Wow! Thank you very much indeed to everyone at St Peter’s Catholic Primary in Waterlooville for ‘Brightening Up‘ this Harvest and organising so many activities across the school including this special visit from our Education Volunteers Isobel and Patrick Flynn!
Patrick told us,
“The children had been thinking about Harvest all week and produced a wonderful display of art, poems and writings. In addition, the children ‘Brightened Up’ with a whole school mufti-day. It was a fantastic event and many of the children told us about it this morning when we arrived for assembly. In fact, the school will be continuing with its ‘Brighten Up’ activities with a massive colourful cake sale organised by Year 5 and Year 6 will be holding a ‘Penalty Shoot-out Challenge’. Year 4 will also be guessing the number of colourful sweets in a jar.
“At the start of our assembly, our two helpers, got our presentation ready and organised the music entitled ‘We’re Living and Learning’, which was played as the children arrived for and departed from assembly.
“Mrs Knight began the assembly by lighting our candles and then inviting everyone to bless themselves and to offer this assembly to God. She continued by holding up a large brown envelope with two words on it: “Open Me”.
“The children began to ask, ‘Who is the envelope from? What is inside it? Should we open it? What if we might not like what is inside it?’ Many children had suggestions about these questions and all agreed that there was some excitement about what could be inside. Mrs Knight opened the envelope and revealed the contents. It was a large sheet of paper with one big word – CAFOD!”
Patrick and Isobel then started the assembly by asking the children to think about how food is grown. They asked everyone to put up their hands if they have ever grown anything to eat.
They then asked the pupils whether they could think of things that are needed to help crops grow well, such as sunshine, rain, and good soil as well as things that might hinder growth such as drought or flooding.
CAFOD works all over the world helping families to be able to grow enough food to feed themselves and often have enough left over to sell in order to provide an income.
One of the things needed for growing food is good soil so Patrick and Isobel showed the students how CAFOD has helped a family living in Bolivia to have much better soil for growing their vegetables.
Santos and Joel (pictured above) live in a small farm high up in the Andes mountains in an area called the Altiplano. Getting water is difficult and rain is unpredictable. There are a lot of hailstorms and frost which can wipe out people’s crops. The soil is generally very dry and of poor quality. This is a job for Wonder Worm as Patrick and Isobel went on to explain.
CAFOD’s partner is working with local people to help them create wormeries. These are big holes in the ground which people dig, build a wall inside and fill with cow manure. Communities are given worms by CAFOD’s partner which they then add to the hole, keep damp and cover to protect the worms from the hot sun.
In fact, Patrick and Isobel brought in a big tub of compost containing their very own Wonder Worms to show the children!
Here is Elizabeth, Santos and Joel’s mother, beside their wormery (above). Modesto, Joel and Santos’ father says “We realised very quickly how good it was. We used the humus on our potatoes and the next year they were very much taller than would have been previously.”
As Isobel and Patrick explained, both boys help their parents with the work. Santos helps with the replanting, watering the plants and weeding. Joel helps with weeding but his Dad says sometimes “he pulls up the wrong plants.” Modesto says life will be much easier for his sons than it has been for him, as it will be easier to grow enough food. He also says that eating the vegetables means they are both healthy and growing properly.
Now not only does the family grow enough food for themselves but they have some extra crops such as onions, chard, potatoes and beans which are taken into the nearest town to sell at market. Modesto also sells some of the worm humus, because people can see how good it is.
“We were also very pleased to donate a compost bin to the school during our visit so that the children could see good rich compost being produced ready for their new garden project which will start in the Spring next year. This will help the whole school continue to think about Santos, Joel and the whole community in the Altiplano of Bolivia when they are enriching their soil with the compost that is produced.”
At the end of the assembly the children were once again reminded of the Corporal Works of Mercy. As Patrick and Isobel said, these are the things Jesus told us to do to show everyone we love them the way that God loves us. Helping people who are hungry to have food is one of those.
‘We then thanked everyone for everything that they do for CAFOD and asked the children to pray for the work of CAFOD and for all the families and communities we work with around the world. We also reminded the children to look at the website to satisfy their curiosity about CAFOD’s work!”
Thank you so much to everyone at St Peter’s for all your fantastic support and to Patrick and Isobel for giving this great assembly.
Find out more about our work in Bolivia and Ruben’s story by watching this short film below.