Of course, before we could go to the Lwala School, we had to shop first: notebooks, math sets, pens and also for some fun a few balls. Everything was pre-ordered; thus, it was more of picking up and pay than shopping for fun. Just great, for this moment.
The Lwala is just a bit up north from Otuboi, a village near the Unity school. The governmental school teaches about 1000 girls from nursery 1 up to Primary 7.
At our visit, P7 was already at leave because they already had their exams, waiting at home for the results.
In all other classes, we interrupted a test the girls took. Found it a bit disturbing! Would have been better our contact was aware of it and we could have chosen another day. About 300 girls did not take part of the test: their parents were not able to pay the exam fee.
At Lwala, they have up to over 100 girls in 1 class. P4 was split in 2 classes because there were 225 girls. The one was called P4-Brilliant and the other P4-Bright. I liked that.
Not all classrooms had school banks: the girls just sit on the ground during the lessons. The head teacher also showed us the boarding rooms: matrasses on the floor, a wooden box for all the thing they have and need for one semester. The boarding kids do not go home for a whole semester. Their day starts at 5AM, with an hour early-prep for school. They have half an hour for breakfast and personal hygiene, then the second prep starts. At 8 the (day) schoolgirls attend, lessons are up to 5 PM with a porridge break at 10:30 and lunch at 2:30, for those who can afford to pay for it. Supper for the boarding girls is at 5:30PM. 6PM, the evening prep starts, until 9PM. Some time for personal hygiene, and then it is sleeping time, again.
Quite a long and hard day! Isn’t it?
Only a few boarding rooms are left. From 1 building, the roof was fallen down, by another it’s about to happen. The government provides no money for repair, just enough to keep lessons running.
After the tour of the grounds, we gave our donations – afripads and school materials – to the girls. Had some fun for a while with the girls. But the girls had to go back to the classes to finish their exams. Hope, they did well, despite the interruption.
Driving back to Soroti, I started to wonder if the donation we gave really is the best support we can organise. They, definitely were pleased with all of it, no doubt about that! But seen it all, and spoken much too short to the head teacher, made me wonder.
We briefly met the county council for the school. Maybe, a longer conversation would have been good, too. In any case, supporting a governmental school is – seems – a bit more difficult than a private school. The need is certainly no less.
Back in Soroti, I bought a SIM for my phone. Part of a problem solved. Seemed, my card wasn’t registered well, thus had to go back before I could use it. Remember, you have to asked clearly everything, you want. Inclusive paying social media taxes.
At the end of the day we posted our first story and action online. Within a few hours, the first donations for the next year came in! Amazing!
In the evening, the director of the Jehiel school came along at our stay. Had a nice chat about the current problems in the region the school is in. They had a crazy amount of rainfall through the season, and more rain was coming – some roads already completely impossible to cross. Might become a challenge to visit the school!
Did I mention the gifts, we received from him? Quite some fresh peanuts and a bucket of fresh peanut butter! Just special!
We gave our donation for the building material to him to start the new nursery rooms. We learned, that the current nursery was partly washed and blown away, the floors (just sand, no concrete) were to cold and to wet for the kids. A lot of kids were cuffing, already.