April 2018 Evan & Nastasha Richmond Update

Dear friends,

Here in Zimpeto we continue to oversee the girl’s dorm, which is home to over sixty orphans and vulnerable children. We're always busy running after school activities, tutoring programs, preparing snacks, wrapping Christmas and birthday presents, discipleship activities, sports tournaments and making sure every girl has enough clothes and shoes. In December we ran a soccer tournament with the girls during Christmas holidays. For New Year’s we threw a giant party for the entire center. In January we took our oldest girls on a special vacation to Macaneta Island for a once in a lifetime experience of a family vacation. In February the girls went back to school after Christmas break. In March we celebrated Mateus' first birthday by taking the girls to a water park and cooking up a feast.

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Recently we've been asked what life looks like living on the mission field with a baby. To which I respond---a wild and crazy adventure and one I am so grateful to experience. His seventy foster sisters are always at our door wanting to play with him. And he loves being the center of their attention. So much so that he cries every time they leave the house. His seventy sisters claim they were the ones to teach him how to walk at only 10 months (and I think they're right - he is so determined to keep up with them!). Now if they could just teach him how to sleep through the night it would be perfect! He loves meeting new people and playing with the kids here at the centre (and praise God for that---because life would be pretty difficult if he didn't enjoy it).

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When the girls are at school, Evan helps with base administration to keep the centre running. He keeps the centre’s documentation for social welfare up to date, corresponds with the hundreds of volunteers we welcome every year, maintains Church equipment, and trains others to use the sound equipment in the church.

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With our base directors abroad over the last couple months, Evan and I have stepped into some of the base leadership roles to help resolve ongoing issues that arise at an emergency safe-care centre that provides care to over 200 orphans and vulnerable children.

Love,

Natasha, Evan (& Mateus)

 

* Included below are reports from some special projects we have been able to do thanks to friends who have given specifically to these projects. Thank you so much!

Literacy Program:

The Zimpeto Children Centre Literacy Program provides after school literacy programs to female orphans and vulnerable children. The program runs Monday to Friday and is staffed by two Mozambican women with a passion for literacy. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the girls meet in small groups of 3-5 girls for forty minute literacy sessions. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the girls read individually with a tutor for 10-15 minutes. The literacy program serves over 30 female orphans and vulnerable children. The program helps respond to the need mentioned by a USAID-funded study on school effectiveness. They found that,

 

"Among children who finish primary school in Mozambique, nearly two-thirds leave the system without basic reading, writing and math skills…. Furthermore, the study found that 59 percent of third-grade students in the 49 schools studied could not read a single word per minute nor recognize letters, and those students who could read only read, on average, five words per minute…. Mozambique’s overall literacy rate is 47 percent; female literacy (28 percent) lags far behind that of males (60 percent)" (USAID, 2015).

Over the last few months, the girls’ reading continues to improve as they work on basic phonics and early reader stories.

Christmas Fund:

This envelope was used to help purchase Christmas presents for the girls dorm comprising of approximately seventy orphans and vulnerable children. This year the girls received knapsacks, new pairs of shoes, makeup, dolls, barbies, skipping ropes and special trinkets. Christmas was full of laughter, joy and fun. Nothing compared to watching Marissa, a child who is new to our center, experience her very first Christmas. The joy that radiated from her face lit the room and squeals of laughter filled the air. The Christmas fund was also used to take the girls on a special camping vacation to Macaneta Island. Two 2 night retreats were held at a beautiful lodge with a swimming pool on the ocean. The girls made memories they will never forget. The fund also helped to complete bathroom renovations in the dorm to improve health and hygiene standards. 

Special Needs Program:

Over the last few months this envelope has helped to purchase extra snacks and increase nutrition for the girls which is home to approximately seventy orphans and vulnerable children. Some of the girls' favorite snacks have been fresh avocados and bananas from the local fruit and vegetable market. They also love hard boiled eggs. These snacks are particularly helpful to increase vitamin intake and improve overall health of the girls.