paige claassen

Christ gave me the ability to rock climb.

He put me in a community of primarily non believers, so that I could be an example.

He connected the puzzle pieces of a year long world climbing tour, that would lead me to South Africa. Later, Sam would study there and I would visit him on family vacation with my parents, and there I would meet my future husband, Arjan. 

Arjan's family farms eating grapes in South Africa and Namibia. He manages the farms in Namibia, and I spent the 2015 harvest season with him in Namibia.

There, I learned about the local kindergarten and orphanage. These are not government supported facilities. They are funded entirely by the local farmers. Thus, they are incredibly under funded, and lack organization, curriculum, and even a proper building.

The farmers who support the school and orphanage, and the teachers present there are Christians. So these kids are hearing God's word. 

There are nine children who live permanently at the orphanage. They will live there until they are independent at age 18. The kindergarten hosts around 40 children year round, and 94 children during the harvest season.

Migrants move down from northern Namibia and surrounding countries to work during the 8 week grape harvest. They earn all their years wages in those 8 weeks, then they move back north to tend their own small family farms of sheep or goats. 

During the harvest season, the kindergarten is much like a daycare. Kids are there from 6am to 10pm every day except Sunday. They eat all their meals at school. Mostly, this is corn mash. 

Most of the families are uneducated. The only way out of poverty for these kids is education. There parents work long hours, so that hopefully their kids can have a better life. But the schools need more funding. 

Most immediately, they need monthly funds for food. They need more nutrition than just corn mash. The babies need formula. The children need meals filled with nutrients, not just calories to fill their bellies. 

Next, they need a monthly stipend for school supplies. Crayons, paper, books, pencils. 

This is a long term project for me. I will be spending 1-2 months of every year in Namibia. I trust that God has called me to this place, and asked me to help these kids. 

I'm applying to architecture school next year, in Colorado. One of my goals is to build an actual building for the kindergarten and orphanage. Temperatures reach 130 degrees in Namibia. They need an insulated building with some sort of cooling element. Currently, there is no electricity in the town, and only a few water taps.

There are obstacles, but there are also many opportunities! Asking for prayers. If anyone would like to be a part of the mission, whether immediately, or in the long run, I would love to speak with you more!