“Dear A Little Gesture,
How are you all? Here daily life is taking its normal course again.
We were allocated 3 new teachers, two of them recent transfers. Alongside with Sister Maria do Ceu and the ALG Technician Silvestre, we have 16 people in total as our staff. As to the students, we will be doing the updated lists this coming week so we have exact numbers of school attendance.
The soup and the children’s [flour-based] meal has brought generalised happiness, you should see them eating with such joy, throwing nothing away. We managed to feed the whole group of 650 people until now with a daily meal, 3 times soup and 2 times the children’s meal. For the soup we used all the leftover vegetables from the students in culinary class that were kept in the fridge.When the stock wear out we will need to figure out the next step, but we will work something out! Once again we thank you the funds transferred of MZN30’000 [c.£770], we will get through a month of meals. Next week I will call JAM Life [who has been supporting the school with food] to see when their support starts again, as they lost all the supplies they had here between the floods and the looting afterwards. But there is hope.
Classes are running normally, we will only need 3 additional saturdays to make up for the programme missed while the school was flooded. We were so happy with the support of the congregation offering us school supplies for every student, grouped as a family or by household. We ran the numbers and we are now covering 416 families. We received supplies for 300 but we stretched it fairly for everyone. With the second transfer of funds sent by ALG for emergencies and with some third-party donations of food, alongside the usual sponsoring programme [from UPG Portugal], we managed to distribute our usual basic monthly basket for all the children. Hunger is prevalent here after the floods so everyone received 10kgs of rice, a bag of 12.5kg of corn flour, 5 kg of beans, 5kg of peanuts, 2 litres of oil, 2 kgs of sugar, 2 kgs of salt and 2 pieces of soap. This coming week we will give children under the ALG/UPG programme some tea, pasta, sugar and if we manage to find it cheaper a chicken (ours were taken by the rain waters) and also some soap.
We are sewing new school uniforms so they have a pair of presentable clothes for school, as many of them have lost everything. Yesterday and today, children had their religious course as usual. For the catholic families in the region who which so, over 200, we have a weekly timetable with classes.
This year, in October or November, we will host the christening of over 30 students. Among them we have several children sponsored by ALG’s sister charity UPG Portugal such as Catarina, Benilda, Azelia, Rafael, Noemia, Andrisse, Leneo, Teresa e sandra, Almira and Marian, if they continue to study and behave properly. It will be such a joy for them.
As to school supplies, all the children received from UNICEF or from PLAN a school bag, pencils, journals, rubber, rulers, compass, etc. You cannot imagine their excitement as all 650 of them received one! As soon as I gather all the photos from all these events, stored in father Miguel’s camera, I will send them to you. Our ALG photo camera has not been working since the floods and needs assistance.
As to the house of local girls Elsa and Leonilda, our Silvestre is giving all he can to recover it, I shall keep you posted. I will stop this or you will bore of all these news, as life here is now a constant flow of news… A big hug and gratitude for all you have done for the children and for ourselves.
With tenderness, from your forever friend Sister Lidia, Vicentine Missionary in Manjague, Chokwe”