Back to School stories from Burkina Faso

DAK Ministry Update October 11, 2011

  • The persistent orphan girl

  • Back to school challenges in Burkina

  • She is afraid she is going to die (Urgent Prayer request)

The persistent orphan girl

You may have heard of the persistent widow in Jesus' teachings on asking and receiving. Well let me tell you about a persistent orphan girl. You often hear of parents wanting to adopt a child. Well let me tell about a child who decides to adopt a parent!

Augustine lost her father, leaving her mother a poor widow with several children. Her mother stayed in the home village but Augustine made her way to the city so she could go to high school. A Catholic, she found a kindly priest who paid for her school tuition at St. John's School, but not for her room and board. The young women she was staying with felt they could not afford to provide for her so one day Augustine came and knocked on the door of the school founder, asking for a place to stay (and of course food to eat). We put her up with another high school girl staying on our compound, and she helped out in the kitchen on weekends.

At the end of the year disaster fell upon her. Not only did she fail her high school exams at the end of the school year, she committed a serious error that had her expelled from the school and from her new home. She so desperately wanted to try again, but since the door was closed at our place, I quietly paid her way to her home town, where the Catholic community there took her in and cared for her until she finally passed her first level of high school exams.

Then one day I received a phone call from the priest in her town. Augustine wants to come back to study in Ouaga, is that all right with you? All right with me?? Sorry I am not taking responsibility about any decision of hers to come back to Ouaga! Our home was still not open for her to stay at. But she did come anyways, found a place to stay and tuition help to attend a technical school for training in accounting. And every once in awhile she would come by for a visit. A few months later a call came from the police station - Please tell Augustine that her ID card is ready to pick up. - Oh really? I don't even know where she lives! - What! Well she put your number down as the person to call in case of emergency! Fortunately Augustine came by soon thereafter to see her 'mama'. And every vacation time, she would come by to see if she could find a little work with us.

In the meantime, her living arrangements changed, and she again found herself living with a single young woman who was too busy working at night to cook, and of course was not willing to provide for any of Augustine's needs. This coincided with her final year in her accountant course. Her poor living conditions did not help her studies. Every once in awhile she would stop by. I knew she was hungry so I helped her out a bit. And not surprisingly she failed her final exams.

In the meantime, her visits were becoming more and more frequent. Her roommate was insisting on help with rent, money she did not have. Could she work for us during vacation time? And I knew that the question behind that was - could she live at our place again? This time permission was procured for her to move in to our cook's room while our cook was on vacation and to work as a cook for several weeks. But at the same time, she packed all her bags and moved everything to our place with no intention of going back to her old place! She was a fast learner in her 'summer' job, and worked diligently everyday. Now she is back to school and very happy to be living at our place. We trust and pray that she will have a very good school this year, along with all other children and young people who have gone back to school.

Back to school challenges in Burkina

Yes, October is back to school time in Burkina Faso. Churches are having special prayer services for the school year. Parents are struggling to pay for the school fees. Many are obliged to send their children to private schools because there are not enough public schools. Many families have not only their own children but also children of relatives to finance through school. And there are many children without income earning parents who are destined to selling small items on the streets, or working on the farm. Those with means seek to help where they can. In November, Gideon and Sidi, two young Mennonite men will be starting their Bible School in Bobo. You are welcome to contribute to their school expenses for this school year. And Daniel is busy following the beginning of the school year for each of the private schools he is overseeing, including the elementary school that has served as a temporary worship place for his church plant in the southeastern part of Ouaga. The walls of the church building are now up and the roof is on. Windows and doors are being installed so that the services can start in the church building. Because of the urgency, Daniel and I have borrowed and dug into our personal funds in order to get the basic work done. So your contributions are also more than welcome and will lighten the burden of expenses!

She is afraid she is going to die

There are some young people, though, who are having problems getting back to school because of health problems. This is the case for the daughter of a dear friend, who was hospitalized for the fifth time yesterday since August 9 because of complications of an abortion. (Abortion is illegal in Burkina). She is in her second year of nursing school, but has not really been able to join her classmates, is feeling very depressed, fearing she is going to die, and of course deeply regretting everything. Please pray for E. that she can feel God's love and forgiveness surround her, and look up to God for hope and strength and healing. Her father is currently following a workshop on semantics and translation that I have been conducting since the beginning of last week here in Orodara (for Mennonite Bible translation teams). And as you can imagine, his love and concern for his only daughter keeps him from fully concentrating on the task before him. He will be going to Bobo (where she is in the hospital) Thursday, to spend some time with her. Please remember the entire family in your prayers.

Thank you for your prayers and support! Your generosity will help us be generous in helping those in need and in the building up of the church in Burkina. Please let us know if you want to designate a gift for a specific need.

Anne and Daniel Kompaoré,

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