This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Grace School, Lusaka, Zambia (pt. 2)

At the bottom end of the main street of Grace is a stream.  It is the kind you see in documentaries about pollution in the "before" pictures.  This stream is in the "now" moment for these Lusaka residents.  Twenty-five to thirty percent of the students come to school from the other side of the stream.  Sometimes they can walk a plank or if it is gone they can hop over on rocks or wade through the water.  In the rainy season they must walk upstream to the paved road bridge, over one kilometer and then back on this side over a kilometer.  Sometimes kids play in the water.  A week before this photo was taken, a six year old boy drowned here.  That sort of event never makes the news in the papers or on TV.  There are many much more graphic stories to tell in Lusaka and Zambia. 
Perhaps someday a foot bridge could be constructed that would withstand the rainy season.

You can see the line in this classroom where the Lyles helped to get the walls raised higher and then a roof put on.  Next comes the plaster.

Here is another class room with the same improvements.

This larger classroom was finished and now the teachers use it as a dormitory for themselves.  On the other side of the school two new apartments are being constructed,  one for women and one for men to house the faculty.  They will each have two rooms, a bedroom and a living room where cooking can take place.

The walls of one of the newer sections are slowly going up.  The church supplies the materials but the community must supply the labor.  Buildings are built according to local standards and not to American standards unless safety is a real issue.

This is the beginning of the last major building/room.  It will be the assembly hall.  This is the front.  The existing back wall shows you the length of the room.  These are the local men working to get it finished.

Blocks and sand and gravel are stacked everywhere.

A well or borehole was dug in the courtyard.  Electricity is available but is expensive and solar electric was added to help with the operating budget.

Here the water is running, gravity fed from the high tank.  The school now sells water at a very nominal charge to help with their expenses.  Soon this area will be cleaned up and look a lot better but still work the same.

With the classrooms all being finished with walls and tin roofs, a front wall and gate was added to help with security and orderliness with everyone coming in the same door.

This little girl will be able to learn here soon.

There were two pit toilets but now there are six or eight.
The new one below is for boys.

Sadly, you can see some of the problem.  This is Frank the headmaster's living quarters where he lives with his wife and daughter.  It is divided so that behind the partition is his bedroom.  This surely is the biggest and nicest home in the community.

Here is one more classroom being finished with plaster on the raised walls.

Some of the few charts on the walls for teaching.

This is the new faculty lounge.

I look at some of the school age kids in this "village" and wonder how much they learn.  How qualified are the teachers and what resources do they have.

Down this street there is now a little haven for learning, Grace Mazyopa Community School.  
It is safer, healthier, more organized for group improvement.  It has facilities to attract better teachers.

While Mom does the dishes those kids can talk to her about the things they learned in school.

Some of the kids in town gathered to thank the Lyles for their help.  
The program was held in the big new auditorium.

Frank wanted to use the bull horn so Elder Lyle used it too to tell the kids to take pride in their school.

I got a photo of some of the kids with the Lyles.

There is still much more to be done but the Lyles have been here for eighteen months and this was just one of many projects they were involved with.

Frank has a sign with the school name ready to be put up when all the work is done.

This little village is literally on the "other side of the tracks".  Their main street leaves a paved road and crosses the tracks and continues down to the stream.  A truck can make it but it is easier to walk in and walk out.

On my last trip there the railroad had been trying to get the trains running again and a crew had worked to expose the railroad ties and replace the poor ones.  The result is that now there is no vehicle access in to Grace at all.  Everyone must step over these rails with whatever goods they purchased elsewhere.
It is fortunate that the blocks for the school arrived when they did.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my life has been so easy.