Sao Tome: Summer Camp Projects
Prepared by FFWPU Sao Tome
Most of the people who gather for this project are YSP leaders in their own country, UPA cadets, and people who have done a lot in leadership position, or taken responsibilities in our church. In total we had 22 different nationalities from Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, America and Africa.
The first 3 days since we arrived we made some preparations for the summer camp: a workshop with 150 students from different districts of Sao Tome that are divided in different teams together with the volunteers of YSP for 10 days. We were preparing lectures of character education, printing the materials we will give to them, the food, all the schedule with the activities we will do during that time. Our accommodation is in schools and public spaces that we are going to fix or help reconstructing. Everything was done with the support of the assembly (town hall) of each district as well.
Since the volunteers from STF Europe were divided in different places here there is a report of each project:
Mathias Mussy (Austria):”We started our summer camp project in Lembá (São Tomé & Príncipe). Our 25 students (between 12-18 years) including 6 military boys, 4 boy scouts and 8 volunteers (Staff). Our volunteers were from Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, Congo, Angola and Austria (me). On the first day when we arrived in Lembá, we had an opening ceremony with the local President at the City Hall. We were welcomed by the President and we could explain about YSP and our summer camp project.
Our schedule consists of Hoon dok hwe from True Father’s Autobiography, character education lectures, service projects (right now we are collecting trash around the school and at the beach), Tongil Mudo training and Sports/games. The lectures were based on the Divine Principle and I could see how the students & helpers are showing a lot of interest in the teaching by taking notes and asking a lot of questions.
I could also see how the people here have a heart of helping without being asked and are trusted. They have a heart of respecting other belongings and taking care of them as well.
I can see a big future for the people here in São Tomé. I’m happy to be here and be a part of the foundation for the coming of True Mother.”
Andre Rivas (Colombia) and Junka Alves Ogawa (Venezuela): This summer camp started at 18 July 2019 in Cantagalo – São Tomé. We are eight people in the staff group: Japan, Brasil, Nigeria, Philippines, Venezuela, Angola and Colombia. We opened the camp with a ceremony in the Camera of Cantagalo, hearing words from the president of the camera. When we finished, we went to the school and there the director welcomed us.
In the mornings we have service projects. One of them is to build a wall in the back of the school that will stop delinquency in the place; usually people from outside the school enter and disturb the classes and activities. With the help of professionals in that area and people from the school we are building a fence. We clean the trash, fix the classroom tables, clean the water tanks, taking care of the plantations.
On the 22nd we helped the community to clean the debris left after a fire that happened last night just in the building in front crossing the road. It feels like we were protected so that it didn’t occur here in the school. There were no people inside the place that burnt out and just some got injured when helping to turn off the fire. That night, especially the volunteer’s militaries, half of the staff and some students supported directly the situation.
It was helpful for the neighbors and also students to have this working together today. We started cleaning and some families came out and joined us. It was difficult for those who wanted to help to do something been few, but the team unity applied there make it possible fast and harmoniously.
The participants are really excited and open minded during the lectures that are about topics like: what is being a good person, sustainable peace, love between brothers and sisters, preparation for marriage. The environment is really comfortable because they can express themselves asking questions and saying their opinion.
They repeated a lot the sentence “everything is about living for the sake of others” and gave feedback as “I’m going to become the future of my nation” “ I will spread this information to others when I go home“ “I will not do what I used to before coming here.” We learned the happy dance to perform at the last day with all the volunteers.
Each day we are becoming closer and I can feel that they are learning so much about new things, also they are teaching us so many things each day. Many said that they feel at home and as a family, so as staff we are working on creating a space where they can really relate as True Brothers and Sisters and feel a lot of love from us.
Stefany Obando (Ecuador): The day 18 of July we start the Global Summer camp in Vista Alegre, with the participation of 23 students, 1 boy scouts, 6 military boys and 7 volunteers from Japan, Brazil, Angola, Ghana, Philippines and Ecuador, all of us were welcome by the authorities in the Camera of Me-Zochi (district in São Tome) and for the community as well.
At the beginning we gave an orientation about YSP and all the activities that we are going to do in these days so they can know the purpose of the camp and YSP.
We have the support of the authorities to bring water and trash cans for the students who are really happy and enthusiastic. They interact really well with the community and also with the volunteers with who they have a cultural exchange, learning how to dance and sing from different cultures, also learning English with some lessons we are giving.
In character education they learn how to practice living for the sake of others every day so they voluntarily serve food every day and help cleaning without asking them. The students and the community are really open to change their minds and hearts so I have a lot of hope they will receive True Mother in the best way possible and also they will change São Tome to a God’s country.
Karina Sampaio (Brazil): I gave two lectures so far, about “What does it mean to be good?” and “Brothers and sister love” was very good, they really interacted with me. I show some videos as well and they were very interested in both subjects. I also was doing translation, because Portuguese really needed to communicate with the students here.
They are very interested about the texts we use as materials to talk to them, especially the HDH from True Father ́s autobiography. After reading we made teams and make a space for them to share what they thought or to ask questions. In many occasions we went over the HDH time because they like to discuss about it.
My goal was that “I’m a pillar” which I felt connected to. Lot of people there, depend on me, so I needed to be unchanging, always trying to be centering on Heavenly Parents and True Parents. Reminding myself what was I doing there, and for who? Heavenly Parents and True Parents, to support True Mother, for this community and also for myself, for my own growth as well to be someone that can offer something better in the future.
This experience was a good training for when I am back home. It is a really good opportunity for me to see in each point should I still improve to be stronger internally out of this environment.
This experience was not what I expected, but I felt grateful! I will always do my best.