Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Join us! on September 2, 2010 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Quigley Pastoral Center 835 North Rush Street Chicago, IL

Reception for Fr. Wilfred Odo, JCD  Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Nigeria  Bishop Francis Okobo  In Partnership with The Office of Catholic Schools  Archdiocese of Chicago   RSVP  or 312-534-5242
Fr. Odo will be happy to greet his many friends and companions in Chicagoland who support the Catholic educational planning in Nsukka, Nigeria. We invite you to join him and the Nsukka Planning Committee to enjoy conversation, learn the latest in the educational planning process and celebrate the hopes and dreams of the  2020 Vision for Nsukka Catholic Schools!  There will be food and refreshments, informational materials and a brief presentation at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sometimes I feel like I'm not very grateful for what I have... I believe that working on this blog, has made me a bit of a better person, and also got me thinking about how little Nigeria has, but what joyous spirits all the children have. We complain that we don't ever get what we want, when it really matters about what we need. For example, here in schools, we have books that will help us understand what the teacher is talking about or even books that teach us the concept of the subject: math books, science books, social studies books, etc., etc. In Nigeria, children don't have the books we use. If they even have any school books, they are VERY, VERY outdated. The books are so old, they might even have wrinkles!
Another example is that the children don't have lunch at school. Here, kids whine about not having a long lunch/recess, or that we don't have enough time to talk to each other. Children in Nigeria are there to LEARN, if they choose to interact with each other, it's outside, not during class. Maybe we should get some teachers from Nigeria to come here to our schools and teach us a lesson... WHACK! There goes that stick again!
Now as I finish this post, I really think that I should go to Nigeria soon (and this time, i'm not figuratively speaking...). As I write more for this blog, I feel attached to helping Nigeria. Now is the time for you to start helping too...OR THE STICKS WILL FIND YOU!!!!! (Please do not feel intimidated, it really doesn't hurt that much!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If you get into a small space, maybe even with many people, do you get claustrophobic? Let me tell you this, if you DON'T, then you're lucky you don't know how uncomfortable the feeling is... The classrooms in Nigeria are SUPER DUPER small and they hold over 60 children! Maybe you older readers can think back in the days when you were in school and had that many kids in your class. In the classrooms in Nigeria, there's a long narrow desk along with a long narrow bench or multiple chairs next to each other. Even though they may be cramped together, the children still listen to the directions given by the teacher. If not, then WHACK!!! The teacher pulls out her stick and spanks the children! No wonder the children are so obedient (at least most of them)! The ones that don't, well they know what's coming for them... All we have is the "book of responsibility," detention, demerits, or a "conduct book." Keep in mind that here, if a student has to go to detention or write in "the book," that's not painful! Unless of course, you got into some kind of fight and you got a nose bleed, but let's not go THERE. Who ever knew a stick could be so violent?!?!?! Ouch!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Uniforms. Yuck.

Uniforms... The one thing that most students who wear them, dislike about school. If you ask a student that wears a uniform to school, how they feel about wearing one everyday, they will most likely say that they wish they didn't have one or they wish they could wear their own clothes. I must say that I am one of those students... Fortunately, there are kids that don't complain about wearing a uniform and they have it hot everyday of the year! Nigeria, Africa is hot everyday of the year, and for kids there, it's a requirement to wear uniforms in all the schools. Kids go to school on a scooter or by foot in the scorching sun wearing uniforms! Here, we don't even think about walking more than a mile to school, where in Nigeria that's what children do. Also, most schools here have 1 or 2 colors to their uniforms. In Nigeria, every single school has a different uniform, having all different colors! Just imagine, if you line up children from each school in Nigeria next to each other, the line may end up looking like a rainbow! How pretty and awesome would that be?! TOTALLY AWESOME! We complain about wearing uniforms to school, but we don't have to walk to school for miles in the sun everyday. Also, the children in Nigeria have such a good spirit. Their smile just warms your heart... I'm actually jealous of the children in Nigeria for their colorful and beautiful uniforms! Maybe I can order one...?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My summer in Nigeria... figuratively speaking.

