Tuesday we went to Caña Blanca. Joy visited with Señora Elvia, the pre-kinder and kindergarten teacher at the Catholic church. She had only three students that day, but normally has five. She conducts classes three days a week this year. We plan to take food once a month for the student’s lunches every day. One of the mothers will prepare the meals.
We then stopped at the elementary school to see Daysi, the teacher there. She has 17 students this year, considerably more than last year. Of the 17, only two are Latino, the other 15 are indigenous (most of which, in the past, have not gone to school at all in this area). They will meet four days per week. Again we plan to provide food once a month once a month for their daily lunches. Different parents will be assigned to prepare the meals each week.
On the day that we deliver the monthly food we will also teach a class with activities resembling a 3 hour VBS for the children. It will include a bit of English, but mostly center on God’s love.
Joy will not be teaching English once a week as she did last year because of the increase in diesel prices and the decrease in our revenues.
These 20 or so very poor children will be fed lunch every day because of the Riverside ‘Kingdom Kids’ contributions. As usual when we left for home we had additional riders – three this time, one of which was Adelaide’s father. Adelaide is the 12 year old young Indian girl that Kelly Martin provided with her first pair of shoes last year. She was also chosen as the student with best marks for the year and received a scholarship from the government for her hard work!
EL VALLE SCHOOL
Monday Joy talked with the El Valle Elementary Director, Damaris. The director was very upset that Riverside would not be coming to teach about God this year in the school. She asked me to convey her sadness and ask them to please come again next year.
Finally this little school is being noticed by the government! The Ministry of Education is supplying enough money to feed 40% of the student’s lunches, and will eventually provide precooked foods for that same percentage of students. This is based on the percentage of the children below the poverty level in Panama, and specifically in El Valle School. So we the Riverside Kiddos are giving them $320 per month with $100 earmarked for a cook. Our own Dani will be that cook, thus helping a sister in the church as well. We believe this will work out well. We’ll see. The idea is to provide for 100% of the children 100% of the time. In the past there has been a problem finding someone to prepare the food for the children. The food would be there, but no-one would show up to cook it. With the government helping, our same monies will hopefully take care of that problem.
We went to see Joy’s doctor today. He is putting her on a regimen for one month. If her knee does not improve she will have to have an MRI. Without insurance, this will cost about $600, so we are praying that the month of meds and rest will take care of the problem. Good news from the doctor also! Her osteoporosis has improved in the last year – a full point and a half. We know that for some the medication does not help at all, so are very grateful that she is gaining back bone mass with this therapy.
We are hurting with our dear family at Riverside over the loss of loved ones – April and Dirk, we are so sorry to hear about Faith and are praying for you all to have strength and comfort from our Heavenly Father, the Giver of strength as you begin living without her. Roger and Kathy, we hurt for the loss of your Dad, and trust that God will give you all that you need to remember every good thing about him and comfort you as you miss him in your daily lives.
We really appreciate Ron Morgan keeping us up on the news of our far-away family. What a blessing! Thank you so much for remembering us!
Things are well underway for the medical group to come to Santa Marta in June! Translators and missionaries standing by!
Holly Smith plans to come see us in June as well to help out with preparations and house-sitting. We can’t wait to see her.
Ben may get to come down this summer as well – we are hopeful!
Yari just finished her next-to last trimester in High School. She has 4 classes before finishing up in June. She walks, and even runs a bit, like normal now, but she still hurts some.