In this war-torn, violence-ridden country, hope is starting to take root. In 2005, armed men attacked the village of Peouri, in the northwestern Central African Republic. The bandits stole livestock and kidnapped children to hold for ransom. The people of Peouri hid in the bush, but after repeated attacks decided to abandon their village. These Muslim Fulani herders resettled in Baboua, a predominantly Christian town. Here they were welcomed and were given land to settle on. One of their first priorities was rebuilding their school.
Back in 2001, Peouri elders had contacted the Village School program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church to help them start a school for their children. The school had already been in operation for four years when the violence struck and they were forced to move. The Village School program assisted the villagers with finding a teacher and obtaining textbooks and other school supplies, while parents constructed brush-covered shelters to use as classrooms. In the past ten years, attendance has skyrocketed from 41 to 580. Girls make up 38% of enrollment, higher than the national average in this country where only 22% of women are literate. Children from Christian families are also attending the school, and Christian and Muslim parents have joined together to construct a brick and cement building for their children.
Now the Peouri School, as it is called, is getting a permanent building, thanks to funds from Global Gifts, a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Village School Program Director, Etienne Yaiman, is grateful for the funds which will enable this school to be the first in the Village School program to receive a permanent brick building.
If you wish to help the Village School program, contact Rev. Twila Schock, Director for Global Mission Support, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631
Photo: Villagers stacking sun-dried mud bricks to be fired. The bricks will be used to construct a new building for the Peouri School in Baboua, Central African Republic.
Joe and Deborah Troester are ELCA missionaries in Baboua, the Central African Republic. Joe serves as technical advisor for PASE, which provides clean drinking water and promotes good hygiene and sanitation to villagers. Pastor Deborah teaches at the Theological School in Baboua. Their daughter, Christa, attends eighth grade at Rain Forest International School in Yaoundé, Cameroon.