Like in the three years before, for Christmas we had a Salvation Play in which our young sisters were happy to be part. They decided about their costumes and tried to understand what Christmas was for the simple people of the time of Jesus, and what it might mean for us today.
On December 3, 2010, the clinic in Mgbele/Imo State was officially opened and blessed by the Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony J. V. Obinna, in the presence of many of the sisters and many people from the area. The clinic will serve as a basis for the mobile clinics in the area. It has a small laboratory, a pharmacy, consulting rooms, a labour room, two private rooms and a ward with three beds. The first baby was born there on December 16th, a healthy boy. A first child before that had been born in the convent building before the clinic was finished, also a boy.
For the second time, on November 20, 2010, the Power Girls came to Garam. This time we had about 40 girls from the whole area. They were taught about hygiene and environment questions, about nutritious food and food preparation in general. They had a good time although this time, there were no presents of clothing. They will come again next February for further teaching, having a good time with playing and dancing and good food.
Supported by Dr. Peter Calouri, Switzerland, a nursery school was opened also in Mgbele, in September 2010. A group of benefactors in Switzerland donated the money to buy the land and to start building the school. So far, there are four classrooms and a store room. About 80 children are being taught there, by two of our sisters and two female teachers. The younger children from our children’s home also go there.
And finally, in Area 4, Osun State, our Ifetedo sisters opened a school. There, we have no land yet as there are problems within the village as to which land should be used. We are teaching about 80 children presently in the village hall and in two rooms in a private house. Four teachers are employed there, as the sisters cannot go every day due to the miserable and dangerous roads.
Especially in the rainy season, Area 4 can hardly be reached. Several times, the sisters were stranded on the way as the roads were washed away. When they can reach the place, the sisters teach the teachers. We hope to soon build our school there and also provide a room where the sisters can stay during the week.
On the 21st of August, we had the first day of a new program, which we call Power Girls. We invited girls of the age group between 12 and 16 years to come and spend a day with us, to learn about their own dignity and value in life and how to grow and develop into happy and mature women. We plan that the same group of about 30 girls can come 4 times, within the span of a year, and then another group can be invited after that.
The sisters invited girls they knew from catechism or school or clinic, not only Catholic girls. For this first day, some more girls came along, so we had 38 in the end. Not all of them go to school and so know English, Josie translated into Bwagi; Josie is a girl who has finished Secondary School and helps us a translator in the clinics.
The day started with welcome and some snacks, and then one of the postulants, gave them a short talk on personal hygiene. There were a number of questions. A break followed, and then we gave out some items of clothing, towels, soap and belts to the girls in groups of 5 so that they could try the things in peace and quiet. There were games, then a short prayer, then lunch and another time of games and fun. A second health talk followed, this time on menstruation and how to care for oneself. We closed with a short feedback and prayer songs and then the girls went home happily. The time in all was from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both the girls and the sisters were happy with the results and think that we achieved our goals for this day. As the name says, we want to empower the girls to grow up and mature. In the Nigerian Society, girls are lowest in the rating, they get food last, are sent to school last, and have to work hardest both in the fields and in caring for their siblings. On November 20th, the second day will follow.
On August 7, 2010, the second graduation took place in Azhin Khasa school. A representative of the Ministry of Education was there, giving the approval to the Nursery section and also demanding that we open a primary school immediately for the next academic term. The results of the students were so good that the Ministry feels we need to keep on teaching these children, not sending them on to other primary schools. So we now have a nursery and a primary section.
Building goes on in Azhin Khasa, the first three classrooms, a library and a computer room are finished besides an office for the headmistress. Seven of our sisters are teaching there as well as two male teachers.