Rain, Rain, Go Away!
The entrance to Gospel School for the Deaf is a mud pit, after several weeks of continuous heavy rain! We’re hoping for the imminent return of Fiji’s tropical sunshine! Yes, a new driveway is sorely needed! But the first priority at the moment is replacing the school septic tank; a rather expensive project, for which funds are needed.
But the good news is that we have two new vehicles for the ministry! The Japanese Embassy donated a badly needed new bus, and the Chinese Embassy also donated a new yellow van. In August, a nice new bus port was built to house the vehicles.
Some other news is that we have three new volunteers this term. Olivia, pictured on the left with Class 3 student Peter, is from Australia. Her family is spending this year in Fiji, volunteering at Homes of Hope, a home for unwed mothers. Olivia and her parents are strong Christians, dedicated to serving those in need. Olivia is interested in becoming a teacher of the deaf in the future. She volunteers two days a week, tutoring students in math. Olivia has picked up Fijian sign language quickly, and communicates well with the kids. We also have two volunteers from England, Melissa (L) and Kirsty (R), who are deaf. Both attended the same oral deaf program in England. They are also both university graduates. Melissa is skilled in surface pattern design, working with ceramics, enamel and glass. She did a project with students in Tomasi’s class, studying Ancient Cultures. They made life size pictures of themselves wearing Roman clothing, as part of their unit of study on the Roman Empire. Kirsty is skilled at needlework, fashion, and textile art.) She will be teaching some embroidery to the students. Both women are helping out in the hostels as well as in the school.
We also had a visit second term from a group from Australia called Live and Learn, whose focus was teaching good health through hand washing. They also repaired many of our outside taps. Students enjoyed painting a mural about hand washing on the outside wall by the taps.
Joshua’s class this year studied different environments, and particularly enjoyed learning about the Polar Regions---- a ‘cool’ topic for kids living in the tropics! Students learned about icebergs, global warming, and caring for the environment, along with their study of Arctic animals. The adventures of Lars the Polar Bear were favorite stories for reading! Students had fun turning their classroom into a winter wonderland.
Jim and I were warmly welcomed back to Fiji a few weeks ago by students and staff in all three hostels. Students made a ‘welcome back’ banner with Teacher Tomasi, and the staff put on a wonderful Fijian feast for us. It was a special night! The deaf have a song that they like to sing often. (Yes, the deaf DO like to sing!!) The song begins with the words: “We are one big happy family---God’s family”. This wonderful community has certainly become a close family for us over the years!
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