Hello to everyone at St Bede’s RC primary in Basingstoke this afternoon! Thank you for inviting our Education Volunteer, Roger Coveney, to present a special Year of Mercy assembly and some great ‘Life Without Taps’ workshops.
Roger started the assembly by reminding the children that Jesus said we should do everything we can to help people who needed it. He said this was a very special thing to do and this is what is meant by mercy. It’s a special way of showing how much we care for people.
Pope Francis has asked Catholics throughout the world to mark this special Year of Mercy. As Roger explained that this means, among other things, that he wants us to think about how we show that we care for everyone and help others because of the love God the Father has for us.
The children then thought about the seven things which the church says we all should do to help people in need (sometimes called the Corporal Works of Mercy). These are things like giving food to someone who is hungry, or giving a drink to someone who is thirsty. CAFOD is doing work all over the world which is part of this.
Roger then gave some examples of this including CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe, a beautiful country in Africa. Getting clean water is a big problem in some parts of Zimbabwe because the government cannot afford to repair and look after the water pipes. When her local borehole broke down and there was no money to fix it, Zimi (pictured above) had to walk 2-3 hours to get water.
Now that CAFOD’s partner has fixed Zimi’s local boreholes she has time to do things she likes. She said, “Before, I spent most of my spare time fetching water but now I can do fun stuff too” Zimi gets small amounts of water from the borehole near her school so that she can drink and wash her hands when she is at school.
Year 5 then explored the issue of water in more depth in a special ‘Life without taps’ workshop with Roger in the afternoon.
Roger asked the children to imagine what it would be like to have to carry water long distances. He asked for volunteers to form ‘Family’ groups, and then to imagine themselves as farmers in Zimbabwe who live in a village where their pump has broken down.
Each group had to work together to ‘collect’ water from a ‘river’ two kilometres away. The children had to make sure they collected enough to meet their family’s needs, for things such as drinking water and also water for their crops.
Throughout the game particular groups were given ‘chance cards’ which meant they then had to deal with changes to their situation that could affect their ability to collect enough water. The first family to collect the minimum daily amount of water was the winner!
The aim of the game was to show how hard it is to obtain enough water for daily life in areas where there are no taps nearby, and the water supply is unreliable and quite possibly polluted. Roger had brought in some dirty water to show the children and some 1.5 litre bottles to give pupils some idea of the weight of water too.
At the end of the game, each family had to fill in a sheet to show how many of their needs they would have been able to fulfil through the collection of water.
Thank you so much to everyone at St Bede’s primary for their great enthusiasm and their fantastic support for CAFOD and thank you too to Roger for this great visit!