A week ago, a Fijian dad turned up at school and asked to see Mrs Mudaliar, our head teacher. He had with him his nine year old daughter who had never been to school. Leba lost her hearing at the age of four and would it be possible for her to attend our school? Two days later they arrived at school, after travelling for an hour, in her new uniform and really excited to be at last going to school. She is a lovely little girl and now Leba has moved into our junior hostel, and hopefully will soon be signing with the other children.
Luisa, a student from last year, who was offered employment at Courts Department Store for a trial period of three months, has finished her trial and has been kept on to continue her filing work. Courts will reassess her position at a later date. She is enjoying her work and is very committed to being there each day - this is most encouraging for the staff and teachers who have spent many years caring and educating her for this big step in life. Courts have indicated that some of their staff would like to learn to sign so that they are able communicate with Luisa, and as a result of this, Felicity (one of our hearing teachers) will join with Luisa on Tuesdays, to run a class during work hours.
Recently we had a visit from several of our local Rotary men to present, on behalf of Mount Martha Rotary Club in Australia, a pair of Bata shoes to every child in school. Our children were most excited to receive the shoes, but some of them found it little difficult to squeeze their feet into “real” shoes. Perhaps the only pair some of them will ever have. Thank you, Mount Martha Rotary!! The president of our Suva club said he left with tears in his eyes, after several of our beautiful children came up and gave him a hug to say “thank you”. They hope to continue to support us in the future.
Two weeks ago, we lost one of our deaf family when she developed health complications, while suffering from a virus which is around Fiji at the moment. Mere who was hearing, or Teacher Masi, was a teacher at GSD for many years before leaving to become a sign interpreter for some of our older students attending the Gospel High School. She had said just a few days earlier, that she would like to come back to GSD. She will be greatly missed by the deaf community as she was a person who “got things done”. Her funeral was a testament to the wonderful Christian she had been, and was attended by many whose lives she had touched.
Christian and Amanda Mills, from NZ, are volunteering here at the moment and have become involved both at school and in the hostels. Christian is working as a teacher aide and Amanda, who is a doctor, is working with all classes talking about different health topics and issues. The children love having them visit the hostels in the evening, and they are quickly becoming fluent in signing.
Please pray for our older students who are still in school. Some of them are in their late teens and early twenties and find it difficult to accept the hostel rules, as their friends have more freedom than they do. It is hard for them, and we are thankful for dedicated hostel parents who spend so much of their time guiding and loving them.
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