Thank you so much to all the pupils and staff at St Peter’s Catholic Primary in Waterlooville for welcoming our Education Volunteers, Isobel and Patrick Flynn, earlier in the week for a special school assembly.Patrick told us
“As it was Tuesday, we asked what was special about the day. There was a sea of hands and we were very impressed that the response was “Shrove Tuesday”! We explored the relevance of Shrove Tuesday and the reason why we have pancakes.
“Another practice undertaken on Shrove Tuesday is the burning of last year’s Palm Fronds and Crosses to make the ashes that will be distributed on Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent.”
“We then explained that this Lent, CAFOD was asking us all to think about the issue of water and we began by asking the children what water is used for in their homes and what might happen if they didn’t have safe, clean water.”
Patrick and Isobel then talked about Charlie, who lives in the North West of England, and Nadopun who lives in Uganda (shown above). Charlie’s family had to boil their water last year because there was bacteria in their water supply which would have made them sick if they drank it from the tap. The problem only lasted a few weeks but for some children around the world, not having fresh water is a constant problem.
Nadopun is 9 and lives in Uganda. She likes going to school with her friends and watching films. Patrick and Isobel explained that Uganda is in the East of Africa and that it’s a beautiful country, however 9.2M people there do not have access to safe water. That’s one in every four people in the country! The shortage of water is down to the lack of access to water in remote areas and the changing, unpredictable and increasingly dry climate.
Watch our special film about Nadopun’s older sister Proscovia below.
During the assembly, Patrick and Isobel explained that many people in our world have to walk long distances to collect water and then carry it home. Two pupils carried 7.5 litres of water around the school hall a few times – just to see what this might be like if they had to fetch all the water they needed for the day in this way.
As time went on it became more difficult and then one pupil was then asked to sit down, leaving one girl to carry on. This was to illustrate the fact that the burden of collecting water often falls on girls and this in turn means that many drop out of school so that their families have the water that they need to drink, cook and wash.
When the local water pump broke in Naodpun’s village, her mother and oldest sisters had to walk a long way to get water. Sometimes they couldn’t get to other boreholes so they had to collect water from the river. Nadopun’s mother says the water from the river is ‘awful’. Her brother got sick from drinking it. CAFOD helped their community fix their local borehole and now they have clean water near their home.
Patrick and Isobel reminded the children that the Pope has said that this year is a special Year of Mercy and one of the things we can do to show we love and care for others is to give drink to those who are thirsty. So when we are helping communities to have access to clean water this Lent through our ‘Make a Splash’ appeal, we are being merciful, just as God is merciful to us.
Patrick and Isobel then explained a little about CAFOD Lent Fast Day itself and asked the pupils what they might consider giving up on the day. The children thought about donating any money saved on this day to CAFOD to support its work around the world as all donations to our Lenten appeal will be matched by the UK government. The assembly then ended in prayer.
Thank you so much to all the staff and pupils at St Peter’s primary for their fantastic support for CAFOD, especially Mrs Bowen and Mrs Luter. Thank you too to our volunteers – Patrick and Isobel Flynn – for all their hard work.
Read more about our special Lenten appeal. This Lent every pound raised will be doubled by the UK Government so it will have double the impact!