Bula and welcome to GSD for 2020. School opened on 13 January and we are now well into our first term. Many children were present for the beginning of school and over the following two weeks, others gradually drifted in to start another year of learning.
Early in the holidays, we had two volunteers from NZ replace the living area floor in the main hostel, which was slowly falling apart. Over the next few weeks, a prominent businessman in Suva (Mr D) organised different businesses to contribute time and materials to see our main hostel painted inside and out, and a shower, toilet and new kitchen installed. Monetary donations also came from supporters in NZ and this resulted in a sparkling, updated hostel at little cost to us. Thank you to all who have donated to our renovations, which were greatly overdue. God provides in many ways, and we are thankful to Him for these many blessings.
We now have four deaf boys from Vanuatu, along with a hearing teacher and her daughter. It is a huge sacrifice for parents to part with their children for a year, and an even bigger “sacrifice” for the children to say goodbye to their family and friends, to come to an unfamiliar country with very few communication skills. However, we know that children are resilient, and it isn’t long before they are quite at home in the hostel, and happily interacting with the other children. Michael was with us for half of last year and returned to Vanuatu for the holidays – he was keen to get back here and re-join his friends, who were happy to welcome him back.
Waisea who is four, has joined us from Taveuni and loves hostel life. It is great to see the older children taking the new ones under their wings and looking after them. Shakshi from Ra has come to GSD for year eight and lives with the senior girls. It is unusual for us to have someone older join us who is already fluent in sign, but her parents felt it would be good for her to mix with other deaf. Three of our older students are taking cooking classes at TCF this year. Tony also attends to interpret for them.
A very tired Bola and his two daughters, Gratitude, and Precious arrived from Nigeria on Sunday, after a long trip with complications. However, after catching up on some sleep and buying some uniforms yesterday, the girls started at the hearing school today (Tuesday). Bola will sort a few details before he joins a classroom where he will be both student and teacher. He did not know any Fiji sign when he arrived but is quickly learning and can also voice quite well. It has been a long ”journey” over eighteen months to get here, and we give them a big welcome to Fiji and GSD.
Mrs Mudaliar, our head teacher has a wealth of knowledge and keeps GSD on track. She says she has no intention of retiring anytime soon as she loves her work. It’s great to have someone at the top who enjoys what they do, and this shows great leadership for others to follow.
Viri is our Development Director and in her quiet way, with her big smile, she is often out and about raising funds to keep our school afloat.
Rebekah is our “go to” person and as well as looking after finances and paying the bills, she can drive the bus, often prepares food for school functions, and is generally an all-round busy lady.
Thank you to these three ladies for running our school office, and keeping the place ticking over.
That’s it for this time. Thanks again for your interest, prayer, and support in so many ways. We may be on the ground here in Suva, but we couldn’t do it without you. Vinaka Vakalevu (thank you very much).
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