Saturday, November 27, 2010
Ttega Child Development Center
Last week I started my work at the school. My hosts, Herman and Annie, just started the school within the past couple of years. It started with just one school room, and now there are 3-4, depending on what you would ‘count’ as a classroom.
The center has no electricity. They used to fetch water every day but just recently bought a reservoir and a tap outside. It has made vast improvements, even though it is still well below the standards for an American school. Their progress is especially noteworthy because almost none of the students can afford to pay fees. Annie told me their parents brought their children to school with a ‘payment’ of one broom (which is more like a bundle of weeds, hay and long grass used for sweeping) and two rolls of toilet paper.
Since the school was specifically built for children in such financial need, it has become much more than just a school to them. The teachers try feeding the children lunch as often as possible. This might have become a double-edged sword, because the children might not eat at home at all if the parents expect them to be fed at school. So when they are fed, those kids eat a LOT. It’s like they are just taking in whatever they can, while they can. The kids are also bathed properly (or as properly as possible) at school before they go home.
The money my hosts make from taking me in while I’m here is what they try to stretch to support their own family, the teachers’ salaries, the school, feeding the students, and so much more. They have also hired a Rwandan girl as a house servant. In Uganda having a maid is almost the norm. They are very inexpensive, if you can find one that’s trustworthy without an agency. Anyway I’m not sure what her background is besides that she’s from a very poor Rwandan and my hosts agreed to pay for her schooling and give her food and a room in their house in return for her service. She loves school and does her work happily. She’s so sweet and I imagine it’s pretty unlikely that she and her family weren’t effected by the Rwanda genocide in some way.
Herman and Annie are trying to build the school up as best as possible, to attract students whose parents can actually pay some tuition. They still welcome anyone though, promising that the fees are “affordable for everybody!” = ) But I can see where it’s hard, since they struggle to even have the kids’ basic needs met, like clothing, bathing and food.
I am providing Mama Mercy’s children uniforms, and some food for what I hope lasts for a few days’ worth of lunches. But with so many kids and so much need, I’m not sure how far what I can provide will last.
Anything donated towards my paypal account will be attributed to food for these kids in need at Ttega. Literally ANYTHING helps. My pictures of happy, well-fed children will make your day, I promise!
ps: more pictures of the center and it's students to come, i need to put my pictures on my hard drive!