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Friday
Oct302009

Update from Jodi, late October 2009

Dear Family and Friends,  

I've had several responses to my recent letter from people who would like to know how to offer some financial support to our students. Others among you have written before, wanting to know how you might make a contribution to the Hope School. Thank you to all who have written, and to all who hold us in their hearts.  

I've asked two close friends -- one in the US and one in Canada -- if they would be willing to coordinate a joint gift from my family and friends in their respective countries. This will save money on transaction fees, and will also help us to receive and process the money in Burundi, where it would be difficult for us to follow multiple contributions from different donors and banks.  

If you would like to contribute, we would ask you to send a cheque made out to the coordinator in your country by November 13th (names and contact information below). Please email the coordinator to say what you've sent and how.   Once their banks have cleared the cheques, the coordinators will wire the combined gift to Burundi via Western Union. I can claim the money at a bank in Burundi as soon as it's wired, so it's a very efficient way to send it.  

The coordinators will email me a list of individual donors and contributions so that I can write to thank you individually. I will also report to you on the use of the money, and will keep track of it in our organisation. We regret that there seems to be no possibility of a tax deduction.  

So here is contact information for the two coordinators, both great people whom I trust implicitly:  

Canada:

Susan Mendes de Franca, my Trinity roommate and close friend for over 25 years now, who is also an experienced businesswoman, and a wife and mother of two children.

137 Reeve Drive Markham,
ON L3P 6C8
smdf@rogers.com  

USA:

Tom Hirschi. I've known Tom and his wife Jane and their two daughters through church for a good fifteen years. I was also blessed to live with them for over a year before coming to Burundi. Tom's a teacher-activist-vajrayana Buddhist who's filled responsible and demanding positions in our church.

39 Rindge Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
t.bob@verizon.net  

What will we do with the money?   A priority for me is eye glasses. I think more than half our secondary school students need glasses. In addition to squinting at the blackboard and making copying errors on tests, they suffer from severe eye strain, chronic headaches, and even migraines, which cause them to miss school. The need is also high in the primary school. $40.00 USD will pay for an eye exam, glasses, and transportation for one student (there are no optometrists in our province).  

Girls.  We'd like to be able to provide free education and school supplies to all girls in Grades 5 and up, which is when their enrolments dive off a cliff. For secondary school girls, this is $55 USD/year. In Grades 5 and 6, it's $45 USD/year.  

Pre-school. Our pre-school is set up like a little primary school, with rows of desks facing a blackboard. Tiny bright-eyed 3- and 4-year-olds who may never have seen a chair before gamely chant responses, greet visitors (Bon-JOUR Ma-DA-mu JO-di), and learn to write on slates in this set-up. We'd like to move out the desks, put mats on the floor, and install some low tables for workshop activities. We also need to repair infrastructure so rotting shutters can be opened to let in more light, and so posters and children's work can be displayed on the walls. Our ultimate hope is to build a crafts and activities hangar next to the classrooms.    

On behalf of all these students and our staff, let me say again how grateful I am to all of you for the many kind and generous ways you respond to my letters. May you receive a tenfold blessing for every thought and prayer you send us.  

Love,   Jodi