This morning Katie and I ventured out to Greenhill school to have a meeting with the parents of the school. This is a big step in our process of helping them build a classroom. We wanted to discuss the process of building and ways they can contribute to the building.
Greenhill has done a great job of organizing the parents of the school and they are very involved. Although money is sparse their effort to help their kids and the school is not. They were very involved in the meeting and helpful. When we arrived they had already met with multiple builders who have quoted them I was given a sheet with the breakdown of the supplies and cost.
One thing that always impresses me is that these people want to help and work. They aren’t lazy and are willing to do anything to help make this happen. We looked again at the land that the school will be built on and they were already clearing it from shrubs and laying out the perimeter. Once again this was great to see but also scared me because our team in America is just getting started on the fundraising for the classroom. It is hard to plan and not get ahead of ourselves because God willing this will happen. I explained this to the Zambian parents and asked them to pray too for our fundraising. And trust me they are!
The block will actually have two small classrooms on it and will be built specifically to be able to hold government exam papers. Apparently right now the kids have to go to other schools to take their government exams because Greenhill school is not able to administer the tests because they do not have a “secure” classroom. The government requires a school to have at least one classroom and closet that is secure and enforced to hold these special exam papers. Wow, I am learning a lot! This is just one more step that we will help Greenhill become more of a renown school and recognized by the government.
After hanging out with the parents and surveying the land I got to chill with some of the kids. They are currently out of school and will begin classes in a week. A lot of the kids are not around but the orphans who live at Greenhill stay during the holiday breaks because they have nowhere else to go. It was fun to hang out with the older ones and talk about how things are going. These kids have been raised by Mr. and Mrs. Tembo for a long time and I am impressed at how polite and caring they are.
As we were hanging out I went in the dorms where the 50 kids sleep. There are two dorm rooms, one for boys and one for girls. And there is one toilet for ALL the kids. About 25 kids sleep in each room that has bunk beds everywhere. They boys dorm is tight, and some boys have to sleep 3 or 4 to a bunk bed. But they are so happy to have a place to stay that keeps them warm and safe. One 16 year old that I have known for a long time, Joe, showed me around the place.
He showed me his bunk bed and his one suitcase with all his possessions. I am always shocked at their living conditions even though I have seen these dorms many times and sometimes think we should be trying to improve the living conditions before the school. But as the Tembos have expressed, education comes first. You see, these boarding kids are fine in their rooms, although it is tight and cramped and certainly below American standards. But they need help with their education and their school. And that’s what we will do. I dream about being able to provide a room big enough for each boarding kid to have their own bed and a desk but know that right now we are building two classrooms and that is what is needed most.
OK that is all I got for now, off to more meetings and scouting out places for our team to stay in January!