Bursting at the Seams!
It is truly a wonderful thing, that Mulemi Community School is such a huge success that we need to build and equip more classrooms and teachers’ houses this year.
The number of children attending is rising, and the role of the school in the community is becoming increasingly significant.
We are in the growth and expansion phase! I must say that I don’t follow the dictum of ‘growth at any cost’. After all, eagle parents don’t say to each other, “We raised one child last year, let’s aim to raise two this year and four next year!” That’s the economists’ approach to life, and we know how that can lead us astray.
At the school, however, we are still in the nest-building stage. In 2012, we finished constructing the first classrooms and opened the doors to Grades One and Two. There were two teachers and others attending college. Now, we have fully qualified Zambian teachers taking the children all the way to Grades Five and Six, but not enough classrooms and houses to accommodate them.
Brett has committed an enormous amount of his time and energy to seeing the project this far, and I am in awe of how he manages to sustain the commitment and positive attitude through the challenges of no money (not just a wee shortage of funds) and transport difficulties and no wages for the teachers, who have also shown that they are fully committed to the children’s education, coming to work day after day for no pay…
…and then the much-needed support poured in from friends who have loved the project through from the start: Matt and Leanne and their wonderful children sent funds for the teachers’ wages and more, and this has enabled Brett to keep building, and the school to stay open. We are very grateful for the replenishment.
Sue and Mary, volunteers from the early days when the school was in the rather patchy mud church building, also made a hearty contribution by sending gift bags, which were given to the children as the school closed for the Christmas holidays.
We recently learned that Wycombe High School’s Parks House has chosen Mulemi as its international charitable project for the year. This means that 250 students will be doing fund-raising activities on our behalf, inspired by the visits made to the school-building project by volunteers in 2015. They have already sent hundreds of blue cotton school blouses to make school uniforms.
More volunteer groups are coming our way in June, July and August, and they always bring a wave of optimism and energy and block-making. The teachers and schoolchildren love the volunteers and appreciate their involvement, although they are sometimes puzzled by the phenomenon of young British and American people spending their holidays mixing cement and sleeping in tents, when they could afford to stay in hotels and go on cruises!
Talking of cruises – when you experience the wide smiles and exuberant spirits of the volunteers as they return from one of Brett’s sunset cruises in a dug-out canoe, you know that no amount of money can substitute for the sheer joy the young people experience by being part of our project.
But, yes, we do need more money to finish building the nest, and lining it with lovely materials, and making it secure for the future.
One big step forward is to register a charitable organisation in Scotland (where I live) for the Mulemi Community School Project (Mulemi CSP). I’ve gathered a steering committee of friends to help me with this: Matt and Leanne in New Zealand, Bronwen in Singapore, Cheryl in Canada, and Peter in the US. Isn’t it astonishing that we can do this together, all around the world?
The process to set up a charity can be lengthy and complicated, but we have committed to this, as it will open up many more fund-raising opportunities and sustain the project in the future. In the meantime, we are welcoming financial donations. Contact me directly to get the details of how to do this: address your message to Evelyn at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m going out to Zambia in June this year, to help with some of the volunteer groups. I can’t stay throughout the whole season, however, due to family commitments in Scotland, so I’m looking for a volunteer to take my place during July and early August. Write to me if you’d like more information about this opportunity to support the project…and to have a unique and life-changing experience! Really.
Go well, stay well, and please keep in touch, for we are nourished by knowing you are still with us.
With love and gratitude,
Evelyn (Overseas Coordinator)