Sunday, May 29, 2011

From School to School

Trying on my helmet
We’ve moved into a new phase of our work – intensive school visiting. Mary is now working with 8 schools as part of the Focus Schools Programme and I am working with around 15. They are a mixture of a few Primary Schools, mainly Groupe Scolaire (9 years basic Education from Primary to Senior 4 around 15 years of age) and a couple of secondaries. Mary is working with groups of 4 or so teachers, observing lessons and helping with planning and methodology. It’s not so easy with class sizes of up to 60 but there is a reasonable enthusiasm from the teachers despite the challenges they face. My visits consist of observing lessons with the Headteacher, school evaluation, strategic planning and any leadership issue which is felt appropriate. I am mainly working with the new Headteachers who were appointed just after we arrived. All are very enthusiastic and many run schools of over 2,500 children with probably the same number of teachers as a school of 800 in the UK.

Blown away with the wind

A couple of weeks ago, I crossed over on the road, with both of us on Moto Taxis, with the Headteacher of the school I was about to visit and he told me a couple of weeks later he had been called to help out in a school where the roof had been blown off. 15 classrooms with no roof and the school is still running!!!!

Headteacher's Office Ceiling

So, we spend four days a week in schools visiting on a weekly and fortnightly cycle and one day in the office preparing and writing reports. All our travel is on foot or mainly pillion on moto taxis over pot-holed red roads. A few weeks ago I had to get off five times because the bike wouldn’t go through the mud and on the 5th time the bike toppled over and we could only right ourselves with the help of a couple of passing villagers. We are shaken about, jostled, twisted and bumped up and down for up to 50 minutes at a time each way. However, we both have excellent moto drivers who really take care of us, although Mary desperately wants hers to go faster. I’m satisfied with plodding along as I value my life too much!!!!
Secondary in Groupe Scolaire
Out and about in the schools

Looking at the Muzungu

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Hi, hope your enjoy reading about our adventures in Rwanda. We'd love to hear from you. Stephen and Mary