| Thanks to the support of Florida United Methodists, boys in Quessua do not have to cook and eat outdors any more.
Cooking and eating outdoor under the trees was common sight when we arrived in Angola on August 2009. In Quessua, unremitting scuffles during the war destroyed many facilities, including two large dining rooms with their kitchens that still lie in ruins. Kenny Augusto, at 10 the youngest boy of the boarding school (“Internato”) when we arrived, cooked with other boys in old pans placed over blocks by the trees. However, as you can see in the accompanying picture, they did so with laughter and hope.
Laughter, hope, prayers, and hard work finally paid off. United Methodists both from Angola and Florida worked together so that a new Dining Room/Kitchen/Pantry could be built and dedicated just before our departure in July, 2010. The boys from the Internato will have to cook and eat outdoors no more.
This feat was possible in part because of financial donations from Florida churches and trips to Angola of Florida mission teams. Most of the hard work, however, was done by internato boys themselves. In addition to their many daily duties, they made blocks from scratch, brought sand from nearby quarries, dug holes, battered concrete, painted, and did many other unimaginable jobs for the dining room. These teenagers, whom we call sons, came from the most remote and poor places of Angola to receive an education at Quéssua. But they are active in many different ways, such as construction and agricultural work. They are also travelling lay preachers to the nearby villages, liturgists at worship services, and Sunday school teachers. Most of them were fully exposed to the horrors of the civil war and have vivid memories of it. Some never got to know their parents, their real names, or their dates of birth. For these, their oldest memories are living on the streets with other children. As Melba Whitaker commented on one of our previous blogs, “The more you know the story of the children of Angola, the more you want to support them.”
Thanks to your support, cooking outdoors is another thing of their past. On June 26, 2010, Bishop José Quipungo, of the East Angola Conference, dedicated the newly finished facility. Although modest, it has capacity for 80 persons and is outfitted with satellite TV. The boys were so happy to see the Soccer World Cup! You can see pictures at www.pbase.com/arodri3/dining
. The accompanying video also illustrates their hard work and joy for the accomplishment.
Please, check this blog in the next weeks. We will post a summary of our work in Angola and our plans for the future. God has opened doors for the Florida Conference to continue its support of our brothers and sisters in Angola.
Until soon, many blessings,