Laying the Corner Stone

Amethyst Roth and Euclide Mugisho, two of the founders of the community lay the corner stone to start the building process.

Amethyst Roth and Euclide Mugisho, two of the founders of the community lay the corner stone to start the building process.

The property in Mugunga is buzzing with activity. People are hauling bags of small lava rocks on their backs, others are chiseling rocks to fit into spaces. Men are cutting, bending and shaping steel frames that will reinforce the structure that will become our next classroom. The construction on our first block building began this week. Rally International NCE hired teams of 15 people per week to work. We finished the foundation for the building, including the steel frame reinforcement that will enable the building to have a second story.

Pastor Euclide and Amethyst laid the first stone at a celebration that included sodas and loaves of bread for all the workers. Children were running and playing on the large mounds of sand that were trucked in for mixing cement, despite being told not to-- a huge pile of sand just invites children to play in any part of the world!

Women are working as masons-- mixing cement and helping to build the foundation for this building. The bricks have been delivered this week for the walls and the building will be progressing quickly in order to be ready by the end of summer. It is beautiful to see the community pull together in order to build a classroom. This is a classroom that will contribute to the future of Congo. We are literally laying the building blocks of the future on our land. 

Members of the Rally International NCE celebrate laying the first stone with bread and soda.

Members of the Rally International NCE celebrate laying the first stone with bread and soda.

Elbow Space in the Classroom

This is post written by Michelle Smith. Follow her on Facebook.

It began raining early in the morning, waking me up from my sleep. I laid in bed and prayed that the rain would clear for this was the day that the classrooms would change. A delivery truck full of brand new desks would come to the school. I waited until the last moment, but the rain would not let up - I reluctantly put on rain gear and headed out on the street to search for a motorbike taxi. I knew I would be paying at least twice as much to convince a driver to take me all the way to Mugunga in the rain. I was soaked by the time I got to the school. I could hear the children reciting their lessons and walked up to the school to peek into one of the windows. I soon was choking back tears when I saw all the beautiful desks and children having enough space to work. There were no children crammed onto benches and bent over uncomfortably to write on their papers. There were no longer 4-5 children sharing a desk built for 2. The rain began to clear and I smiled. I did not care that I was soaked - this day was about much more than my personal comfort - it was to celebrate the comfort of these students within their classroom.

I knocked on the second grade classroom door and slowly entered with a surprised look on my face - I asked loudly if the students liked their new desks and cheering erupted. I began hitting the top of a desk and asked again if they liked their new desks - that was all it took and then there was drumming on the desks and loud shouting and clapping from all the students.

“Thank you for the desks!” 
“We Love our desks!” 
“God bless you!”
“Praise God!”

I took the time to go to each class and have a celebration with them. Each teacher lost control of his classroom, but was perfectly happy for the interruption this day. I made a point to remind them that it was generous people in the US that had given the money for the desks - not me. And it was God that blessed them with the money so they could bless others. God deserved the credit for getting them their desks, not me.

Thank you for the ones who gave so generously to make this happen - I can not tell you the gratitude our community and school feel. Thank you also to the ones of you who faithfully share my stories and give me a chance to reach even more people. Please continue to let your heart be softened by these stories - for they are not just stories, but lives. The lives of small children that are being changed daily, the lives of parents that are being impacted, the life of a community that continues to grow. You have the power to change lives.

   Prior to the additional desks being added to each class, many of the students would be crammed together on benches - they did not complain, but there was not adequate space to work.

 

Prior to the additional desks being added to each class, many of the students would be crammed together on benches - they did not complain, but there was not adequate space to work.

   Now each student has space to work and is sitting correctly and comfortably! Look at those smiles!

 

Now each student has space to work and is sitting correctly and comfortably! Look at those smiles!