Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dispatch from Sierra Leone - Waterloo School

I have returned to Freetown from Waterloo and three days with the girls of the FAWE junior and secondary school, which Grace Church has been helping to build. Since we sent money to finish one classroom and build another, that building is finished, and more people have learned about the project and are helping as well. There is now a two floor, four room wing being constructed, and the contributors for the second floor are also supporting a computer lab for one of the rooms.

The girls are wonderful. They are, no surprise, what you would expect from girls who are growing up in difficult, even poor conditions. They are clever, they are also very bright. They have great ambitions for themselves. The important thing will be to keep them in school so they can get the education they will need to fulfill their ambitions.

The curriculum is ambitious. They have English as a language, as well as English literature, maths, agriculture, science. Many of the girls will not stay for more than one year. They are needed to sell things in the market and on the side of the road, or work in the fields. But maybe they will be able to read or write a little. In the first class I took to teach, they were learning story versions of Shakespeare plays. At the same time, they do not know a lot about their own country.

We had a long, hard three days, and didn't get back into Freetown until 6:30 p.m. so I am going to keep this brief so I can go to bed. There is a funny thing happening, however. I have a good ear, I suppose because I'm a musician, and as I type this, my brain is thinking in the rhythm and way of speaking English of the people I have met here.

That's all for now. More tomorrow, I hope, after we spend the early afternoon at the National Museum for the opening of a photographic exhibition "Voices of Women" sponsored by the International Rescue Committee and the National Museum of Sierra Leone. The exhibition lets women at risk tell their stories through photographs taken of their daily lives. Hope I can be clearer about that tomorrow.

Good night.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I am looking forward to pictures and songs when you return.