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you were born in another country? I know, difficult to imagine, right? This summer I have an opportunity to find out and so do you. Let's start with why I'm doing this. I'm getting confirmed next year and I needed a service project during the summer. With the help of my lovely neighbor, I've decided to contribute my new knowledge of Nigeria and it's schools to this blog. I may just be an 8th grader, (as my fellow blogger said below) but I have a lot to say about what's happening in a country I've never been to... Also, a big part of why I became a blogger is because a few people have these papers and reports they have to write that are apparently more important than blogging. What's up with that? It's hard to believe, but don't worry, Marta has come to the rescue!

Marta begins serving up information on our project

Today starts Marta's first day of blogging for our website. Marta will be an 8th grader at St. Josaphat School this fall. This spring, Marta has spent time with a number of the principals who went to Nigeria in March. Her interview questions were generated by students and teachers at St. Josaphat. Utilizing the stories of her interviewees and their pictures, you, dear reader, will be kept informed on our growing partnership.
Please feel free to post your questions or topics for Marta to discuss! We look forward to an interactive volley of ideas!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sr. Solina Hicks, RSM is honored by the Archdiocese

Sr. Solina Hicks, RSM has created the series of paintings entitled "Seeing the Kingdom of God in Nigerian Women." There are 22 paintings in this series that Sr. Solina painted in her 95th year in order to support the Nsukka Project and her cousin Esther Hicks who has spear-headed this project for the Archdiocese. In 2008, the Archdiocese celebrated Sr. Solina's contribution and the partnership between the Catholic schools of Nsukka and the Catholic schools of the Archdioces of Chicago.

Currently, some of these paintings are on exhibit with numerous other works this month at St. Xavier University. The show "Sister Solina Hicks, A Retrospective" is on exhibit at St. Xavier Galler, 3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago, IL 60655 until April 8, 2010. A conversation with the artist and reception will take place on Wednesday, March 31st at 3:30. If you can't make the reception, please call the Gallery for hours or further information: 773-298-3081.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Where's the MALL???

Shopping in Nsukka is nothing like shopping in Chicago, except that you still need to have money to buy what you want! In Nsukka the market is a large mass of small shops that share walls. The shops run next to each other both from north to south and east to west. The roofs of the shops are tarps or corrugated metal sheets. If it's a very hot day, like it was today, you might feel overheated and wish for a breeze of fresh air because the plastic tarp or hot metal seem to hold the heat and prevent the air from circulating. What might you find in the market place? Why anything from jewels to give to your friends when you get home, to nuts and peppers to share with friends who come to visit, to school supplies. I wonder what goody goodies the delegation found on their trip today? Do you think they found something to share with you?

Holy Trinity Secondary School focuses on agriculture

Today the Delegation began by visiting two schools. St. Francis Secondary School and Holy Trinity Secondary School. Holy Trinity has an agricultural focus. Students learn how to grow and sustain their communities by learning to grow native crops. Since the May 2008 Delegation's visit, Holy Trinity has reached it's capacity to serve the students of the area. They need to build more school buildings to but have run out of land to build on. St. Francis School has completed building their third floor and also need to build more classrooms for the students who want to come to school.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nsukka Schools

This is what a typical classroom looks like in Nsukka. Notice the drawings on the walls...this is what the teacher and students use for a chalkboard. This school's uniform color is green...they are not dressed for St. Patrick's Day! Notice there are no individual desks!

Transportation in Nsukka

If you went to Nsukka to visit our friends, how would you get around? Well, lucky for you, Fr. Willy and Fr. Fidelis would borrow a friend's SUV or a van from one of the schools so that they could take you and your friends all around the city. And then they would have to drive very carefully because the roads are filled with lots of people trying to get somewhere. Many walk everywhere they need to go. School children rise early to walk the long miles to school...often leaving home while it is still dark out. They have to be very careful because the roads are often in poor shape (if you think Chicago has pot holes, wait til you go to Nsukka!). Like in the USA, many use trucks to transport goods (and people) from place to place. Those who don't have a car (and that is by far the majority of people) have to walk. If you don't have a car, but you want to get some place farther away than you can walk, how might you get there? There is no L in Nsukka. What if you have a lot to carry? What if it's more than fits on your head? Well, you just might be in luck. Often you can catch a ride on a motorcycle taxi! When are you coming to Nsukka to see for yourself?

