Thursday, April 15, 2010


The electricity went out for the afternoon, and it wasn't coming back as early as I thought.  So David (my colleague at Mtwara Tech) and I went to "Dubai," our favorite restaurant.  Mid-meal, I get an urgent call from Kyungbok, my colleague at Saba-Saba to help her.  Turns out she was installing new blackboards in the classrooms.  Well, install isn't the right verb.  She was painting new blackboards.

Each volunteer is allowed to use upto $1000 a year on whatever that would help their work.  Many teachers order books, calculators, and stationary.  Most of the items have to be "perishable," although the definition is rather flexible.  Kyungbok decided to buy materials for new blackboards, and using only $300 of the allocation.  Using the blackboards here is quite an exercise.  It's really hard, and thus, hurts the wrists.  There are many cracks and small dips that make writing difficult.  Thus, Kyungbok used the money to buy some cement, wooden board, and paint.

And the leading technician is actually a 4th year student, whose family enterprise is closely related to this stuff.  In many ways, the school here operates like a military unit.  The students, much like soldiers, act as free labor for the school.

After finishing 2 blackboards, I was as black as my students, and I ended up using twice as much water than usual to clean myself (oh the pain..).  There're 16 more blackboards to go, and I foresee terror, but as for now, I think this is a good development project that only costs $300.

1 comment:

Narae said...

Having read your other posts, I'd love to meet your friend Kyungbok. She sounds so amazing. :-)