We finally reached the day that we have been anticipating for months. The visit to the school was to be the highlight of our trip and it did not disappoint. The children were at recess when we arrived. They immediately mobbed anyone with a camera and started posing. DeeDee's iPad was popular because the children could see their pictures right after they were taken.
The children are all nicely dressed and look healthy. Once back in the classrooms, we were able to visit each class, talk to the teachers and greet the students. The children are all very nicely mannered. School starts at 8am and lasts 5 hours. To serve K-4th grade, they converted the storage room to a class for the 2nd grade. One of the large classrooms has a partition down the center to make separate classrooms for 3rd and 4th grade. The newest classroom that our group helped to build is now the Kindergarten. The classrooms are decorated and the children have materials to work with. The children don’t get a full lunch but they did get a snack that included bread, peanut butter and milk.
Our group spent some time with the principal of the school and the MPP representative that oversees the school's operation. These two men work in cooperation with a parent committee that makes the decisions about the school. We're not sure that we could call this committee a School Board, but it functions at least like a PTA.
Today, there were parents building a tire garden next to the school building. It was explained to us several times that the parents must commit time to working at the school for the children to attend. There is evidence that some agricultural development has occurred on the school property and we hope to hear more about that when we meet with the MPP executive committee tomorrow.
We've learned that we'll need to get the school serving through the 8th grade to receive government support. The children will also need to demonstrate competency on standardize test. So, while we have a way to go before the school can be accredited, we have come a long way.
-- submitted by C. Calia