April 2015

Village Altonodji: A Place Where Blessings (and Memories) Abound

Play time: Kindergarten recess at Village Altonodji


By Bill VanderKlippe, Director

The month of March was approaching, and, as the Canadian winter was winding down, it seemed like a grand idea – travel to a warm place. We quickly discovered that there can be a substantial difference between one "warm" place and the next.

Our daughter Lisa had gone to Chad, Africa the fall of 2011 on a short term voluntary mission placement under the SALT ("Serving and Learning Together") program of the Mennonite Central Committee. We wanted to see her and share in her experiences, so in March of 2012 we made the trip to join her for a few days. Our arrival was in the evening, we were "warmly" welcomed with the dry 85+ (F) heat of Chad. The trip from the capital, N'djamena, to Moundou started early the next day, and lasted 6+ hours in a small bus, with temperatures topping +90 F.

My name is Bill VanderKlippe, and last year I became a board member of Mission:Chad. That first trip to Chad, and visiting the orphanage, Village Altonodji, strongly impacted us to regularly support the orphans—which resulted in a second trip in March 2015 to a country where travel is a challenge to those accustomed to North American life.
 

It was a blessing to again see the dedication and service of those who lead and work at Village Altonodji. God is very much a part of what transpires there on a daily basis. This time around there were 2 of us from Mission:Chad (myself and Dr. Buz McNutt), two from Spanish River Church (Boca Raton, Florida) and Lisa VanderKlippe (my daughter), making a return visit and assisting with interpretation.

Village Altonodji cares for 120 orphans, who are housed and educated there. The school educates not only the orphans, but children from the community as well (360 community students). We had the privilege of attending a chapel service, and were blessed to see the active participation of the

Village Altonodji Administrator, Samuel, with orphan graduate Kaki, Mission:Chad sponsored law student at University of Moundou

children, with lively singing lead by the school choir. There are challenges faced on a daily basis: the cost of foodstuffs continues to climb, increasing unrest in the streets, and the ongoing demands of managing staff and a growing organization. Samuel, the administrator, is a prayerful, gifted man whom God has provided and is a blessing to all.

Village Altonodji does not have running water (there is a well with a hand pump) and is not on the electrical grid. Thanks to you, our donors, a number of solar panels now function on campus and are bringing light at night to each building. Despite these difficulties, Village Altonodji has gained increasing recognition in the area as a good school and a good orphanage, evidenced by their graduates achieving better results than the national average in the countrywide university entrance exams. Please continue to pray and support this wonderful work.
 

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...Village Altonodji has gained increasing recognition in the area as a good school and a good orphanage, evidenced by their graduates achieving better results than the national average in the countrywide university entrance exams.

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