Week 1 has ended so let’s see some photos of school in action. Here’s an overview from atop the water tower of the school with little dots of children playing in the yard…a sight we’ve been praying about for a long time.
The morning starts with a Bible verse and attendance on the front porch…as they wait for everyone to finally gather after walking from the village.
Below you’ll see what is literally the “ABC” grade level learning their ABCs. We’ve confiscated benches from the security guard houses and a few miscellaneous ones the workers had slapped together during construction as a temporary system until the real ones are completed next week. The teacher’s name is Patrick Henry and, as you can tell, he looks nothing like the American orator from our country’s fight for independence in the 1700’s (must be the haircut!). Sumo has hired him on a trial basis for this morning class of students.
Our older students in the K1/K2 combined class are not so lucky…the majority get the floor for now until the chairs show up. The girl below from the K1 class (sorry, forgot her name) is proudly sharing that she has completed her page of CAPITAL letters and is ready for the next challenge. It looks like my friend, Moses, on the right (about whom I’ve written extensively in earlier posts), seems to have that “I think that letter I just wrote is backwards” kind of look. Although he’s in school now, his family is struggling to scrape together our school’s minimal registration fees (about $15 USD).
Using a couple of soccer balls I brought (courtesy of the Flaherty family at Mt. Calvary), there’s a lot of running around during recess time. One portion of the yard has an informal football game going while the other side has a bit more formalized game of kickball. After this sweaty round of exercise, they all enjoy a cup of our clean well water! One of the idiosyncrasies here is that, despite having beautiful bathrooms with running water, they prefer to have two barrels of water with spigots sitting atop stools on the school porch – one for hand washing and the other for filling drinking cups. Bathrooms appear to be just for toileting. As long as the water is clean for drinking and their hands get washed, I don’t really care.
There are several other staff members who help, especially with the young students (i.e., walking them to the bathroom…and cleaning soiled pants when they don’t make it). Here they are: L-R…Amuchain Cooper (registrar), Amelia Dennis and Sando Kamara (teacher helpers), and Titus Pewee (janitor) kneeling. I’m glad we already have Titus in place because today was the first day of a child making a mess in the classroom that had to be mopped up!Some of our uniforms have arrived from the tailor. Here’s Sumo showing off the girls’ jumper and the boys’ shirt. Notice the GLTC patch that represents our school. Kids will start wearing them Monday….can’t wait to see it!
After much time and attempts to make connections with the county to clear the road to property from Gbarnga Highway, it was decided by Sumo that community members should at least brush the road themselves so it’s ready to go for a piece of equipment to finish it off. He may have a lead to get a bulldozer in before the rainy season gets into full swing and construction stops. This would really improve access by students from outside the Deanville community and help the school grow.
The big bummer of the day was baby Foton. I’ve been having various problems from irregular acceleration to major left/right swaying and substantial noises from the brakes so it went into Kortuma’s garage for work. I had sticker shock but I’m basically stuck…don’t get it done and we’re out of transportation and a work truck plus the hazard of driving a bucking, swaying, brakeless vehicle on roads filled with erratic motorbike drivers…or bite the financial bullet and survive another trip to Liberia! The parts have to come from Monrovia which prolongs the repair process. Hopefully she’s back and running tomorrow afternoon. On the bright side, after about 17 months the truck will finally have license plates. Nyekeh carried them up from Monrovia for me on his way to his mother’s place. Theoretically if you only owned your vehicles for 16 months at a time, you could have a lifetime of never having a license plate on your car.
I’m dreading tomorrow because I need to go to the bank…another prolonged process.