On Thursday 4th August Becca, Beth, Robyn, Andrew, Ian and I visited Katumba 2 in the hope of completing a colour coded map of the school compound which identified the areas which needed improved. Upon our arrival it was evident that in order for the school to be suitable and safe for all of the children who attend the school, it was essential to make some changes.
To begin with, Ian introduced us to Kalyoto, the headmaster of the school and after being welcomed we had a look around the school and visited each area in turn. We initially looked at the classrooms and the children were as enthusiastic and as welcoming as ever and they were all eager to hold our hands and introduce themselves. After being taken into one classroom by two small girls, I was shocked to see that despite the fact that there was no teacher in sight, the thirty young children, who were around the age of 7, were all focussed on doing work in their books. This was both upsetting yet heart-warming to see as the young children clearly had the motivation and the urge to learn yet it was the lack of dedication from teachers that were preventing them from doing so. We therefore felt that we should take the opportunity to make the students involved and to teach them something new. In order to interact with this class in particular we began to sing the classic 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' and the children instantly picked up on words and joined in enthusiastically. As I was walking around various classrooms I was instantly drawn into one particular class as I could hear them singing the songs that the group that visited on Monday had taught them. It was so lovely to hear them singing and counting with such pride and it was evident that the children were so happy to have someone to watch and listen to them.
We then visited Ali's workshop and he was in the process of designing various pieces of paper technology which would cater specifically for a particular child's disability. The piece that he was currently in the process of making was a chair which was designed for a child whose legs had been born extremely close together and therefore the aim of this was to help to separate his legs. It was so rewarding to help Ali finish various pieces of furniture and it highlighted how effective this method was in a deprived area such as Rungwe as it was both a cheap and easy process.
Following this Andrew, Becca and I then began to draw the map of the school and as we were going around the school area it was so sad to the struggles that the young children were facing as they were moving around their school. One particularly upsetting moment was when one child who was suffering from clubfoot was attempting to push her friend who was in a wheelchair up a steep, bumpy path and despite the fact that the young girl was evidently struggling, her determination and care for her friend was clearly enough to give her the strength to do this. We highlighted this particular area of the school as being awful and therefore it is at the top of our priorities to ensure that this is fixed in the near future in the hope of making the children's movement around the compound much simpler. After highlighting the negative areas on the map it was lovely to visit the albino dormitory as the rooms looked safe and comfortable and this was reassuring that the children had a nice place to sleep and that there were positive areas of the school. Robyn and Beth then went into each classroom and dormitory in turn in order to find out various pieces of information, including the number of children with disabilities in each classroom and what they were suffering from. This information would allow us to assess the paths that children with physical disabilities would have to take in order to get to their classroom and therefore make any necessary changes and improvements. After retrieving as much information as possible and after getting photographs of each negative area, we finished off more of the paper technology before leaving.
We then stopped off at Tukuyu market where we had the traditional 'chipsi myai,' once again without any form of cutlery so we were left to eat with a toothpick! After eventually completing this task we ventured out into the market so Andrew could collect some last minute things for the sports day tomorrow.