Yesterday, my first day, we went to the Nakhipot school. It was very moving, they greeted me with open arms. They are so happy and grateful for the science room and books that was supplied with a donation from the Dwight International School, Duncan Daybreak Rotary and Port Angeles Rotary. They said the children are so interested now. I looked at the site for the new toilets. They planned four new ones with septic tank, with proper pans and tiled. I thought that may not be enough so they agreed and would like a common urine room (don't ask, it is common here). Hopefully the work will start today or tomorrow. The construction man is coming here this morning. The urine room will cost more but there still may be enough to replace the tin roof over part of the school which is leaking. This new project is being funded by Merrit Sunrise Rotary, Merrit Noontime Rotary and Duncan Noontime Rotary.
Also I have decided to make a nice nursery/kindergarten room. It is literally bare bones now. This I will do from NEF funds.
I talked with the teachers for about an hour and a shocking fact came out about the students. Most 75% are child labourers from villages in remote areas. They are so poor the parents send them to work in these rich homes around here as domestic servants from as young as six and seven. Keeping them in school to class 8 is a challenge as they have no time to study, they see the teachers as their parents and they try to help these kids as much as possible. It is hard for them to buy uniforms etc. this was a shock to me and now I know why this shabby school sits in a rich area uncared for. They did not tell me last year and I did not ask as I have not come across this before. The science teacher is a warm woman speaking good English. I told her she has to tell this story to Nick in the film that he is making of NEF later this month. These beautiful, smiling children struggling for an education with almost no hope. Very sobering on my first day. The women teachers here are wonderful, though they have added two men, for better or worse (just jokin). One seemed to be a very caring young man of 23. These kids need some light in their lives and to know people value them. They will know that Rotary members from Canada are helping them. An NEF sponsor known at the school as Mr Ed has just been teaching here for two weeks.
Today we returned to the school with books bought with donations from two donors. The children were delighted with them. I visited some of the classes and talked to the children who were domestics. They were not treated well. On girl, aged 18, in class 8 was very unhappy. She had to work so hard and the teacher said she often had swollen red hands. I asked her how much money she was paid and she said 3000 rupees per year (38 canadian dollars) plus her room and board. She was hoping to go onto class 9 but she would have to travel to another school and this may not be possible unless she finds another place to live. Younger children were paid nothing. Very sad.
I will post photos separately