When we last published, we talked of a dinner that was scheduled for last April. Unfortunately, the dinner had to be cancelled, as Bishop John and his wife were unable to obtain travel visas. However, in late August, Bishop John was granted a 2- year visa. His busy schedule has made planning a trip difficult, but he will be able to join us in late February/early March for about 3 weeks. During this time, he will spend about two weeks in Connecticut with AEP board members, as well as travel to Ohio to visit with our friends in Akron. He will then return home to Gusau.
Our dinner will be held to raise additional funds on Saturday, February 23, at St. Peter’s Church, South Windsor. Please post the “Save the Date” notice enclosed with this newsletter so that you do not miss this exciting opportunity! All are welcome to attend. Invitations will be forthcoming. Please consider continuing your support of this important project at this critical time. We want to help place students in the school building by next September. This means finishing the interior spaces and purchasing supplies and solar computers for the entering class.
St. Peter’s Church will be the location for our second fundraising dinner for Grace International School. The dinner is scheduled for Saturday, February 23, beginning at 5:30 with a reception. Bishop John Danbinta, the visionary for the project and our partner, will be able to share his dream. While his wife, Helen, will be unable accompany him, Bishop John sent his narrative of recent news of progress from Gusau. Grace International School has finally received a new roof on Classroom Block 1. of Grace International School. AEP Board members will also share their remarks
Visit to the construction site
Our visit to the construction site was a highlight of the trip. It was amazing to see the first building already under construction! The second floor just needed to be roofed so that the internal finish work could be done.
We were also able to see the adjacent tract of land, approximately 400 feet square, that more than quadruples the size of the school property!. At the time was being leased to farmers during the growing season, but Bishop explained that the balance of the purchase price was due at the beginning of December. Another $10,000 was needed to put a roof on the existing building. The thought of raising that amount in just three and one half months was a bit overwhelming, to say the least, but after discussion and prayer, we pledged to Bishop John that the money would get to Gusau.
Photo: View of adjacent property
Photo: View of classroom block 1
Since property boundaries are often marked with cinder blocks, the idea of selling virtual cinder blocks seemed to be a viable option to get the fundraising started- 400 x 400 = 1600 blocks; 1600 blocks x $25 each gives us $40,000- simple! We tearfully ended our stay in Gusau with the $40,000 figure in the forefront and fleshed out the fundraising campaign on the plane ride home. This involved approaching our respective churches, writing to newspapers, approaching friends and personal contacts. While the figure seemed totally out of reach, we took comfort in the chain of events that initially provided the land and the down payment.
Phase one of Grace International saw the delivery of building materials, such as stone, sand and wood for the scaffolding, these items were delivered by truck and unusually, for us in the west, by camels. Once these materials were on site and laborers hired, the work of marking out the footprint of the first building was undertaken. The school committee has purchased their our concrete-block making machine, they made and stockpiled blocks in readiness for the building. Once the trenches for the foundations were dug and the foundations completed, the work of erecting the walls started.
Before long the walls were up. All was soon ready to begin the second floor.