This morning I printed out drawings of the proposed new classroom building and discussed the concept with Sumo. He requested relocation of the current library so we could reassign that room to its original form as a classroom. Then a larger library with an office and storage room could be created in the new building. I shifted things a bit to allow for a future expansion at the far end of the building while incorporating another of Sumo’s suggestions for relocating the connecting covered walk (keeping dry while getting from class to class during the rainy season is always a design criterion here). Tomorrow we will stake out the corners and run some strings around the building perimeter to evaluate the anticipated location on the property.
A young man from the Green Farm area of the Deanville community named Sunday Boy (I wonder what day he was born?!) recently graduated from high school and is interested in pursuing a university degree for “plant and soil management”. He’s a bright kid and very involved in the church but his family has no means to support him in college — a story that’s repeated and repeated whoever you go. Since we have a nascent erosion problem leading from the school that is not only creating ruts but is washing away topsoil, I wanted to gather rudimentary elevation measurements and photos for developing a strategy to both prevent the ruts and utilize the rainwater if possible. I thought this might offer some practical experience in a related field for Sunday Boy so he helped stake some key points, run strings, and record measurements using a length of square steel pipe and a level. By 11:00am the sun was high and brutally hot and my notepaper was getting saturated from sweat with every dimension I noted. We finished shortly before noon and I retreated to the guesthouse for food and shade.
After some PB&J on crackers, Amelia and I restarted the community survey effort (without Kathy and Marsha) and headed back to the few remaining families in Green Farm. It’s amazing the income disparity. One small family spends TWICE as much as the annual GLTC school fee just on transportation to a school on the outskirts of Gbarnga and daily snack money for their two children. Meanwhile we have families who can’t scrape together enough to even pay half of our tuition. I also met a man who raises rabbits, guinea pigs, and good old bacon-makin’ pigs. The rabbits are sold in mating pairs for $30 USD. On the path to another home, we passed a 13-year old boy, Daniel, with a cutlass about 25 feet up in a palm tree harvesting the nuts. His neighbors were busy taking advantage of palm season as two sisters were boiling, pounding, and making palm oil to sell.
After dinner I saw Moses for the first time. Usually he’s the first person I see each morning as he comes to greet me before school. Today he was working on the new church addition. I found out his reading skills have improved enough that he’s become a lay reader. Each Friday he meets the pastor to practice the selected passages for the week using his personal Good News Bible distributed through GLTC. He should be proud of himself.