From Clay to Classroom (47)

2015.11.12 18:44

MsVictoria Views:16

VI

Bricks, Wood, Sheet Metal

“All I know is that every time I go to Africa, I am shaken to my core."
– Stephen Lewis


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On Monday, November 29, Jacob came to the Outpost to discuss the roof framing. The timber had to be purchased soon. Hemedi was willing to follow the plans, but since some of the large timber sizes I specified were not available, Hemedi asked Jacob to convince me that it would be OK to use smaller ones. I decided to go along with it, to trust his experience.

My plan for the afternoon was for Deo to drive me to the bank and then to do some shopping for a generator, a drill, and perhaps a circular saw to help with the roof framing at both projects. I thought the equipment would be a good investment for future school projects. Jacob offered to accompany me on my errands on his way back to the Majengo site.

The banking was routine. We were lucky to bump into the manager’s assistant, Shabami Mbegu, when we entered. He announced he was the father of a new baby girl, his first child. He grinned when I told him how the timing coincided with Mathew’s baby, and then left to get our cash.

While waiting, I took the opportunity to discuss the logistics of the official school opening. Jacob explained that it would be a community celebration, with at least 50 children; that it would be nice to have food and drinks for everyone, and could I help out? Then there was the presentation of a gift to Teddy’s new school from my bookkeeper, Esther. Esther had forwarded a personal $100 donation (140,000 shillings) to be equally used for supplies for the two schools.

“What does Teddy think about the food?” I asked. “Can she prepare a list?”

“Already done; meat, rice pilau, and soft drinks and ice cream for the kids.”

I hesitated to ask. “What about the cost?”

“I priced it out already, approximately two hundred thousand shillings... but if that’s too much, we can lower—”

“—No, that will be OK.”

Next was Esther’s gift.

“What we can do,” I suggested, “is package up the supplies in a cardboard box with Esther’s name on it, saying, 'From your Canadian friend, Esther,' and you take a photo while I present it to Teddy. The photo would be a nice momento for Esther.”