Jonathan's House for Orphans
1) The COVIC-19 pandemic resulted in a Central African Republic government order to shut down our Christian School and School Lunch Program in March. 425 children missed an education and a daily nutritious meal that so many of them desperately need. CAR is still the most malnourished country in the world in 2020. Because it is also has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, we made the decision to continue to pay our teachers and school lunch programs during the forced closure.
2) Like most non-profits, donations are down in 2020 due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on many families. That’s understandable, but the needs in CAR didn’t shrink when the pandemic arrived. Balancing needs and available resources is more of a challenge this year than in the past, so we’ve had to make some difficult decisions.
3) CAR has a mandatory 21 day quarantine for foreign visitors, so there is no way to take a mission trip to Jonathan’s House in 2020.
4) In August, a full time missionary moved to the orphanage for a two year term. This is a big development. Donna Bixby was born in CAR as the daughter of missionaries in the 1970’s and she grew up in the big house that is now Jonathan’s House. Her involvement has already sparked a number of new initiatives and I’m looking forward to a new era of progress. We're very thankful for the sacrifices that she has made to serve the Lord in a region that desperately needs it.
5) We were able to rescue twin girls. At 15 months old, they weigh 16 lbs. and 11.5 lbs. Their mother had been receiving Plumpynut for the girls, but I don’t think it had been getting to the girls. In a land of extreme poverty, those things happen far too often. We made sure that they are getting the Plumpynut now, because Plumpynut works. One of the twins also had a badly infected umbilical hernia and the doctors felt that she could die if she didn’t have an emergency operation. Fortunately, we were able to get them to a hospital who could perform the surgery. It went well and she is recovering now. We also connected the mother with a support system to raise the girls in a responsible home after they are well, and we’ll continue to monitor their progress. We're hopeful the effects of severe malnutrition early in their lives aren’t too much for them to overcome with proper nutrition from now on.
6) We were given permission to open the Christian School and School Lunch Program in November, 2020. In a school where literacy is our primary goal, there’s going to be a lot of catching up to do. If finances allow, we’ll build extra classrooms and add more teachers to reduce class sizes and allow for more personal interaction between teachers and children. Learning to read is difficult for a child who is in classroom with 50 students and attending school primarily because he or she desperately needs a school lunch every day. Smaller classes will help but it’s an uphill battle.
7) At this point, the virus has not had devastating effects in CAR. We have not seen a single case of it at our medical clinic or at the orphanage.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS COVERAGE:
Praise in song! Enjoy from the kiddos at Jonathan's House for Orphans.
Listen to "Amazing Grace" --->>
The Children's New (and First Ever) Playground
Through fundraising efforts of an Iowa family, a playground at JHO and at the primary school was built. Allowing many of these children the opportunity for the first time to "just be kids". While the school has an ages old basketball court, no play equipment has ever been available. To say that these facilities are used endlessly would be... well, accurate. :-) Ever thought about creating a campaign with purpose in your family? Consider launching a fundraiser for new school windows, school uniforms, food for the lunch program (sponsor a whole month... how fun would that be?), the opportunities are endless. Please consider raising funds for something in CAR that resonates with you and your family... and we can help you make it happen!
Two New Sewing Machines!
We purchased two sewing machines and we have hired a sewing instructor for the summer. Our older children are learning to sew. They have progressed rapidly and now they are making the school uniforms for children in need during the upcoming school year. They are reducing our cost for school uniforms and learning a valuable skill. Classes are being held in the old auto shop were we house the school lunch program.