Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Monday afternoon - Ojolai School

A short drive took us to the school, which was only completed last year and has 458 pupils and 8 teachers. An incredible effort had been made by the Parent Teacher Association to build the school and provide education in the community, but there is no water supply at all!

They had so many things they wanted to do, for example with provision of a water supply they could grow maize, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes as currently there is no lunch available for the children.

We were astounded to learn that unless children bring water with them (from that awful open well) they attend school from around 7.30am until 1pm without the chance to have a drink! What a contrast with the UK where there are water machines and a bottle for each child available whenever they need it.

We were shown the toilet facilities - 2 separate pit latrine blocks with 2 in each for boys girls, and afterwards of course no hand washing facilities.

To keep the area clean we were shown how once a week the area is swept and then some dried grass is set alight and used to clean out the pits. The grass I was given went up really well and before I knew it some quite big flames were threatening to burn the whole bundle of grass before I could take it into the latrine!

It was incredible to see how the community had pulled together in such a short time in order to provide education but imagine a school in the UK with no water supply, classrooms that offer no protection in heavy rain (so they run to the church for shelter and to protect the few books they have) and just 4 latrines for over 400 pupils! There are hardly any seats so the children all sit on the dusty ground for lessons and then go home dirty.

I really hope that the community will be able to receive help in the future, clean water would make such a difference here.

Tomorrow we visit a community that has received intervention from WaterAid.

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