I am sorry it has taken so long for me to write again but I have been busy publishing a children’s book on polar bears. I will give you a glimpse after I have finished writing about Africa 2012′. I will have 2000 copies this Friday Dec. 21st. Just in time for Christmas!
It is really wonderful as we are coming into our winter that I am able to look at the pictures of Zambia and immediately feel warm!
Frederick and Dominic were kind enough to take us to see the High school that Kufuku goes to and is in grade 10 now and grade 11 in 2013 and where Njamba will start grade 10 in January 2013.
The school year runs from January-March, then off in April. Then May-July and off in August. Then September to November and off in December.
Again if you click on the image it should enlarge.
There were maybe 10 students attending class in August when we were there but they had to pay the teachers to teach them. The government does not pay the teachers for summer school. I did meet the Head Master of the school and I told him I had tried to call the school to ask some questions. He told me that the land line for the school was disconnected and he had to use his cell phone for school issues.
I am guessing that there are not many pupils who attend during the school year as not many can afford to go.
The school has great potential, but as always, the lack of funds is evident.
We found out it costs 150,000KW ( 30.00USD) to go to school for one term. Therefore it costs 90.00USD to go for the year. Plus you have to pay for a uniform, shoes, food and accommodation if you need it.
It will cost 450,000KW (90.00USD) to board for one term. Therefore the cost is 270USD for one year boarding. Plus uniform, shoes and cell phone as that is how everyone communicates in Kalabo due to the lack of mail service. Even the cell phone network is iffy at best.
After speaking with Dominic I determined that Kafuku would help his father bring in the maize and rice crops and his father would give him some money for school. Kufuku then made his way somehow ( either walk or oxen & cart) to Kalabo which is if I remember correctly, at least an hours drive by 4×4, maybe two, on sand from his village to Kalabo. As I previously mentioned it took the family and Mualuka 6 hours by dug out canoe to get from their village to Kalabo and 10 hours home against the current.
So on our last night at Nyoka Guest House in Kalabo, Carl & I sat with Fredrick, Mulaluka and Dominic in the dark outside after dinner and made our presentations.
I told Dominic that we wanted to help send Njamba to high school. I handed him an envelope with enough money for Kufuku to go to grades 11 & 12 and Njamba to go to grades 10,11 & 12. We also gave Mualuka the equivalent of 100USD for being a great interpreter and link to my family in Zambia.
Dominic had also told me as we were walking the previous day that two of their four oxen had died. These animals are vital to getting the crops to market. Therefore Carl & I gave Dominic the equivalent of 300USD to buy a new oxen.
So I felt good! I had accomplished what I had come to do and started over one and one half years prior to today.
When I started sponsoring Njamba I had commited in my heart to seeing it through until the end. I wanted to pay for his whole education, at least through high school. I originally wanted to pay for Ngebe to go to high school as well but she became pregnant so I left her a note saying I missed seeing her and Mum but to keep on reading.
I found out in October from Fredrick that Ngebe’s baby died. I was heart broken for her! Apparently she was having a rough time and was depressed but she is coming out of it and getting better. Having a child is very important in an African family as the parents will have someone to look after them when they are old. There are no pensions or RSP savings, so your children are it.
I wish Ngebe all the best and I hope she continues her education. When I saw her in 2011 she was in grade 7 and 16 years old. I am sure I will continue to find out how she is doing through Fredrick.
We all hugged and went off to bed for our last night in Kalabo. I am sure that Dominic and the boys were ecstatic when they opened their envelopes that evening in their chalets. The next day he presented his appreciation in a wonderful speech which will be in the next blog. Sorry I have to go to bed!
Sleep well all!