Half of us had our first night at RUSH. We arrived yesterday and after walking into town we took a Budda-Budda back to Lucy’s (Not sure of the spelling but its a bicycle with a seat on the back). Great experience around all the pedestrians and potholes!
After our evening worship we collapsed into bed. But we were still coming to terms with the toilet (a hole in the ground) and the idea of washing in a bucket in the morning. Anxiety levels quit high for some!!
The night was punctuated by the chorus of dogs barking and animals (not sure if mice, rats, birds or other creatures scratching around!!
Morning came and we were all safe.
Ben was up and around. Taking today carefully to make sure he gets well. He is drinking and eating and moving but still weak.
The children had left at 5am for school (those of school age please note!!!). We got up at a much more leisurely 8am and went for tea and coffee bread and eggs for breakfast. It was then off to the school at about 9.30 to see everything going on there.
After the usual obligatory bus ride over very bumpy roads we made it to the RUSH academy. We had an amazing welcome from over 300 children at the school. We were sung to and they re-enacted the Parable of the prodigal son. It was all very moving.
We were then shown around the school. We saw the new classrooms being built and how they were now making their own bricks by using mud from the foundations. Some of the statistics that they are grappling with are quite frightening. 18% are orphans, 35% only have one parent, 15% are infected with HIV/Aids.
They have become known to accept children where HIV/Aids is in the family and so they often get children with both parents coming along and everything seems fine and then a parent ends up in hospital and dies of Aids. They can’t throw the child out but it does mean that they end up with one fewer fee-paying child. Their costs are about 1200 pds a month and they are always struggling to make up the amount.
We saw the water pump (and tried it out!). The disease rate has dropped dramatically since they now have clean water.
One interesting idea that they have at the moment is to get their maize grinder (Posh O Mill) up and running which would allow them to grind their own maize flour and sell some and use some for the school. Currently they only have electricity via a generator. It would require 600 pds to connect to the mains. Currently they are spending large sums on the petrol for the generator (and prices are going up!).
Lunch was great (see the pics of preparation!!!) and actually very tasty.
We went round all the classrooms and were serenaded and had poems read to us. Some were very touching and others dealing with major issues such as HIV/Aids. The school is doing very well. In fact it has had the best results of 56 schools in the district! They are hoping for even better this year!
There are over 60 children boarding in the school although the dormitories are VERY cramped. Indeed some of the teachers are sleeping in the school (including the head) on mattresses around the place. They are looking at having some metal shipping containers installed to have a place for teachers to sleep!!!!
Lots of other plans to come. Will update tomorrow.