Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The "Haves" & "Have Nots"

Michael and I "picked" (gave a lift to...) Clara, the German friend staying with us, to two schools in Kaleo this morning. This was the first time I had "picked" anyone and was nervous about the responsibility of it as passengers affect the weight and handling of the bike. All went fine and I was glad of the company.

We had traveled about 2 miles when the heavens opened. I was desperately looking for a tree to shelter under and eventually found one where a young mother and her child were also keeping out of the rain. She suggested we stood in the veranda area of her house, which we did gratefully whilst her husband shelled ground nuts in preparation for planting. Eventually, the rain stopped and we continued on our way.

The first school we visited had 6 classes with only 3 teachers in classrooms today. The classes averaged 60 pupils in each but due to absentee teachers some had doubled up. Most of them were having English lessons as we were shown around. The classrooms were very basic with black painted slogans scrawled across some walls. One was "Boys is best"! Rather inappropriate when so much work is being done to include girls in school more. The children were happy enough and responded to questions I asked of them.

I asked for directions to the Kaleo Baptist KG and a boy with a bicycle was detailed to show us the way. We were welcomed with open arms here and proudly shown classrooms with children eager to shake hands with us. The thing that struck us most was the quality and quantity of resources available to these pupils. They had boxes of expensive looking games and toys and everyone had pencils crayons and erasers! Their uniforms were clean and in good repair, unusually. The headteacher explained that the school was supported by a Baptist Mission in UK who raised huge sums of money for the school and had sent all the resources and money for furniture. It was very refreshing to see a school with so much potential. If only other schools had half the stationery and equipment we could see there. It made such a difference to the teachers as well as the children. They had resources in boxes that they were not using so I have arranged to return next week and do some training in using their equipment more effectively. I can't wait!

I shall be going back to the first school as well and helping their teachers make the most of the little they have. That will be a much greater challenge for me.

I shall take photos next time. It didn't feel appropriate on this visit.

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