The children came to the education center today, first by one’s and two’s, then so many I could not keep up with all the names and faces. For years even before FHA I have prayed for these children, these families, this community. Now I actually know some of them: Esther, Deborah, Mark, Lambert, Ange…
I tried to greet them as they came. Like me they need to practice their French.
Je m’appel Kristin.
Je m’appel Esther.
Nods or Ca vas bien—a few laughs.
I choose a picture book from the shelf. It is in French but I tried to read it anyway. The two girls listening to me are attentive. One realizes her French is better than mine. She reads the entire rest of the book out loud to me and those who are arriving early for the Christmas Fete.
My only job then is to hold the book up and show the pictures around to everyone.
Later they sing at the program prepared for our visit. It is Fete Noel and a few of the Princesses have packed gift bags to give at the end. Unfortunately we run short a few. This is a common problem for our center–running short when so many come.
The children sing, a small group does a play, another performs a praise dance and an older student, Stephen, tells poem he has written–not a simple rhyme but a prose work full of lovely phrases about the accomplishment of the students, the support of the parents, the support of the church, the staff, the hopes and dreams of us all. Bintu translates for me and even though much is lost, his eloquence is profound.
Kristin King is an author, publisher and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa. She is spending what she calls the “12 Days of Christmas in Congo” visiting the educational mission.