Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Road to Literacy

This morning Ejigu and I finalized the assessment process for an ER sponsored library in Wanko, a neighboring town of Azedebo.  The school is about 5 kilometers up the chewed up main road going towards Mudula.  But Ejigu and I decided to try and scout a shortcut using the numerous small pathways leading directly behind my family’s house.  Not something we would even consider between the dusk and dawn, for those little walkways are the local hyena highway at that hour.  During the day though, they make for a beautiful tour of the community.

Along our walk we stumbled upon a long ago dismembered World Vision well.  The water is still pumping strong, and unless fixed, the well surely will one day go dry.  The plumbing has been removed (most likely for metal scrap money; happens all the time out here) allowing the water to continuously flow.  Another 300 meters along the way Ejigu and I came across a large coffee bean drying and cleansing operation.  After asking around, we sleuth-ed out that the woman are paid 8 ETB a day and the men 12.  Just that (below living wage even in Kembata-Tembaro) for the painstakingly labor of picking out all the bad seeds in the mountains of beans by hand.  Rough huh?  I tried to get in the facilities, but the security guard wasn’t having any white faced visitors with a camera that day.  Go figure.  I did manage to sneak my lens through the fence for a shot of row of the hundreds of sorting/drying beds. One day Ill make it back and talk my way into being allowed a small reconnaissance mission of the facilities to share with Moss/ Pizza Ranch family. 

After about 25 minutes of walking (at an Ejigu pace; he is a marathon runner) we arrived at Wanko’s grade 1-5 school.  School was in session, so we were able to actually say hello to a few teachers and students in action.  The first and second graders were sounding out Tembarsa phrases and crunching time’s tables, while the fourth and fifth graders were doing their best to imitate their teacher’s version of English pluralized nouns. Cats’s.  Ejigu and I were able to meet with the schools director, and received a thorough tour of the schools facilities.  It was positive final visit, that has lead us to endorse an ER sponsored library for the school.  As you can see from the following photo of the “library,” Wanko is in definite need.

There are still some questions to be answer and budgets to look over before the project begins to take shape.  The Addis ER office will play a critical role in these very important project stages.  For the time being, Ejigu and I are excited for what could become the second step in creating the “Durame to Mudula literacy cluster.” Azedebo, Fundame (site of our next school build) and Wanko all are situated near or on the main road leading from the Kembata and Tembaro’s major cities; Durame and Mudula.  The two cities are separated by around 80 minutes of driving on an unpaved and currently being redone roads.  The road boasts at least 9 first-fifth grade or first-eighth grade schools, each of which serving between 600-1200 students.  Ejigu and I have seen three other of the main roads school libraries, and Wanko’s library is unfortunately emblematic of those and most likely a majority of the rest. 

In 3 years’ time, the road work should be finished, along with multiple ER projects. Each will allow for their own opportunities for short term, and long term positive change within the larger K-T community. The regions farmers will have larger markets to utilize, retailer will have more products available to them, and transport within the area will be cheaper and more accessible. Meanwhile, Ethiopia Reads will follow in step. School/library builds, library sponsorship's  and hopefully numerous donkey mobile library programs (a recently re vamped and reintroduced ER project that brings libraries to remote country communities via horse, donkey and possibly even motorcycle).  Where the main road projects dont reach, ER's mobile literacy programming can.

As paved roads will foster financial growth and development, ER will work to ensure that high quality literacy education, professional training and critical education materials are made more and more available within the region.  Together these seemingly very different initiatives will work with one another to provide advancements with the potential for monumental change.  I can confidently share that all of us out here in ER’s K-T field team are especially proud to be custodians to such a significant project.     

This is why one should weld all pipe fittings together.

Its been a rainy week, hence the tarps over the product

The Wanko library.  The book collection is all that you see.

The current KG class.  Its a holiday so most the kids are supposedly at home.  

2cnd grade class.  They are all a little confused why a white guy is in the room.

One of the few unused rooms.  This ones for surplus food  for animals storage

Ejigu and I recommending a few things to a couple of the schools teachers

The view walking back to the build.

1 comment:

  1. Loving these pictures and updates!