A School Without Desks?
It's hard to imagine that something so important and commonplace is missing, right?
Can you imagine it took us five years to achieve?
How does your child learn to write? Where do they lay their jotters, so they can, with quiet concentration, bend their heads and practice their letters?
Now the desks are there, and, with the money from your donations, they arrived quickly. Money is indeed something wonderful!
What a wonderful surprise, and what joy was to be seen as the desks were delivered. How moving to see men with tears in their eyes! The children jumped in Maasai manner, and my heart overflowed with happiness!
The Background Story:
Kaira is 21 as he starts to teach a handful of children in the shade of an Acacia tree. He teaches them the national language, Swahili, knowing it is the basic requirement for later schooling. Soon, two Maasai join him as teachers. Unfortunately, the children come irregularly. It is not compulsory. The Monsoon brings severe flooding one day and then the next, the tropical sun bakes unforgivingly upon them. It makes teaching very difficult. But deep in Kaira, the wish for a classroom is germinating.
He is working at this time as a baggage carrier for trips up Kilimanjaro - an extremely difficult job which doesn't pay enough for him to save any money. Despite that, he follows his goal with great determination. In 2013, he starts to gather useable wood with the men and women from his community. The Maasai live in huts built by women. They have no experience constructing larger buildings, so Kaira finds a joiner in the village who he pays to build the classroom. Kaira buys wood to build and corrugated iron for the roof. He buys a blackboard and a table. The women collect cow dung and dust. They bring water. And then, tirelessly, they mix "cement" to build their classroom.
2015: nearly three years later, their building is finally complete. The children can move in and a transformation occurs. Even though there aren't even seats, more children come to class, and they come every day! Kaira's morale is greatly boosted. He is sure that his project is a success. From now, he pays the two Maasai teachers a wage. They have, in the intervening time, learned much themselves, and now teach all day, since they have so many children to teach. And, now just imagine what an upgrade the desks are for the school! Finally, the children have their own space to write and lay out their books. New possibilities blossom. Next, we will buy, not just jotters, but drawing paper, colouring pens and scissors: let's see what the children dream up with those!