A bit slower pace today as the higher heat and humidity took a toll on my motivation. I met with both Amelia and Mieta this morning and had a good conversation about care for Dusu and Kou. I kept it brief because I had to drop the truck off for brake repairs. One of the brake lines was leaking so I wanted that taken care of immediately…stopping is fairly important.
I returned to campus by motorbike then visited the cooks to see the new kitchen in use for my first time. They are very happy with the cooking room in which they utilize the new “coal pots” (think “large hibachi grills”) that when used in combination with the massive chimney structure we incorporated makes cooking a nearly smokeless endeavor. Much of the heat also exits. I recall seeing the women cooking over wood fires before and they were always engulfed in smoke (for reference, three coal fires are burning in the photo below). Happier and healthier…a great combination. The store room looks good with the stacked rice bags. Quita, the head cook, learned the large bag of onions will rot before completely used so they’ll need some sort of wire mesh bin/shelf to store veggies in.
I had a long, wide-ranging meeting with Sumo. He is preparing a report about the current year so I had a glimpse into some of the statistics. We have 54 students of which 34 are returning, which means 6 of our 40 last semester children did not return. Four children are no longer in the area and two can not afford the school fees. Family units fluctuate frequently as does income so some attrition should be expected. Sumo is speaking with these families to see how to help them return to our school.
I was happy to learn the various staff groupings have taken over where the GROW farming group has stopped. The teachers and helpers, the cooks, and the security staff have all cleared ground and planted gardens from which school meals will be made. They are really trying hard to take initiative and make this campus their own.
I learned that our registrar, Amuchain, is also de facto school nurse. She is taking classes to be trained as a nursing aide. She has already been taught to use malaria test kits and give anti malarial injections. This photo shows Dusu getting injected right in the principal’s office.
After our meeting I joined the kids for lunch. Our vacant classroom which is intended to become a library is being used as the cafeteria. I then enjoyed watching the K2 afternoon session do their daily opening which includes a flag raising, pledge o allegiance, singing songs, and Bible verses.
Later in the afternoon I headed through Deanville on my way into Gbarnga to check on the truck (which needs parts from Monrovia so I won’t get it back until Monday). I stopped to visit Moses grandparents who showed me the rice they’ve been harvesting….and the roof that needs repairs in case I wanted to buy them a new zinc roof!
I did a little poultry research in Gbarnga by talking with various market sellers. Turns out they all get eggs from the same store in Red Light in Monrovia for the same price. They buy a case of 360 eggs (imported from Ukraine !), pay $1,000LD for bus transportation (which takes most of one day round trip), and sell the eggs for $20LD each over the course of 1 week – netting themselves less than $10USD for their week’s effort. They were very interested when I explained we were starting an egg farm and they would essentially earn another $8USD/week by not paying transport to Monrovia. One woman sold her eggs for $15LD – a net loss of $100LD on a case of eggs… some of the business basics they need to learn.
I’m getting network by holding my phone over my head facing north so I’m going to quit while I can still upload this.