We have also been busy with several work projects around the campus of The Esther School. Things are changing quickly here and we receive many encouraging comments from community members who are encouraged by the development they now see. Over the past few weeks we have had several different visitors who grew up in this area and since left, but had heard about the school being built and wanted to come see the progress for themselves. They all showered us with words of appreciation for what was being done for this community. One young man just kept shaking his head and saying, "But you've just carved this place out of the bush!" Here are some pictures of a project that we actually completed a few weeks ago - the basketball court. As you'll see from the pictures, an additional benefit of such projects is that we are able to employ several men to complete them. In fact, we consistently have a crew of about 10 men that are working around campus and are able to offer temporary "piecework" to others. With an unemployment rate in the village of over 90% - nearly everyone does sustenance farming - paid employment is a rare and needed blessing. Having the men working on campus with us day-to-day also allows some opportunity for discipleship as we try to impact their lives not only financially and materially, but spiritually as well.
This basketball court has truly been a blessing so far and we are thankful to our donors who made it possible to send the goal and pay for the cement and labor. Although we haven't had much chance to use it ourselves (we are on to other projects!) it gets used nearly every day, especially by the children and young people in the village who are very eager to learn this "new" sport. One of our employees - a young man who lives just off campus - is so determined to learn to play that after working all day in the hot sun, he can often be found practicing alone at the end of the day until dark.