But in order to attend schools in Togo, a uniform is required. Sadly, that is what often keeps children from being able to attend school. Their family just can't afford the uniforms which are less than $10. So we found out which fabric color the girls needed to attend La Lumiere, and it just so happened to be PINK! Some schools wear green or blue, but we lucked out with pink!! Now if Aiden goes to school there next year, we might have a problem. I don't think he will be too fond of wearing pink.
So, of course we went to Hobby Lobby to find some fabric...well, not exactly. We went to Adeta (the next biggest village) to look for fabric and we found this little shack.
It was surprising what all the lady had. I found buttons, zippers, elastic and the pink fabric we needed for their uniforms.
Then we had to walk to the seamstress. This is the little footpath leading to her home.
This isn't related to school, but I thought it was pretty neat. In the little compound where the seamstress lives was a massive clay oven. Every morning one of the other ladies who lives there gets up around 4 am to make bread to sell. No electricity, it uses charcoal and wood.
Olivia getting measured by Belmonde, the seamstress.
The girls had fun playing with the other kids. They wanted to stay longer and play, but it was getting dark and I didn't have a flashlight and we had a little ways to walk home!
A few days later, Belmonde brought their little uniforms.
Aren't they cute?
Eliza and Olivia really are so very close. I can't take any credit for it, to be honest!
On their first days of school back in the States I always wrote a message on their hands. Then if they became scared or missed home, they could just look at the message and know that I am praying for them all throughout the day. Well, I knew this was an even bigger adventure than school in America so I was sure to write a message for each of them.
Apparently, the next few days they went the other kids would ask to see their hands to see what the message said that day.
A few of the other kids walking to school. Some of the children walk 30 minutes or more each way to school in the scorching sun. Maybe I should make the girls walk so that they can tell their own kids, "When I was a kids, I had to walk to school in Africa in the scorching sun...." :)
It's hard to tell in the picture, but Olivia is actually kind of pulling Eliza along. They were both super excited, but Eliza is definitely the more timid of the two. Olivia is the brave one and she helped Eliza get over her nervousness.
The kids getting ready to head into their classrooms.
Eliza and Oliva with their teacher, Madame Henga, who they just love! She has an 18 month old little boy that she keeps in the class with her while she teaches. Can you imagine trying to take care of your baby and teach 63 kids in one class! She is amazing.
Here, Madame Henga and Annie (one of the other missionaries who helps in the school) are introducing the girls to the class. Annie is holding Madame Henga's little boy.
Can you spot Liza and Livi?
This is just some of the kids in the CP2 class which is like 2nd grade. We put both girls in that class because that is the grade where the teacher speaks all in French. In the earlier grades they teach mainly in Ewe, which is a tribal language. The girls also like being in the class together.
This is the junior high building.
These ladies set up little tables and cook food for the kids to buy. There are no Lunchables, Hot Pockets or insulated lunch boxes here! The girls have started buying food there at school. Last week, Eliza bought some rice and sauce and apparently the sauce was VERY spicy! She said, "My lips were burning and one of the other teachers saw me and gave me some water!!". Needless to say, I don't think she will buy that again. One day, Olivia bought some bread that had an avocado and tomato on it. She really liked that. Usually, lunch is 20 cents.
We are so very thankful that a few years ago one of the other missionaries had a burden to begin Christian schools. It is such a tremendous ministry that is pouring into the lives of the Togolese children from our churches and many that do not go to our churches. It is kind of interesting...the little shop in Adeta where I buy flour and rice is owned by a Muslim man. Where do you think he sends his kids to school? Not to the Togolese schools. Not to the Catholic private schools. He sends them to our Baptist Christian schools and he even says he enjoys it when they sing songs about Jesus and memorize Bible verses! And we are thankful that now, our children are able to attend too.