Students on the campus of the University of Nsukka

Today the Delegation visited the University of Nsukka. This is one of the largest Universities in Nigeria. Would you like to see where the University is? Click on this link:

Can you see the red clay roads? These roads are very difficult to travel. When it rains, like it did yesterday, the clay washes away from the road and leaves very big holes. Sometimes these holes are as deep as 3 feet. Do you know what happens to a car when it accidentally falls into that size hole?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

School Children from St. Victor's Welcome the Delegation

St. Victor's students sing a song "Walking in the Lord" as a song of welcome to the Delegation in May 2008. Can you see the various instruments they are using to keep time? What songs might Archdiocese of Chicago students sing as a song of welcome should we be blessed to have a visit from our friend in Nsukka? What instruments would we use to show our joyful celebration? What songs would we want to sing?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Welcome Ceremony at St Victor's Parish

The young men's group at St. Victor's Parish plays music, sings, and dances for the delegation from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Their music and dancing entices the delegation to join in the dance!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday Update

There is great excitement among our group at their safe arrival in Lagos, Nigeria. Today Carol got the call that other than their plane getting in an hour late all is well. They arrived about 6 PM Nigerian time--7 hours ahead of us--until daylight savings time!

The group enjoyed a Nigerian supper and were on their way to the RELIANCE Hotel with Emmanuel and Fr. Willy. The convent they originally planned to stay in was booked for a retreat, but with a name like Reliance, we are sure they are sleeping peacefully!

Tomorrow they will get up early and catch an 8:30 plane and will be meet by Fr. Fidelis and Azubika. Two wonderful drivers with large hearts and smiles who will continue the journey with them to Nsukka.

Until we hear more, know that your people are in good company and having a great adventure!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Itinerary for the Delegation the Diocese of Nsukka

Archdiocese of Chicago
Office of Catholic Schools
In Partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Nigeria
Catholic School Leadership Delegation
March 11 – 20, 2010

Itinerary and Schedule
March 11 (Thursday) Depart for Paris AF0667 at 17:25. We will meet at the International Terminal at the departure gate no later than 4:45 PM

March 12 (Friday) Depart for Lagos AF0584 at 10:55. Arrive at Murtala Muhammed International at 3:10 Greeted by Fr. Wilfred Odo and transported to the Eucharistic Sisters Convent and Hostel. 7:30 Dinner

March 13 (Saturday) 5:15 Depart for Regional Airport (breakfast at airport) Leave by regional plane for Enugu, Nigeria, in the morning (TBA).Welcome by Fr. Fidelis Ikpe, Diocesan Director of Education. Transport to Nsukka, Nigeria. Arrival at Mt. Tabor Carmelite Monastery for week’s residence
3:00 Late Lunch (monastery)
6:30 Welcome and Meeting with Bishop Francis Okobo
8:00 Supper (Bishop Okobo’s residence)

March 14 (Sunday) 7:30 Breakfast (monastery)
9:00 Mass at St. Victor Parish (St. Mary Station)
1:00 Lunch (monastery)
2:30 Excursion into Nsukka
5:00 Conversation about Education in Nigeria (UNN)
7:00 Supper (monastery)
8:00 Evening Reflection and Planning

March 15 (Monday) 7:30 Breakfast
9:30 Site Visit: Holy Infants Nursery and Primary School Meeting of Head Administrator (at St. Victor Parish House)
11:00 Site Visit: St. Catherine College and St. Theresa College Meeting with Principals and Administrators of Colleges
1:30 Lunch (monastery)
2:30 Site Visit: St. Patrick’s Nursery/ Primary, Obollo Afor and St. Patrick’s Secondary School
7:00 Supper (monastery)
8:30 Evening Reflection: Land Proposed for Model School Project Meeting with Project Manager Rev. Wilfred Odo and  Planning

