27 Jul 2011

Diary of Ale, Abugida 4, 10 July

It is Friday and as with all Fridays the mothers of the children come to the school, according to a rota, to help with the cleaning.  At 8am they were already washing sheets, bibs, carpets…  In this way they contribute to a project that looks after their children and they themselves.  And, as you can see from the photos they do it with good humour!  As for us we continue sewing coloured belts on to the uniforms to identify the groups.  Last year it was me who insisted on individual tutorials in the kindergarten, in this way each baby identifies with one carer and each carer takes responsibility for the child and for attending, informing and listening to its families.  This year it is them that are demanding this type of organisation: lists, groups, numbers, classifications by colours…I’m delighted that they have seen the benefits of this system.  And so we continue sewing.  It is lovely, while we sew, organise, prepare the classes for the course, make lists of materials that we need…in our ‘centre of operations’ which now is the storage room, the children come to see us and eat us with their kisses.

A new boy has arrived.  His father is a beggar who is crippled with a badly formed leg and walks on crutches.  This boy, because of his age, has entered into straight into the infant’s class; thankfully the carers were able to arrange things so that he could fit into the class.  He arrived as all the others on their first day, very very dirty, in rags and with emphysema on his head.  We gave him a bath, put lotion on him, and gave him two new uniforms and also some clothes for home.  Now he looks very handsome!  In addition he had breakfast, elevenses, lunch and tea.  And of course he played, sung and made friends…

Today was the last day of school for the teachers.  Starting tomorrow they enjoy two months of summer holidays.  However, in Abugida the children don’t only learn but also receive food, sanitary care and a roof over their heads while their mothers work, this paradise never closes!  As there are two teachers in each class one of them goes for holidays and the other stays and receives double pay.  The teachers organise this between themselves.  The teachers that will be staying organise a coffee ceremony to say goodbye to the four teachers who go on holiday.  After giving today’s course we went to the market and bought baskets for the children to leave their shoes in at the front door of the classroom (there’s so much mud that we do not allow them to wear their shoes inside) and potties for the babies.

Today’s course for the carers (which was also attended by the director of the school) covered hygiene (avoiding illness, reducing contagion, making work more pleasant and keeping us more healthy) and baths (utility, groups, the way to bathe a baby, how to use bathing as an opportunity for education, precautions, gels, creams, oils, the bath and the emotional component).  We shall have to continue with this subject on Monday, as there wasn’t time to finish.  It is a long but important subject (even washing hands, cleaning the classrooms and control of nozzles…) and takes longer because we are explaining in Spanish and Zerihun has to translate everything into Amharic.  All the carers are still attending the course and showing interest with their participation, their questions and suggestions.  I am able to tell you 1000 more things from this single day, it seems that days here in Abugida last 48 hours, but it’s late and I’m tired and tomorrow I have to get up early as at 8am a little girl will come to the school who I have to take to the ophthalmist in Addis Ababa.

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