Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Tale of Two Villages

 In 2011 Bob and I visited the villages of Ikwele (pronounced e-quay-lay) and Kachere.  At the time Ikwele school served 230 students in grades 1 – 5 with two teachers. The community had made over 200,000 bricks to complete the school.  The source of water was this uncovered shallow well.  Below are some of the photos I took of the building and the community at that time. 
Community members sit proudly in front of their school in 2011
The open shallow well (2011)
I am happy to report that four years later they have not only completed the brick building but another larger building as well.  The old well is gone and a borehole is available for the community. 

The school serves 320 students in grade 1 – 7 with eight teachers making the class size average 40 students to one teacher rather than 115 students to one teacher.  The school reports they have a feeding program called Mary’s Meal for the children organized through an NGO. They also mentioned using a program called Teaching for Transformation introduced to them by the CCAP that emphasizes Bible study and prayer and the students and teachers are really enjoying it. 
The teachers with Mabuchi in front of their new school
Bob and I pose with members of the village and CCAP (2011)
The second village is Kachere (or Kachele since “r” and “l” are interchangeable)  In 2011 I noted that the building was comprised of several poles with some thatch on the top for a roof (see photo below). There were two teachers serving 98 three – six year olds for 3 hours each day.  They had no primary school at the time. Of course there were no materials to teach primary school such as books, paper or pencils if they had wanted.  The teachers at the time reported making home visits to encourage parents to send their children to school but many parents were discouraged by the extreme poverty and didn’t see how education would be helpful.  The women were walking several kilometers a day to get water.  I remember being grateful I was wearing sunglasses so the teachers weren’t able to see the tears welling up in my eyes when I looked around and saw what I viewed to be a bleak situation.  
School building in 2011 - note the little one in the foreground
In my principal's office at home I kept a copy of the 
The young one front and center - four years later
photo above to remind myself of how much we have and how grateful we should be.  I was happy to meet the little girl in the foreground in the purple and white dress when I visited this time.  She and her friends posed for this new picture.   
Mabuchi and the teachers at the borehole
Kachere is probably the most encouraging story I have seen thanks to this hard working community and some generous sponsors.  A church in New Jersey donated the borehole that was recently completed.  And a sponsor in California has helped with the beautiful school building. 
This woman now carries clean water only a short distance to her home
Teachers and students pose in front of their new building
The school has five teachers serving 120 students in grades 1 – 4.  They have some teaching materials and are anticipating furniture in the future.  They were proud to show us their school, their community, and the historic Kachere tree for which the village is named.

The Kachere tree

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