Earlier in the month I was lucky enough to visit all the teachers and pupils at Notre Dame Du Rosaire RC primary in Guernsey to thank them for all their support for CAFOD over the years and give two assemblies.
The first was to all the Key Stage One children and centred on the story of Cicilia who lives in a small village in Mozambique. Cicilia used to live in a shanty town called Chamanculo but in 2000 the town was flooded and almost 2,000 families had to leave the area to find a new place to live which was on higher ground.
Working with a project run by CAFOD partners (the Franciscan sisters), the families found somewhere else to live, a place called Mumemo, and built their village of today.
The children helped me create the village – by volunteering to be the new houses that were built, the bricklayers and those in the community who grow and prepare the food. We had great fun building everything and finished by placing in our ‘picture’ Cicilia herself on her way to school.
The children then saw photos of 8 year old Cicilia and learned that they shared many similar experiences with her. She too goes to school every day and has a number of jobs to do when she goes home at the end of the day. Cicilia loves Maths and starts her school day at 7am – which sounded really early to some children – but her school finishes at lunchtime.
Cicilia’s village has come a long way from being a very dry desert-like place to being a village where people have what they need to live. This is because children in schools just like Notre Dame du Rosaire have raised money for CAFOD to support people in Mozambique to rebuild their lives.
Later in the afternoon, I raced over to the other site to meet the Key Stage Two pupils for their assembly. The whole classroom we used has panoramic views across Guernsey and is absolutely stunning. I’m sure I’d spend my time looking out of the window all the time if I was a pupil or a teacher at the school. It’s incredible!
In this assembly we focused on Tabita’s story. A few years ago, Kenya suffered one of its driest years since 1950 and Tabita’s family in the village of Partuk were left with destroyed crops. The impact of the drought killed their goats, sheep and cows; the animals the family relied on to live.
Sometimes, during that time, Tabita’s mum went without food for three days and her children were upset because they did not have enough to eat. Tabita’s mum would often go without food so that her children could eat and Tabita herself grew very ill and weak.
Thanks to the goat that a CAFOD partner provided for the family, Tabita was able to have really nutritious milk. The family call their goat ‘Supergoat’ because it’s a special German alpine breed that can live for long periods of time when there is no water to drink because of a lack of rain.
The pupils also learned that Supergoat can produce 2 litres of milk a day, whereas a local goat in Kenya can only produce 250ml.
But it’s not just the milk that the goat brings. By selling the milk the family can earn money to buy food and use it for many other things like hiring a tractor to plough the land so that they can grow food.
At the end of the assembly we all thought about the things that we could do such as praying for children around the world that they might have their fair share of food or thinking about the different foods that we eat and finding out where they come from. We also talked about fundraising to help families feed themselves today, tomorrow and in the future and CAFOD is one of the school’s chosen charities this Lent.
We ended our time by looking at this picture of CAFOD volunteer Mike Boswell (see the CAFOD blog) http://cafodsalford.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/super-goat-comes-to-salford/ who actually dresses up as Supergoat for his assemblies. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my costume through customs!
It was a lovely, warm and sunny afternoon and I was so pleased to be able to meet so many pupils and staff to say THANK YOU from CAFOD in person for all their fantastic support.
Thank you so much to Headteacher Peter McGovern all the pupils and staff I met on the day. It was great to meet you all!
For more information on CAFOD’s Lenten appeal, please go to http://www.cafod.org.uk/Fundraise