Gwen & Mags Prayer News recently received into the SAMS office:

Dear Friends,

The sun has finally made an appearance after almost 3 weeks of rain and cold…. most unusual for Paraguay! It’s not been easy in school when it’s too wet to go out for days on end and now we have a lot of children off ill. In first grade only 7 pupils out of 28 came today and most of the others have flu. We have closed the class for a couple of days but I doubt they’ll come back this week as the holidays start this weekend.

June was a very busy month. We had an inter schools sports competition planned where we would be the hosts and invite other schools. We had a press launch as well !! We had a visitor to that… a Paraguayan footballer who was obviously well known as all the children wanted his autograph. Gwen found herself sitting next to him without knowing who he was ! When Mags came back from the sports ground she wasn’t happy to know the Paraguayan goalkeeper had been in school and she’d missed him…she seemed to think it was all wasted on Gwen! In the end the day had to be postponed due to very bad weather and it is now planned for the end of July.

The third form held a dance competition for all the school from 4th grade upwards. The pupils took it very seriously and practised for months. We had a very good evening watching them and the quality of the dances was exceptional. The year 11’s won yet again ..they’re a group with a lot of dancers in it.

For Father’s day we invited the dads into school for breakfast. We must have had a record number of dads in this year. When we first came we rarely saw the dads, now they are much more involved in their children’s education.

The secondary went out on their visits to the different children’s homes and schools they support. It is great seeing them setting off with such enthusiasm for their children. 7th Grade went to the home which last years 6th form had visited for 6 years and played happily with the chidren who have HIV. They build up relationships with them all over the years. 8th Grade came back full of plans to paint the Preschool they visit.

We also had the last two decade shows. The 90s and the 2000s. The 6th form had organized all their show brilliantly. It was a multimedia in every sense. 7th – 9th Grades were much more self-conscious in front of the older ones – typical teenagers!

As you know, June was also the month of our celebrations. We were blessed to have  Bishop Greg  (Venables) from Buenos Aires and Bishop Ken Clarke from SAMS Ireland and UK along with Eileen Murphy (head 90-98) Molly Cooper and Pat Chapman . We also had some of the ex Paraguayan staff with us.The first event was a school march down the main street in Asuncion. We had all the permissions we needed and were very organized for this and then, 3 days before the date, we found out there was also to be a Gay Parade in the same place at the time we would finish. We decided not to go ahead as we didn’t want a clash. We tried to get permission to march near school but it was too late. We had a quick change of plans and invited everyone to breakfast in school and to see a film  of the history of school and to chat with the visitors. About 200 people came to that, mostly ex pupils, and we had a really goodtime. Many thought it was probably even better than a march. The march is postponed until September now.

The ex pupils’ service was on Tuesday with Bishop Greg as the main speaker. It was a very good service and many had tears especially as they sang the school hymn. It was a special time for many of them.

The next day we had a Gala evening where the pupils did their dances from the decades. This was planned for outside but we had to change it rapidly and finally had it in the gym and the food stands in the secondary patio. It was a great evening, lots of people came  and money was raised for the annexe bathrooms.

On Friday we had our school service with a number of invited guests. It was good to see a representative from the British embassy which is about to return to Paraguay. Bishop Ken from Ireland spoke and was very well received giving a very clear message for the children. In the evening we had our School dinner which was  amazing. It was beautifully prepared and decorated with a fantastic atmosphere. Everyone had come to enjoy themselves and enjoy the evening. The outside was decorated to look like Buckingham Palace! There were over 800 people there and it was quite a job trying to fit names to people especially when they might have left over 20 years ago!!

Now we have one week left in school before our winter holidays although quite a number of pupils are already away. We are quite tired after all the events and a long term.

One of our dogs is quite ill with cancer and probably won’t last much longer so that’s something we’re not looking forward to. Also the lady who cleans for us has been ill with pneumonia for the last 6 weeks just at the time when we have been busiest in school. Hopefully she’ll be back this week.

Thank you for all your prayers and support.

God Bless, Love Mags and Gwen