Easter greetings from Koro,
We are grateful to survive all the unrest in our locality. This month Koro was on the news almost every day. The situation forced the prime minister and many of his ministers to visit Koro to lessen the boiling atmosphere. At the same time all the Evangelical Pastors of the area of Mopti planned a prayer meeting in Koro because of the situation. Many other actions like prayers in communities, mass demonstration, and many more characterized this month.
We sometimes thought we were reaching a final social disaster in Koro: The army had started burning motorbikes of those who would not respect the driving restrictions. Jihadists are imposing Sharia Law in some areas of Koro. Robbers are stripping people of their animals and goods. Kids have been slaughtered on their way to school. Many villages have been burned as a result of inter-ethnic conflict. People are uprising against the county mayor office of Koro, which the population judged to be indifferent to this chaotic situation.
The list is long and horrible!!! All this in the news, on the radio and on TV drove many friends to call to make sure we are Ok. I received call from friends who had not called me for ages. It was a catch up with many of them. I know I have friends and they care about our safety. Even though sometimes we are silent we stay connected as friends. Thank you for your prayers and care. It is definitively a mark of love.
As I was reading in a favorite blog of Peace Christian Church lately, this difficult situation in Koro made me tougher, like when you boil eggs they become harder.
The girls at school have hairdressings like the Fulani’s to show compassion. Some Fulani’s have been confused with the jihadist ones and killed while they are innocent.
There is continuous movement of the population from the villages to towns like Koro, Bandiagara, and Bankass. The population takes the conflict with them where ever they go. I learned that last night they was a shooting in Bandiagara, with one death and four injured. No one knows the true source of the people who attacked the motel in Bandiagara.
Population movement may bring diseases as well. We thank God for the vaccination of Grace students. For now only one student was declared to have some weird black nodules on his skin and the nurse believes it is due to measles, which used to kill many kids here. Because of the vaccination it can’t develop in his body. Please praise God for that. There is an ongoing vaccination of all the kids against measles and other diseases. We are grateful to have a nurse at school.
Abel the school nurse got married on the 24th of March to a nice lady named Louise POUDIOUGO. She is a nurse as well. They celebrated the wedding in the village by the parents. It was a joyful event. Please thank God for the wedding and pray for divine guidance for their future as a family.
Please pray that I and all those in my house, and school would not ebb away the cross which is ours as followers of Christ. Pray that we withstand our Christian faith no matter what it costs.
In the middle of this unrest I receive a call from the local director of domain and land. He congratulated us for the first newspaper appearance for the public notification of one hectare being granted to us by the government for the upcoming Grace high school. I knew very little about the length and complexity of the procedure to get permanent access of land from the government. But we have done the hardest part of it. The news was announced at the court and the mayor office for larger public display.
In two months there will be another and last publication in the official news. Please pray that everything goes well and fast.
We wish you a very happy Easter!! May the victory of Christ over the power of death produce in you the power and ability to rise up from any difficulties and boundaries that may hold you down! We pray for that in the name of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your partnership which is making this education ministry possible.
God bless you
Greetings from Koro,
February was short but full of many ups and downs.
This February was characterized by the prohibition of riding motorbikes and pickups in many areas in Mali including Koro. Thank you for your prayers that I know for sure has changed much of it.
The restriction was unbearable until they did some exceptions for the towns. The corrected version goes like: It is forbidden to drive motorbikes and pickups in the town before 6 AM and after 6 PM, but permanently outside the town. Anyone who needs exception has to get a written authorization from the army otherwise will be treated as military target. We assisted many who were fleeing to the city of Koro while the jihadists were slaughtering dozens of civilians, burning mayor’s offices, and closing schools about 40 Km from Koro.
We witnessed Fulanies and Dogons from those places running into Koro from the civil war. The dominant luggage of most of them is bundles of long grass straw to provide shade wherever they go as they can not afford housing.
I used to see all this on TV or in newspapers but now I am seeing it live and daily.
This month the civil war has increased and ethnic group killing has reached a very bloody level. None can really say how many were killed. It is just absurd that the army is imposing such a hard measure and dispositions over peaceful citizens while those who kill and close schools remain unperturbed.
All the NGOs are confined to the corners of their offices and most of their personnel have to walk or ride bike to work. It slowed down things to idling level.
We are determined to keep up with the education till we can't do it anymore. For safety our only hope remains the Lord Jesus Christ. Please keep up praying for us.
At Grace School our program is not affected because we teach only in daytime, in fact our courses are being intensified as many of our new students need extra teaching to catch up.
We are thankful to God for sending us Mathieu Togo, one of my former students in high school. Mathieu is very devoted and loving, I call him "Le charismatique" (the Charismatic). Indeed when he was a student in the public high school he was leading the local Student Bible study group in Koro. He is now in charge of accelerated teaching of reading and Math to the challenged students.
A few days ago a student from the high school died from a truck accident while he was entering his school. The student union decided that the whole country will observe four days to display their upset about the frequent construction trucks passing by the front doors of schools and victims among the students. They want the government to deviate construction trucks away from school sites when school is on.
It is a wise and feasible demand but at Grace we decided to observe just one day sympathizing to the families with lost kids on the school road. We are grateful for the understanding of the local Student Union.
Please thank God for the group of three Geometers (governmental mandated agents of domain and land) who came to place a physical border for the proposed land for Grace's high school in process of definitive concession from the government. Please continue to pray as the process is still long and things are slowed down with the current situation in term of security for local administration.
We thank you for your support of the education of the most vulnerable kids in the world.
God bless you,