Opening Celebration: October 13, 2011

Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo,

To begin with the good news: St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo was officially opened on October 13, 2011!

No, there is no bad news to follow now. However, what is quite common in Africa and what nobody wants for a celebration happened. The day before and on the day of the celebration we had no electricity which means that we had to decorate past midnight with a flashlight, we could not recharge the digital cameras and so on. Furthermore, we are in the midst of the rain season and – literally – the celebration was rained out.

It started with a light rain in the morning and we still had hope. Holy Mass was to take place in front of the main entrance. We had put up tents. However, during the Bishop’s homily heaven came down upon us. Some tents broke under the weight of the rain water and people ran inside the center for shelter. Improvising is a skill and a virtue in Africa. Eventually everyone had found a dry spot and Mass was continued in the inner courtyard. Some time after Mass and after lunch the rain stopped.

Despite the rain more than 300 guests had come including the Bishop, the auxiliary Bishop, the Vicar General, many priests and Sisters, some special guests from Germany, official representatives from the local government, directors of other institutions and schools as well as the family members of those children who live at St. Nicholaus and still have family.

Everyone was in a joyful mood, most invited guests came and the center turned out to be big enough to host everyone. In the end it was a wonderful opening celebration.

During the few days since the celebration six mothers with their disabled children have come to ask for help. This clearly shows how urgently the families with disabled children in this area need support and assistance. St. Nicholaus Children’s Center shall become a place where parents of disabled children receive counseling and where the children can be refered to therapists, doctors, schools and so on. Only those disabled children who do not receive the care they need at home shall be accepted to live at the center.

We have just begun and there remains much to be done. The caretakers need to be trained. Also we are looking for a physical therapist who can come to St. Nicholaus Children’s Center on a regular basis to do exercises with the children. In addition, we are looking for a special ed teacher who can teach those children who are not able to attend the local schools

I would like to thank all of you for your support because without your prayers and your donations St. Nicholaus Children’s Center would not be there today. In the entrance area of the center we have installed a plague in honor of all the donors.

God’s blessings be with you,

Stefanie Köster and the children and caretakers