Hello once again, we hope you had a wonderful Easter…
In Africa we have a saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.” We want this attitude to resonate with you once you’re through reading this blogpost. For our ardent readers, we were unable to produce February update because we were quite busy. Without much delay, welcome to our 2nd newsletter of 2016, we hope you take something from this update as we march into spring together.
Director’s Visit to EMCI Adamawa in February
In the second week of February our founders, Paul & Becky, traveled to Northeastern Nigeria to pay a visit to our learning centers there. There, we visited with parents and staff members to encourage and get feedback from them. Materials and other school supplies were procured to aid the smooth operations of school activities. 60 desks are being made for the center there, to add to the desks already there which currently seat 130 students. The new desks each seat 3 students for additional seating capacity of 180 students.
A need we observed was for a media room, where we can play educational CD’s and have sufficient audio/visual projection to facilitate the learning process to as many pupils at a time as possible. Stipends were paid to all the teachers and supporting personnel for the months of February and March.
EMCI Visit to Borno State Learning Center in March
During the first week of March, four EMCI members traveled to Borno and visited with the learning center there. Though they were out of session for their midterm break, we were greeted by many parents and members of the security team (vigilante there). Some of the current activities going on there include:
- 150 desks being made for the center there. Each desk holds 3 children and they will be transported to them after Easter
- 51 senior students to sit for their SSCE (final exam)
- Uniforms and ID cards made for each student
- Received and delivered donations of 48 Soccer Jerseys from a Catholic School in Manchester, UK
Finally, we also paid monthly stipends for February and March to all the teachers and supporting personnel there.
Update on Relocated Schoolchildren in Nigeria
After our return from the Borno and Adamawa states we were able to secure three openings for girl students at one of the schools in central Nigeria. Subsequently, we relocated eight orphaned girls from a Borno community to our home in central Nigeria, which has become a transition-house for these kids, in hopes to gain admission for them all. They range in age from twelve to twenty-three. One girl has already been enrolled in the school where we already have a couple girls. We are working on placing the girls into more schools in either the same city or another city in the same region.
The last Saturday of each month brings with it visiting day at two of the schools where sixteen children have been relocated in central Nigeria. Following our visits with them at the end of January, we took their school provisions requests and made arrangements to meet their needs as best we could. Foodstuff like garri and corn were supplied to the thirteen children at one of the schools and in early-March, they came “home” for a week during their mid-term break. For the three boys in the other school, we bought shoes for them as well as painting class and math utensils.
In early February, EMCI also visited with the two girls who were relocated to another city in central Nigeria. There the matron at the facility informed us of their progress in their new school and was happy to report that after an initial slow transition, the girls were acclimating well to their new environment. They made requests for school supplies such as books and writing materials, which we made arrangements for.
Easter with the Schoolchildren in Nigeria
Shortly before Easter, sixteen students came home for breaks, some of whom have 3-week holidays to mark the end of the session. While here, they have integrated with the eight new girls and made them feel at home too. Some of them were reunited as they had known each other from back when they were schooling in Borno together. Those who were able to travel, went back home for the 3 week break.
On Thursday, March 24th while most of the kids were around, we had a Skype session with Todd Flory and his fourth grade class at Wheatland Elementary School in Andover, Kansas. Todd is a COB member who after reading our article in the October issue of Messenger showed interest in Skyping us. His class connects with other classes and students around the world with Skype. We wanted both our students to become more aware of and involved in the issue of global education access, especially for the girls and refugees. The Skype session was great; our kids learned about limericks while we taught them some phrases in Hausa. Todd asked if we could Skype them again on April 14th as they will be doing an all-day through midnight Skype Around the World project. We’ll be forward looking to that.
Spring Break and Valentine’s in the US
Some of our relocated schoolgirls still high school in the US had a pizza night reunion on Valentine’s weekend.They asked for pizza – which is a good sign that they are acculturizing to American food. They also didn’t mind that it was half pork half sausage!
Some of the students attending school in the US underwent career testing this week as they continued to progress educationally and pursue long-term career paths in their areas of calling.
Please help them keep in mind as this is just one step in their future/career exploration process. The results can be useful for initiating natural discussions on the array of possible career options and additional prayer concerning their occupational options, but will not be the be all and end all of it. Similarly, they will have access to career and college exploration online resources which they can use for exploratory (not to mention motivational) purposes.
God will continue to direct and develop their knowledge and skills and reveal their aptitudes as they continue to commit their future to Him and work hard with their studies.
April 14th will mark the 2-year anniversary of the abduction at GGSS Chibok. As we approach this date, several events will be held in remembrance of the tragic event and to continue to raise awareness and hope for their return.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is organizing several events at Capitol Hill and has invited a Chibok escapee staying with us to speak at a congregational forum and a press conference at the Capitol. Each week, that congress is in session, led by the congresswoman, they take photos of themselves wearing red and hold up signs, ensuring that the girls have not been forgotten. These days at congress have been dubbed “Wear Something Red Wednesday”.
Meanwhile, at Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, there will be a delegation of COB USA members coming around that time. EMCI will be holding remembrance prayers and gatherings at the church and home in central Nigeria, in solidarity of the missing girls.
For more details about participating in our anniversary activities, please contact us. See list below:
1. Houston, TX April 8
2. Houston, TX April 10
3. Washington DC April 13 and 14
4. New York NY April 15 and 16
5. Silver Spring MD April 16
This Easter weekend, we wanted to share with you someone special. Let’s call her “Miracle.”
One day Boko Haram terrorists attacked her family in northern Nigeria. Her husband was a policeman so they beheaded him in front of her and her kids.
Although the terrorists usually don’t decapitate women and children, they made an exception because this was the family of a cop.
They beheaded her two children in front of her and then slit Miracle’s throat too and left her for dead.
Two days later, city workers were clearing the corpses for mass burial when the found Miracle’s body. As they picked it, she twitched.
Unlike her husband, Boko Haram did not completely sever and detach her head. She was a woman so they assumed slitting her throat was enough to kill her. It didn’t.
Miracle is alive today after two days left for dead. She was the sole person recovered alive from the heap of corpses.
She is trying hard to support her baby – her sole surviving family member – and restart her life as a refugee.
Although EMCI focuses on child victims, sometimes we see adults that we simply can’t turn our backs too.
With a small grant provided by a church mission team in Kingstowne Virginia, we sent Miracle to a class on how to start a business. Now she sells chickens to keep body and soul together.
You can be part of Miracle’s recovery too. Let us know if you want to help her buy more chickens, pay for her child’s school or help her with house rent.
Happy Easter from EMCI – countering terrorism, one book at a time!