It’s Monday 13th July 2009 and Jo visits the schools

Due to “Global” we did not replace Fiona when she left at the end of March. Her job was two fold – half “assistant to the directors” (which in reality meant me!) and half “coordinator of the community programs”. Three years ago I had found that the programs were overwhelming me and so I decided to recruit help. But now – back in my lap. Have to say back to square one but never mind. Having said that….over the last three months we have had the lovely Lise staying at Kawaza. She contacted me six months ago, a student looking for an internship in responsible tourism. It was difficult to know whether to say yes or no. But I said yes… usual. She has turned out to be an absolute gem. I asked her to investigate every corner of the projects and see how they could be improved, what the issues are etc. There always are issues of course! Living at the school/village full time she has had the time to sit and meet and talk and talk some more so she can really get to the bottom of things. It has been a great help. She has written a report on her stay to date which you can read on the web.

Jo working out details at KatapillaKatapilla classroom!

So this week found me driving around all the schools making a full assessment of their condition. To be honest, being a perfectionist, I was initially disappointed. Why weren’t they all clean, in great repair and looking spick and span? But how naïve of me. Kawaza has over 800 students. That’s kids who live without running water running around the school, putting their hands everywhere, bumping desks into walls – just like any other school around the world. So of course they are going to be showing wear and tear very quickly.

Clubs enrolment at KawazaEnvironment day

It was great to meet up with Zifa, the head at Nsefu School , who I had missed in my visits. At this school there had been two very rotten classrooms, no desks, no teachers’ houses and Zifa was cycling 15 km round trip everyday. He is not a spring chicken! Now? Six new classrooms, four teachers’ houses – and the rotten classrooms still to renovate. Zifa lives on site in a nice three bedroom house. He is a happy man and all his teachers were beaming.

singing educational songsrecently Kawaza moved into secondary school status - grade 8

Kawaza School – continuous ongoing repairs to be done, repainting etc. This is a large school with 850 pupils and 26 teachers. Honestly? Quite a headache at times but great that so many children are getting a better education.

Last year we built a new community school. From scratch. Kapita now has two teachers’ houses and three classrooms. This means that it is enough for the government to take it over and they have already provided two teachers. A great success.

at least two are going to schoolMikey giving sponsored student her allowance

And finally – Katapilla. Now this is a problem. We started the community school here 18 months ago. They have a storeroom, some desks and a shelter. But this was the year we were to build the teachers houses and the classroom block. If we get it to the level of Kapita then again, the government steps in. The community have piled up huge mounds of sand and they were all asking why we have not started. Well I am nervous to do so. We do not have enough funds to complete the project as donations have slowed. Again – due to global.

volunteer teacher in class (Estelle)bicycle too large?

So I have to make a decision. Do we drop this school OR go for it and hope the funds come in! Well – I do not usually ask for help on Its Monday but I am going to make an exception this time. I am finding it very hard to tell this community that they are not going to get a school after all. An interesting thought….if nearly everyone who reads the Its Monday newsletter gave only $20 I would have enough to build the school – $80,000.

If you are able to donate please do so via the website… would be wonderful to be able to build this year.

colourful ladies at the oversubscribed school water pumpamazing high jump!

Overall we have moved so far in the last five years and this is all down to the combination of the generous donations from our guests and the time and effort of RPS. We have gone from 500 kids to 1640 being educated in the chiefdom. From no government standard teachers houses to eight, from eight classrooms in bad condition to 18 good classrooms. And before this there was no secondary school options. Now we have up to grade nine at two schools. A huge achievement by everyone involved.

There is no doubt that the educational standard and availability for the community has risen enormously! Again – I thank all those who have donated, helped us with equipment and the many other ways of achieving this.

So….have a think about it and I hope you can help.
Until next week.

The girls at the hairdressers


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