Saturday, 12 March 2016

Here is one very happy teacher

Here is Gabriel, our main teacher, in the classroom that is almost ready for occupation. The floor in the other room was concreted on Thursday and will take a few days to set and to dry out.
Our teaching materials have been stored in six cupboards in one of the bedrooms in Mama's house for the last six months and this week we have been moving those materials to the new children's centre. This involved emptying the cupboards and then carrying them across to the Centre. There will be three in each classroom and we have another one for the teachers office. 

Getting the cupboards out of the bedroom, involved great discussions amongst the guys.
But five strong men eventually got the cupboards over to the children's centre.
The older children had great fun washing the materials and enjoyed the experience of playing with Lego which they have never seen before. I have a short video of them doing this but for some reason it won't upload. Never mind.
One of the lovely experiences for me is watching the adults attempting to complete a jigsaw for the first time in their lives. It is hard for me to describe to you what it is like for people who have never had access to pictures or printed images of any kind. We start off with a picture from a magazine ( brought in from the outside world), I cut it into three straight pieces, mix them up and they have to put it back together again. It is inspiring to see them working together to solve this new puzzle. Then I provide a floor puzzle comprising six pieces and again work together to solve it. It's such fun teaching here because everything is a new experience and people of all ages are inquisitive and keen to explore new things.
A fundamental principle of the project is that whenever possible we use locally available, sustainable resources but these materials were sold to us very cheaply from a nearby project which sadly had to close down. It was an offer too good to refuse, so Thankyou Victor for thinking of us. 
Now, Gabriel and Gaudance have the task of sorting out the materials into the six areas of learning as described in the new curriculum for nursery education in Rwanda. I won't be here to see the classrooms being set up using mats and creating corners of activity for the children, however I know they will do a brilliant job in the next few weeks and that next term the school will move into the new building.
Everybody is very excited and motivated by this development and there are people from far away coming to visit because they have heard that something special is happening in Gasundwe. We have had visits from local officials and representatives of nearby villages. We have been encouraging people to understand that this building does not belong to the church, it does not belong to one family in the village and it does not belong to the people in England who have provided the money. It belongs to the community and that they are responsible for it. This is a big challenge for them but there are potentially strong leaders emerging within the local population and I look forward to hearing how they will move things on in the next few months.
Best wishes
Tricia x

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