Week Beginning 25.05.09
We finally made it to Doliba High School. On our last attempt we turned back after a few hours so this time we went in the school truck with their experienced driver. The journey was epic. We drove through streams and rivers, across broken bridges, up steep inclines, down ravines. We did 5 point turns on hair pin bends up a mountain path all the time looking at spectacularscenery. After 3 ½ hours we arrived -bruised and battered - to be met with a student guard of honour with flowers and petals, hugs and handshakes. It was very heartening.
We were shown to our house which was bare and in a state of disrepair but with three 'vases' of beautiful, fresh flowers including lilies. There was no water or cooking facilities in the house but there was a haus kuk, which was made of local materials - thatched roof etc- and a pile of wood. We were desperate for a cup of tea and had taken all our food stuff but had no kettle so the security men came and lit a fire and got us organised. In fact they cooked both evenings for us. I don't know how we'd have managed without them.
We took a staff meeting at 3.00 p.m. until 5.00 p.m. and then another from
7 p.m. til 9.00 p.m.! The next day we observed 9 lessons, gave feedback, took a new graduates workshop, did a demonstration lesson where all the staff watched, met with the Senior teachers and then took another staff training from7.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m! It was full on but the staff were keen and wanted to gain as much as possible as they have difficulty accessing support due to their remoteness. During one of the evening staff meetings we did a role play and the staff were greatly amused. The security man came too and watched and, although he speaks very little English, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy it! It is amazing what you'll watch when there is no tele!
The toilet was outside in a liklik haus and unfortunately Alison needed to go in the middle of the night. Being too frightened she asked Mike to go with her and he was glad he did. The sky was amazing. The Milky Way was spectacular and it was a joy to be out there with no light pollution whatsoever. We asked Ben if he wanted waking the next night but he declined!
The generator came on for about two and a half hours each evening - from 6.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. but stayed on slightly longer in our honour. They have to transport all the diesel up to the school so are very careful with it. They have no computer, no copying facilities, but in spite of that they are educating their pupils very well and are delivering better lessons than we've seen in other schools.
When we left they gave us a pencil drawing each drawn by one of the teachers - and spoke of how much they'd learnt and how grateful they were. They thanked God for the ' honour and privilege of working with VSO'.
As the staff all live on the site Alison got talking to a wife of one of the teachers. She was 17 with a four month old baby. She is his second wife. She had terrible toothache but they are far from medical facilities. Alison gave her 2 paracetamol (against the recommendations of VSO) and the next night she came for 2 more. It was very tempting to leave the packet with her but that isn't the solution!?!
We left at 6.00 a.m. as two members of staff were attending a VSO Science workshop at 10.00 a.m. It is about 40 miles (67Km) but takes 3 ½ hours so we arrived here exhausted but THANK GOODNESS the water was on. Showers, hair washing, washing clothes and we almost felt normal.
Love Mike and Alison