Rowena Bragg, deputy principal at Katoke Lweru School, shares her feelings about some memorable times
Often the days here are like those at home – not that they aren’t full, but they go by in what has become the expected rhythm. Even the diversions are factored in, such as random power cut-offs. But then some days come along and, for some reason, often to me unfathomable, they stand out.
Two days last week were like that. Thursday morning started with the normal assembly and staff devotion/communication. I was called to the office for a girl who was burning up, straining to breathe. I put her in the recovery position while Sid (headmaster) got the car. She became unresponsive but revived at the clinic while they were putting in a drip. (She had malaria, but will recover).
I returned to school to find Beatrice and her 16-year-old daughter, Doreen, waiting. Yuda, our Academic Master, said I really needed to see them. Pastor Enock, the school chaplain who is from their village, told me their story. Beatrice’s husband died from AIDS, their five other children have also passed away. Beatrice is HIV -positive and on ARV treatment; miraculously Doreen has escaped the virus. She completed Form 2 last year and was being supported at school by her uncle, a policeman. Last year he was sent to a neighboring area, Karagwe, to catch elephant poachers but was shot and killed. There seemed no prospect of Doreen completing her education. It was one of those moments that come along much too often. In my office the pastor, Yuda and I all had tears in our eyes. Beatrice had a dignity and faith that defied her horrific circumstances and Doreen had a hope that to me was brave.
Of course we allowed her to join our school and we await a sponsor. Then followed a very sick boy, Alistedes, who joined the school this year. He is an orphan whose guardian is his disabled older brother. Their other brother is a poor farmer who tries to support them, as well as his own family. Alistedes is a sad boy who cannot yet trust that this opportunity at school will not disappear; a fair enough concern. He is another who needs a sponsor.
Due to the goings-on Peter and I had to postpone a visit to the home of one of our students, Watson. He is 27, not married but responsible for a household of 13. It includes his grandmother, his sister and her two children, an orphan who has lived with him for seven years following the death of his mother, and now three more children whose parents have been forcibly removed back to Rwanda by the Tanzanian government.
Then along came Friday. We visited three villages to see families who had applied for sponsorship. Each student had only one carer, most struggling to support many children while living in mud and thatch houses, most not weatherproof. It’s a sobering way to spend time. But village views are often magnificent and as you walk through them there are sounds of playing and chatter and people passing time at the small dukas (shops). It’s a communal and social way of life, albeit hard.
However, along with all of this there are moments of sheer beauty. On Friday morning we walked outside to see a hornbill sitting on the rail; the moon and night sky are always amazing. Views of the lake make us stop and wonder, as does watching workers take such pride and joy in what they are doing. We have just expanded the library and all involved in the renovation worked so hard. It looks fantastic. Everyone, including Peter and I, are proud of it.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 19:02|
Written by Katoke
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 00:00
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