March 16 (Tuesday) 7:30 Breakfast
9:30 Site Visits: St. Paul Nursery/ Primary School, Aguamede, Ikem and Neke
2:00 Lunch (monastery)
3:00 Site Visit to St. John Cross Seminary School Nsukka
7:00 Supper (monastery)
8:30 Evening Reflection (led by Fr. John Igwebueze and Mrs.Veronica Obi, Future Search Conference) and Planning

March 17 (Wednesday) 7:30 Breakfast
9:30 Site Visits: St. Mary Nursery / Primary School, Ehalumona, St. Charles College, Opi, and Queen of the Rosary Secondary School, Nsukka
1:30 Lunch (monastery)
2:30 Site Visit: St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Ibagwa Aka and St. Mary Nursery/ Primary School, Ibagwa Aka
7:00 Supper (monastery)
8:30 Evening Reflection (led by Fr. George Dine “Igbo Culture and Spirituality”) and Planning

March 18 (Thursday) 7:30 Breakfast
9:30 Site Visits to McGlade Secondary School, Ogurute and St. Mary Nursery/ Primary School, Ogurute
1:00 Lunch (monastery)
2:30 Site Visit: Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Fr. Bernard Eze, Director (Conversation about health issues in Nigeria and tour of hospital)
4:00 Shopping at Nsukka Market
7:00 Supper (St. Victor Parish House) Upper Balcony
8:30 Evening Reflection (Q & A with Director of Education, University of Nigeria “Future of Education in Nigeria”) and Planning

March 19 (Friday) 7:30 Breakfast
9:30 Site Visit: Santa Maria Nursery/ Primary School, Nsukka, and St. Francis College, Ovoko
1:00 Lunch with Fr. Moses, O.Carm. and Fr. Chrysogonus,
O.Carm. (“Vocations in the Catholic Church in Nigeria”)
3:00 Site Visit: Bus Tour of University of Nigeria and St. Peter Church) and Okunerere Adoration Umu Oshene
5:00 Preliminary Packing for Trip Home
7:00 Closing Gathering with Bishop Francis Okobo

March 20 (Saturday) 7:30 Breakfast and Final Preparations for Leaving
9:30 Leave Nsukka for Enugu and depart for Lagos
2:30 Lunch at Eucharistic Sisters Convent and Hostel  Depart for Paris AF0855 at 23:35 Depart for Chicago AF0664 at 10:35  Arrive Chicago at 12:55

March 25 10:00 Future Search Conference II

Friday, March 5, 2010

Future Search Conference Photos are now online.

In May 2009, six visitors from the Nsukka Committee of Interests of the Archdiocese of Chicago facilitated a weeklong Future Search Conference with over 100 educators representing the schools, the diocese and the local government. This planning process was an astounding experience for participants and facilitators alike! Together they developed 17 goals that the group agreed to address in the next several years. The essence of the goals is to provide effective Catholic education by upgrading current teaching and learning practices to meet new educational needs in a developing country. A major component of the plan is the creation of a PK through college lab school for educating and training prospective teachers in a lab setting that incorporates the best of teaching and learning techniques. Find more photos here,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Join Campaign

You can join the Catholic School children of the Archdiocese of Chicago in caring for the children of the Nsukka Catholic Schools by participating in the Dollars for Dreams Campaign for 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Two Packing tips: If you head out to Target or some such place, look in the camping section for a cup that collapses. This is a handy thing to have for cleaning out your tooth brush in combination with your bottled water!
If you are a coffee drinker, bring along instant coffee as Nigerian's tend to be tea drinkers. You will have access to hot drinkable water but your hosts will not necessarily have instant coffee in the store house.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Safe Journey

March 11, 2010 begins the spring delegation from Chicago to Nsukka.  Your prayers and concern for these ten delegates are deeply appreciated.   Watch for their updates during this journey.