Friday, February 15, 2008

Educate a boy and you educate one person. Educate a girl and you educate a nation- Ibn Badis

Presbyterian Girls Secondary School (PGSS) in Limbe
February 10, 2008

With a three-day weekend courtesy of Youth Day, Christi, Salome, Naomi and I attended the inauguration ceremony of the Presbyterian Girls Secondary School of Limbe. This trip was an occassion for our girls to see some of our work and for our family to spend time together before I left for a two week visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The inauguration, part of a five-hour worship and thanksgiving service at the school, was presided over by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nyansako-ni-Nku. As part of his entourage, fellow PCUSA mission coworker Rev. Shirley Hill, co-officiated the sacrament of communion.

Rev. Umenei, PCC Secretary for the Communications Department and Secretary for the General Scholarship Board, blesses the crosses of the school

While our girls are not anxious to repeat a five hour worship service, they wonderfully lived up to the occasion with patience and endurance.

Started in October 1999, this all-girl school is the realization of a much longer held dream by Presbyterians in the South West Province of Cameroon. It is the fruit of hard work, commitment and sacrifice by many Cameroonians. Referred to as a "young" school it already has some impressive accomplishments. The pioneer graduating class had a 100% pass rate on the National ordinary level exams. The second year realized a 92% rate, well above the national average. The third year there was again 100% passing. This places PGSS Limbe among the very best schools in Cameroon. The students have also successfully competed in sporting and academic competitions.

The moral development of the students, important in all the church schools, was given due attention in the songs written and sung by the girls and in the sermon preached by the Synod Clerk, Rev. Dr. Festus Asana.

Students of PGSS ligned up to sing their school hymn

Special thanks were expressed to the Presbyterian Church USA for the interest it has shown this school over the years. There have been numerous visits by groups coming from the US, including one with the Rev. Joan Gray, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Through generous gifts from individuals and congregations in the US, our church has been able to financially support the construction of a block of four classrooms, several dormitory rooms and a multi-purpose hall where we worshipped together. This has complemented the many other classrooms, dorm rooms, laboratories and staff housing built by the efforts of the Cameroonian community.

After the ceremony and meal, Salome and Naomi met and talked with several girls attending the school. Phone numbers and email addresses were exchanged and pictures taken. Already the next day our girls received a phone call from one of them.

Salome and Naomi with their newly made friends

We are thankful for Shirley Hill who both put us up and put up with us for three days.

We made this trip with the hope to give our girls some new experiences. Four people on a motorcycle is a fairly common occurrence, but they were surprised to see a taxi so full that the driver shared his bucket seat with a passenger sitting to his left. In another taxi a young boy was sitting behind the driver, but in the same seat. The next time you’re annoyed by a back seat driver, pause for a moment and give thanks they are not a “same” seat driver.

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