February 24, 2008

Termite Holes

Today the winds are howling and there are dust clouds. It reminds me of stories from the ‘dust bowl’. With so much top soil erosion and deforestation I’m sadly not surprised. It makes, in my mind, a bleak outlook for the future generations here.

A phrase you don’t hear often is “I almost fell in a termite hole”. This years P1 class is very large. At original enrollment it was about 127 or so. So that’s 127 children crammed in a mud classroom, with 4 small windows with sticks as supports. It’s dusty to say the least. Shafts of light break through and you can watch the dust dancing in them. Even with such facilities I know that these children are greatly blessed. Farther out there are schools with only one teacher per all elementary years.

This P1 class is in the ‘first’ mud classroom; one I have never taught in. Last week I went in to brave the tiny multitude. As my eyes adjusted I dodged little legs sticking in the aisle- along with little brothers/sisters sitting in the dirt. As I got to the front and began to teach- I moved over to one side- where no light falls- and stepped in front of a desk.. and almost fell in a hole. A hole the size of my thigh. Often when we imagine termites you imagine the huge mounds- which of course there are plenty of. But these were just the termite holes…

Today I went back in with P1 and the holes were filled in. As I walked home I imagined that the P1 teacher really did fall in.. or come to think of it, there was one pupil missing…

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