It took us 7 months, 2000 bricks, 4 bags of cement, 20 iron sheets, a whole community, and lots of faith. But finally—the roof has been raised, the cement smeared, the desks assembled, the locks on the door. We have our very own single block classroom.
The process itself was… a process. And I am sure I can say I will never do it again although I am very grateful for the outcome. It was a challenge to complete the structure towards the last few months but we completed it…. four months after the projected date.
All the materials and transport were bought and the community was responsible for the manual labor and construction. Yet the realities of rural development overpowered what one may think of as simple tasks.
We were off to a good start until around September. People were making bricks and attending meetings. But September is maize selling time when people package up their harvests, take it to the food shelters, and get the equivalent of 13$ per 50kg bag. It’s a busy time. Villagers are gathering maize from the fields, husking it, sifting it, dividing it into bags, scrambling to find affordable transport to the nearest food security shed, and estimating how much they need to ration out for the rest of the year to set aside for feeding their families.
Well, then October came around. In Northern Province, in Kasama especially, that means caterpillar season. It’s a busy time. People are in the bush; women with buckets, children with empty water bottles, dished, my discarded tupperware of butter-all overflowing with juicy fat caterpillars which will suffice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next two or three months.
In December the first rains arrived and planting season started all over again. Now this is a busy time . Try and get people to dig a foundation at any given day when they are out digging maize beds in which their livelihood depends on for the rest of the year.
But despite the seasonal calendar, we managed to persuade a handful of people here and there to work on our little dream. And despite the challenges, we are tremendously proud to have mobilized toward development for the first time.
Our village in unique from other villages that Peace Corps operates in that it is essentially an offshoot of the coffee company. The people here came for work long ago when the company was thriving. Back then churches, a clinic, and Kateshi Basic School were even built within the company’s boundary. Houses for higher level employees were established with electricity and tin roofs. However, the planters, water pumpers, security guards settled just outside the boundaries of the company in a village that we now call Kampinda.
Time has passed and the company went bankrupt. But the people of Kampinda have remained. And the still go to the company for everything; to pray at its churches, to use its electricity, to get treated at its clinic, and to get an education at its school. So in a way, this unique village has been raised on dependency. And it’s difficult to wean it off this dependent lifestyle. But in another way, it’s the perfect setting for a Peace Corps volunteer to instill sustainability.
I present to you... Kampinda Preschool:
Raising the Roof!
Kalibu! (You are Welcome!)
Excited for a new school
First Stages of a Floor!
And windows too!
And a door!
Cementing the floor
Our own little school house!
The concept of a talking sponge with eyes and a pirate flag was almost as hard to explain as completing the Spongebob puzzle itself. But we got the hang of it!
First Day of school
Twatotella sana. Twaumfwa Bwino pantu twakwata preschool mu mushi. Nomba, abaana bakalasambilila bwino :)
We Thank you very much. We feel very good because we now have a preschool. Now, our children will be learning very well :)
Okay now I'd like to share one of my favorite people with you. My new baby sister, Loveness:
All you need is Love
Teaching one of my teachers how to make pizza:
On that note, see you in three months America!