A gift from God

ImageAn amazing thing has happened. Recently a group of students from our twin town of Porthampton in the UK have been trying to raise money for us to build a new school house. We were always confident that these very clever young people would do a great job and yesterday we were proved correct. Amazingly, the team of students have managed to raise a huge sum of £12,486 (which is almost 84,000 South Sudesian pounds – lots of money!!) and they did this through selling t-shirts and playing a game of hockey.

We thank the students of Porthampton University’s Geography department, the generous people of Porthampton and of course we thank God for this wonderful gift.

The students are coming over to help construct our new school house in April – we can’t wait to see them all.

God bless you all.

The People and Children of Portswana

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A day in the life….

Girls Washing

Saiesha washing clothes at the river

We have asked some of our young people to tell us about what it is like for them to live in Portswana. This helps those of you in the wider world to understand some of the good and bad things about being here but it is also a great way for our young people to learn to write in English and to use computers. This is a day in the life of Saiesha Artoli.

My name is Saiesha Artoli. I am 13 years old and live with my parents, 4 brothers and 2 sisters in Portswana. I am going to tell you what happens in my day. I wake up at 5.30 and help my mother to collect firewood. I then walk to the well to get water for breakfast. As I am the most oldest I wake the others and help them get ready for school. We make breakfast which is normally Kissra bread and sometimes stew made from beans. We also drink water or tea. After cleaning up and washing I get ready for school which I enjoy very much. We are lucky to have a school in the village which is in Mrs Manamas courtyard. If it rains we have no school but it does not rain much. I walk to school with my sister and brothers and arrive at 8.00. At school we have classes in English, maths, science, health studies and cookery. My favourite is English and I won an award for being top in the class last week. We go home at 12.00 and help around the home with my mother. My brothers help with my fathers herd of goat and tending the maize crop. I like to read after we eat in the evening. I then go to sleep after I help put my youngest brothers and sisters to bed.

Living in Portswana is good on most days because I get to spend lots of time with my family and friends and I love learning. It can be very hard when we the droughts come though and we get hungry. My younger brother Pubudu died two years ago which was very very sad. I miss him and pray for him everyday.

In the future I want to be a teacher like Mrs Manamas. I would like to go to University and also to travel to Europe.

Porthampton Visit

Visitors from Porthampton greet the community

Visitors from Porthampton greet the community

This week we were honoured to receive some guests from our twin city of Porthampton in the UK. Portswana was twinned with Porthampton almost two years ago now. This is much more than just a connection by name though. The council in Porthampton have been extremely generous in their commitment to making our relationship beneficial to both communities. Since 2011 the people have Porthampton have provided us with new and vitally important farming equipment, funding for medicines, a computer and method of accessing the internet and books and other materials for the local teacher to use in the school area.

The visitors who came where from the council but also two elder members of the Porthampton community who had helped to raise money for some of the projects. We were delighted to greet them after what must have been a very long and tiring journey from London (in all it took 46 hours!). The delegation were greeted at the community hall by village elders and the school children who sang and danced. After eating we took the visitors on a tour of the village and to outlying spots of interest and beauty before returning for a celebration supper.

We are so excited to announce that our Porthampton friends have decided to fund, and help construct, a new school house for our community. It is hoped that this will happen sometime in early 2013 and we hope that some young people will come over from Porthampton to help build it. This is excellent news for us because it is crucial that we help educate our young people so they can start to make better lives for us here.

This was an incredible visit and we think that our friends from the UK had a very good time.

Goats Vaccination Day

An FAO doctor administers drugs to one of the community goats.

An FAO doctor administers drugs to one of the community goats.

For many years now our herds of goats have been plagued with diseases which are associated with worm bacteria. This week, for the first time, we had a visit from the FAO animal doctors (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN) who came with 6000 vaccinations for the community’s herds. This was a very exciting day for us because healthy goats mean that our herders will not lose as many, which means more money, milk and food for the community.

After the doctors had administered the drugs, which took almost all of the day, we had a big celebration in the community hall with the elders and children.