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My Third Trip to Father Vjeko Centre
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 Written by Jayne Carlielle

Jayne CarlielleHow fortunate I am to have just experienced another visit to Father Vjeko Centre, especially at his time of year when Alberta is shivering under a blanket of snow and temperatures below zero degrees Celsius.

This year Al Webb (a teaching colleague) and I enjoyed both, the famous Franciscan hospitality of Father Ivica, and the other friars, and the magical food ministrations of Oswalde, the cook.

As part of our visit, we were able to offer our time and English teaching skills to 30 teachers from the CFJ and surrounding primary schools.

We encouraged the teachers to immerse themselves in English through a series of lessons that included songs, chants, communicative games, reading, writing and, of course, grammar activities. English has become the main language of instruction in Rwanda and many teachers, particularly in rural areas, do not have much exposure to it.

The lessons culminated in an English showcase where teachers from all areas worked collaboratively to entertain each other with existing and original English songs, poems, dialogues, speeches, theatre and games.

Many teachers had long walks to class each day and, because it was vacation time, some had responsibilities that interfered with scheduled classes. In addition, the course was voluntary.

Despite these challenges, all reviewed the sessions favorably. At the end there was a sense of achievement and a greater awareness of our common humanity.

As in 2010, this year’s voluntary English language training program was possible through funding, resources and support provided by Dianne Tyers, president of A.C.E. (Advanced Consulting for Education), a Canadian-based organization.

Here is just one of the marvelous short stories produced and acted out by a cast of teachers during our 2011 English showcase.

“Treasures of the Land”

One day a very old man called his two sons to his side because he knew he would be dying soon.  He told them that his land had something of great value buried somewhere beneath its surface and he advised them never to sell the land. His sons listened intently to their father and promised to do as he advised.

After he died the brothers spent days, months and years digging in the soil looking for the treasure their father had told them of. But they found nothing. So they carefully planted, tended and harvested crops on the land left to them by their departed father. The land was fertile; the crops bountiful and so, after a time, the two brothers became very wealthy. They were able to build their own houses, buy cars, eat and drink well, and raise their own families.

Together they blessed their father and thanked him in their hearts for his wisdom in telling them to keep and look after their land. They realized that the land itself was the true treasure.

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