school year going. The children will all be three, four, or five years old, and we are going to try to hold the class to a maximum of thirty-five, but we have not been very good at keeping the numbers down in any classes we have ever had here. If an orphan shows up and wants to go to school here, it is very hard to send her away. Karen is making sure the parents know exactly what is going on, exactly what they are paying for (those who can, pay for those who can’t) as we are charging about $8.00 a month for those who can pay. The charge is the same if the family has one, two, or three children here, just $8.00. We receive no money from the U.S. to run this school although we do receive help with the afternoon English class with its twenty-five students. That class has been running for ten years now and has established quite a reputation locally. We pride ourselves on doing the best that we can for each child regardless of their circumstances, and the parents know this. The group yesterday was very happy and left feeling very good about the education of their children and guardians (many orphans get sent to remotely connected family members who don’t give them the care they give their own). Karen and Neema are excited about the upcoming year, especially since John is going to help teach them how to type on computers one day a week. This is a good thing, a God thing, something we cannot ignore. All children are precious, especially those in our keeping.