Finally I am taking the time to update about the awesome progress we have seen recently in our work here!! I am sitting at our desk with Miss Annikah happily at school and Jason running errands in town and able for the first time in a week actually think and take time to post about the recent breakthroughs in our project here.
A few updates first, Jason is feeling much better. Thanks to everyone who prayed, sent encouraging emails, and thought of us. We are still very concerned about his health and plan to see a French doctor that comes with excellent recommendations on the mainland next week. We hope we will be able to discern what is the cause of his symptoms and what we should be doing for treatment. Also, we were able to get our car fixed rather quickly thanks to the help of our team leader and Jason spending a day searching for parts and installing everything themselves. The bad news is that our insurance will not cover any of it since we did not have an immobilizer (to prevent a thief from stealing the car- highly unlikely here since we live on an island!) installed on the car yet (not that this gadget would have prevented the theft but it is all about the details with insurance). We now have the immobilizer so we are ready for any future incidents:)
Back to the exciting news. Since arriving here we have been focused as a team on the technical school project but have hot many barriers and roadblocks. This was challenging as we were getting the run around, many different answers from different people, jumping through hoops (fair enough, it is their country), and overall feeling like there was much work with little fruit. Of course, like sickness we were told to be prepared for these issues but hearing about the difficulties others warned we would encounter from the comfort of our life in Chicago we thought “yeah, that will be tough” but truthfully we spent little mental energy on “going there.” When you are in the midst it is a whole different thing. For Jason and I it has also been hard because ever since our first trip here four years ago we really felt called to help to train locals with skills that would empower them and do it in a way that we work ourselves out of a job, ie. not set up a system of reliance on the foreigner. This is so much more challenging than I ever thought and we are still only at the start of the process. We see so many people here that desperately want to learn a trade or English to better their lives and the lives of their family but have little opportunity for further education. Thus, the birth of the idea for a technical school that will teach auto mechanics, computer skills, trades like sewing (hopefully in the future as we have no one to teach this yet), business start up and management, and English. After classes begin our team will turn everything over to the local “Science and Technology” institute within 10 years. After years and months of work we started clearing the field for the school this week. Other members of our team have seen this from the start and we are so grateful for their diligence work being committed to ethically dealing with every obstacle without bribes and respecting the local authority even when we felt like they were wrong. There are too many small details to divulge here but we are so excited to see the work moving forward. Word is out as well and we have already had so many people ask “when will the school be ready?” It is awesome to see our local friends excited about the new opportunities. Again, we are learning so much more about our selves, about trust, about patience, and about prayer.