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FUM Field Staff Updates

Please continue to pray for all our field staff during this holiday season as they are separated from their loved ones while serving Friends in their work and ministries with Friends United Meeting.

News from Joyce Ajlouny (Ramallah Friends School)

It has been a month full of joys as the new school year began. We were blessed with 12 new American teachers (three of whom are of Palestinian origin). Their orientation program included dinner at the house of our preschool head, Duha, as well as a picnic and a visit to the Ramallah Meeting House. They will be teaching English, Theory of Knowledge, History and College Counseling.

I was energized by seeing everyone doing their work with renewed enthusiasm and creativity. Because I am working from the United States this year, Skype calls between me and the staff have been critical and delightful. I am thrilled to see technology doing its job very efficiently. I go online immediately after I take Ramzi and Nadar to school in order to communicate with the staff before their day ends.

This month was very difficult for me on a personal level. The transition from living in Ramallah to living in the United States was not easy. Other than schools, car and life, we are finally feeling at home in our new place and feeling blessed.

When I first began this work as Director of the Ramallah Friends Schools, I often said that I would “lead by example.” This month, and especially during my physical absence from the school, I have come to realize that many of the work norms and principles I have demonstrated are alive and well at the school. It feels good to witness a slight imprint of influence.

News from Sam and Becky Barber: A New Year at Belize Friends School

What a wild ride August was! We finished our deputation at our home meeting of College Avenue Friends in Iowa. Later that week, we packed up our son Robert and took him to his first term at Barclay College in Haviland, Kansas. Then we went back to Oskaloosa and packed to return to Belize.

When we arrived at the school, we were able to see the trophy our students earned at the city wide swim meet earlier this summer after we left for the states. This year our school came in second, making two years in a row that we have placed.

Currently we have six students enrolled: five boys and one girl, who is a sister of one of the girls from last year. She will be a two-year student. We also have a student who has returned from last year to complete his second year with us.

It is not unusual to have low numbers at this time of the school year. We always advertise in the spring and get a few students then. When we return we advertise in a local paper and on television. The television advertisement is on the community bulletin board that appears nightly just before the local news.

News from Ann Riggs (Friends Theological College)

Just under 10 years ago, my predecessor Patrick Nugent came to the conclusion that FTC ought to join the many surrounding institutions that supported part of their funding needs through tea farming. He was not able to bring that dream to fulfillment during his time at FTC. Last year the Quaker Men raised funds for us to begin tea farming.

We established a plan for three aspects of tea farming:

• leasing existing tea plantations;
• serving as a tea-broker in buying tea leaves from local small-scale farmers, paying them immediately and then transporting their leaves to the tea “factory” (company);
• and establishing our own tea plantation.