Well, I head off to Mali in two weeks. I will spend most of the time in Oulessebougou seeing clinic patients and doing minor surgery at Dr. Omar’s small private hospital. Twelve of us are making the journey this time and we hope to have a profitable trip. Teaching, learning, healing and being healed. Making the world a little smaller and then bringing back news and experiences to share.
Ibrahima Kodio is an expert in many languages. It has been through his gift of translating that many of us have become acquainted with him. He will be with us on this mission as well. Using his skill to not only translate words but the meaning and the subtleties of the languages. He proved himself to also be an amazing mediator last year with the officials at the refugee camp in Djibo, Burkina Faso, helping to soothe anxieties and smooth over misunderstandings.
As the Grace Private School manager he uses many of the same tools. A gifted teacher, manager, and visionary he has built the school by sheer force of will. He feels it is his calling to provide a quality education in his own impoverished village. An education in not only math and science and language, but steeped in the Gospels that will produce hopeful, confident, joy-filled young adults.
I go to Mali bringing items from his simple wish list for the school including maps, soccer balls, pens and printer ink. More importantly I go as a representative of Grace Missions. To remind Ibrahima that we are here for him and for the school. That despite limitations and long gaps in communication we are here praying and working for his family, the Grace students, their parents, the town of Koro and the country of Mali.
I will bring back news, stories and pictures to share. Any amount that you can contribute to Grace Missions is appreciated and goes directly to help support Grace Private School.
The 2013-14 school year is well underway at Grace Private School in Koro, Mali. There are currently nine students in 1st grade, eleven in 2nd grade, six in 7th grade, twelve in 8th grade, and fourteen in 9th grade. That is a total of 52 students in all. A very good number, although down a little from last year.
There is another private school in town now that due to a government subsidy
has been able to keep tuition very low. Ibrahima feels that this has kept some parents from enrolling their children at Grace. He has decided to lower tuition somewhat and has cut teacher's salaries to try to at least maintain the numbers currently enrolled. Grace has very good teachers and the children are receiving an excellent education as shown by their tests scores last year. He feels optimistic that this is God's plan. By allowing the school to grow slowly and intentionally, he is able to provide a more personal touch, able to respond to individual needs, and able to learn to adjust to the ups and downs of running a school in a politically unstable, economically depressed region.
Grace Missions has made a commitment to provide at least 50% of the school's budget for the 2013-14 school year. With a total budget of nearly $20,000, that means we need to raise $10,000. Please consider a financial gift this month. These children can literally not receive the great private education they are receiving without help from us. The students and their families are so grateful for all that is being done for them.