The road to Kabwami is well travelled, today we went back to see the school refurbished during lockdown. You may remember our magazine article where we told how we had been advised not to stay in the classroom too long because of the jiggers and fleas.
Today the two renovated blocks look very smart, there are no holes in the walls and the floors are cemented (no more jiggers and fleas). Around 150 children were waiting to greet us, a miscommunication meant we were about 2 hours late but that didn’t seem to dampen the welcome, and in traditional style we were clapped into the office where breakfast awaited.
A tour around the school gave us an opportunity to fully appreciate the amazing improvement since our last visit.
Then we were shown to chairs under the tree to be officially welcomed and entertained with traditional drumming and dance.
Pauline and Carmen were soon adopted by two very cute little girls who were the young children of staff members. Taking your children to work is normal here.
The poverty in this area is evidenced by the significant number of children at school without shoes or uniforms, and the head teacher told us that many cannot afford to pay fees or eat lunch.
All too soon it was time for our lunch, we headed for the office, but we were not getting away that easily and ‘our girls’ came too. We shared our lunches; it never ceases to amaze us how much these young children can eat. After we had eaten Patrick took the remainder outside for the children, we were almost moved to tears as we saw the youngsters fighting to get a handful of rice and scooping that which was dropped off the mud floor.
Then it was time for some C.H.I. as we tried not to get trampled in the stampede for tennis balls.
A lovely afternoon was spent playing with the children, and even the teachers and parents were encouraged to join in. ‘Our girls’ never left our sides, even though at times they had to be lifted to safety. Nick and Fin were nearly broken by the energy of the children who are obviously more used to being active in the heat.
All too soon it was ‘time to go’, Pauline’s young girl cried when she was returned to her mother, thankfully Carmen’s disappeared in the crowd, which avoided a sad goodbye. As we headed home it was unanimously agreed that today had been a very good day.
Hopefully we will be able to start a Parish Project here and equip those in most need to provide for themselves, as we have witnessed in Kikonge.