There are lots of exciting things in the works for RHO Appleseed students! We received notification that the knapsacks earned by the students of American International School, through a California based organization called Project Knapsack, will go to our Appleseed students!! The AISL students happen to be my current 4th graders, so it works out perfectly. In January, the AISL 4th graders and the 11th and 12th graders who have signed up for our "Bauleni Relief" Global Issues Project will deliver the knapsacks. I can't wait to deliver them and see all of the happy and surprised faces!!
The camera date reset itself.... this picture was actually taken November 2011
MORE GOOD NEWS!
Appleseed students will perform in the Esparto Community Holiday Hoopla Talent Show!!! Our students are busy practicing songs, dances and a skit to be shown at the show! The kids are overjoyed knowing that people in the USA will be watching them. They have been practicing and will show their acts to the AISL Global Issues group tomorrow! I can't attend as I will be teaching, but Ken will take pictures and video. They will be wearing traditional chitangas outfits, because as they told their teachers, they want to look 'smart.'
It was a long, fun day yesterday. At the same time that we were working at the school the road the school is located on was being paved. This is the first time that this road has ever been paved and the timing could not have been better for us. The people of the compound are also excited as they will no longer get clouded in dust every time a car drives by. Joy put together a short video that includes mostly the children who live around the school. These children were new to us as the school is a little ways from Mary's house where we have conducted school up until now. There is definitely no shortage of children in the compound. Many of the people asked about the school and we told them to come back Monday to register their children. Joy and I wish we could be there Monday morning, as we are excited to start the official process of registration and actual classes. We are also providing St. John's Ambulance with an office to start working from. They are an international non-profit organization with a facility in Matero, another housing compound across town, and they have long desired to open a branch in Bauleni. They are the group that provided the wheelchair for Bisa and earned our undying gratitude. Of course, their funds are very limited but the services they will provide far outweigh their inability to pay rent. Among other things they will provide in-home care and assistance for people in Bauleni. They currently have 1,000 people in Matero who receive similar services now. They also have a cadet program where they train children in basic first-aid. Needless to say we are excited about partnering with them. Anyway, the work will continue on the site and we hope to install windows, basic furniture and a fence as soon as we can fund those projects. But school does commence tomorrow. -Ken Hoffman
Masau and the kids are clearing and leveling the front area for a patio and eating area. You can help fund the patio and our other planned projects by clicking on the donate button at the bottom of the home page. (or elsewhere on the site)
And Now to Make Appleseed School official in the Eyes of the Zambian Government
In order to be become a "Community School" in the eyes of the Zambian government we first need to become registered with the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS). We found our way to the offices today. Talked to a lady, I think she was the 'Secretary' herself. For my weekend reading pleasure I am now reading the Republic of Zambia's Operational Guidelines for Community Schools. They will come out and inspect the site and give us a report on what else we need to do. I have a feeling tables and chairs, or benches, will be a requirement.
So, doors should be in this weekend and the latrine should be functional as soon as the door is on it, with a lock, so the surrounding neighbors don't think it is a community latrine. Next, we will see what we can do about desks and chairs.
This is the latrine! It is basically a hugely deep hole in the ground, lined with cinder blocks, then covered with plastic and sheet metal with concrete poured around that to keep it in place. When the door and a sheet metal roof is on then the hole will be punched in it, and we will be good to go (pun intended).
"No.... I'm told, you do not sit down." And...."Don't worry, we are used to it!" Mary says while laughing at us! I am wondering.... "But, where will I go?!" It is very rudimentary, but it's what is necessary for now so that we can have students coming right away. There are water pipes drawn from the bore hole, and they are very close to the house already, but the cost of building the septic tanks are prohibitive right now. So we will all, yes.... even me, make do with a latrine for now! ( I do think I'll invest in a can of air freshener though!!)
Lots To Do!
There is so much to do before students begin using the school site. The most important, being the building of the latrine. It is close to being finished. But it will still need the grass privacy fence around it. Hopefully students will be filling the rooms by the end of the week. Measurements have been taken for the windows and doors and they should be in by this weekend.
The children will be divided into 4 smaller groups next week and we will hold two sessions per day, a morning and an afternoon session. Right now the classes are too large and the abilities too various. Ken and I will begin one on one and small group tutoring in the late afternoons for the especially academically needy. There are definitley some children with significant developmental delays.
This Saturday, a phisotherapist will come out to meet Bisa (introduced in the previous blog) and give advise on what we might be able to do in order for him to be able to push his new wheelchair using the strength of his arms.
Also introduced in the previous blog is little Edward. I picked him up today, and he is no longer 'light as a feather'! He has actually gained weight!!! He is still shy, but he smiled and waved and came to me to hold him. I felt sustenance!!! The food we have been able to provide his family is definitely helping!!
It is an overwhelming task, what we have taken on, but the children are so happy.... it is all so worth every moment and dollar spent!!
Ken and Joy Hoffman. See the'Who We Are' page.