Paula is 11 years old and in the sixth grade at Baraton Elementary School in Kenya. [Locate Kenya on a map.] She likes school, especially her teachers. “My teacher helps us understand our lessons,” she says. “Some kids I know go to the public school. They are afraid of their teachers, but at Baraton our teachers are our friends. They encourage us to be like Jesus—kind and loving and giving.”
Paula shows kindness by making cards for other people. She writes special messages in each card. “I try to make the cards beautiful,” she says. “I like to give them to people who aren’t expecting them. I make cards for my friends and for people in the church. It’s one way I can tell others that God loves them and so do I.”
Paula thanks God for giving her teachers who help her be more like Jesus.
But while Paula’s teachers are great and the other students are friendly, her school is not so nice. “The classrooms are old, and some classrooms are so crowded that the teacher can’t even have a desk,” she says. “The student’s desks are old too, and the desktops are rough and hard to write on.”
But the school’s buildings have even more serious problems. In some rooms the ceilings are drooping, and one day they may fall. The walls are made of sheets of metal lined with thin wood. Africa has lots of termites, and they love to eat wood! In some classrooms the termites have eaten away big chunks of the wall.
When it rains, as it often does where Paula lives, the rainwater rushes down the grassy hill and spills into the classroom block on the bottom of the hill. When this happens, the children must leave their classrooms. If the rain isn’t too bad, the children go to the second classroom block that’s up the hill a ways. They wait there until the rain stops. But if the rain continues for a long time, they must go home. They can’t return to the school until the flooded classrooms are cleaned up and dry.
Because of these problems, some of Paula’s classmates go to other schools when they reach the seventh grade. Their new schools are boarding schools, where they live. She worries that her friends who are not studying in Adventist schools could lose their love for Jesus or be forced to work or study or attend classes on Sabbath.
“I’m glad that my parents want me to stay at Baraton,” Paula says. “And I’m glad that part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help us build a new classroom block that termites can’t eat and heavy rains won’t flood.
“I hope that many students will come to Baraton Elementary School, where they can learn how much Jesus loves them.”