slum school

Growing our own food: An idea for a new project that began in January will soon bear fruit… well, vegetables, actually!

In an attempt to reduce the cost of food at our school, we are utilising two acres of land we own in nearby Namabasa to grow beans and maize. Once we have harvested the crops, we will then decide whether to sell them or use them for our own food, depending upon circumstances at the time.

Local community people were hired to clear the land for ploughing and 23 pupils’ mums were paid to do the planting – these are mums we have helped with a start-up business.

Depending on how the project goes, we may eventually also provide seeds to parents so that they can carry out small-scale farming themselves – which will help them fight poverty by providing some of their fresh food and/or produce crops to sell.

I wonder how embarrassing it was for Fenris to admit that he couldn’t read. Everyone he knows can read, or are very well educated (even if they weren’t a fan of schooling). Even slum kids and alienage elves must know how to read and write at least a little. I imagine at first he didn’t think much of it as few elves he knew in Tevinter knew how to read and anyone he was permitted to be in contact with was either a magister or an enemy he was about to kill. So, not being able to read is the norm for him. 

But then he gets away and there are words everywhere, and there are no slaves anywhere else in Thedas so people don’t understand why he stares blankly at menus or destination boards- suddenly he’s an anomaly in every way. He’s not young looking either, so he doesn’t even have that excuse. He asks people questions, when is the next ship, do you sell potions, and people look at him incredulously and they’re impatient with him because they think he’s being ignorant. 

“Are you fucking blind?! Read it, it says it right there. Damn, lazy elves.”

So he stops asking, somehow through the odd kind person, he gets to where he needs to be, he learns to keep his hunters alive long enough to beat information out of them because he can’t read the contracts and notes in their pockets. 

And then there’s Hawke and his group of friends, they’re all smart and talk about all the things they’ve read about and discovered. Fenris isn’t stupid, quite the opposite, but he doesn’t want to appear foolish and he knows these Southerners place a lot of stead in a person being able to read. So, he says nothing and instead says, ‘I’ll have whatever you get’ and hopes that he likes it.

And then sweet Hawke comes along with this beast of a book and he’s looking at Fenris with his big, amber eyes telling him he’s got a present for him. Fenris’s heart stops when he’s realises what it is and how can he tell Hawke after all these years that he has to refuse it? And then without skipping a beat Hawke tells him he’ll bloody well teach him how to read, and it’ll be easy as pie. 

Turns out it’s fucking not, but it feels a lot easier with Hawke warm at his side.


September 4 – today Mother Teresa of Calcutta becomes St Teresa of Calcuta 

Mother Teresa of Kolkata, the tiny woman recognized throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor, was beatified October 19, 2003. Among those present were hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded in 1950 as a diocesan religious community. Today the congregation also includes contemplative sisters and brothers and an order of priests. In 1946, while riding a train to Darjeeling to make a retreat, Sister Teresa heard what she later explained as “a call within a call. The message was clear. I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.” She also heard a call to give up her life with the Sisters of Loreto and, instead, to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.” After receiving permission to leave Loreto, establish a new religious community and undertake her new work, she took a nursing course for several months. She returned to Kolkata, where she lived in the slums and opened a school for poor children.