EE president Thomas Baumann and Mehoni School Project leader Lesley Stephenson have arrived safely back in Zurich this week. As so often in the past, they appear to have taken rain with them to Mehoni and Hagereselam – at least that’s what the local people are starting to believe! The day after they arrived, the small rainy season (which hadn’t eventuated for the past 2 years) started almost a month earlier than usual. Mehoni had full rain showers for several days which served to refill the school rainwater collection tanks substantially, and greatly please the local farmers.
A lot of activities took place during this visit, including the orientation meetings for the Triple S (Self-Supporting Schools) Rainwater-Collection Project. This project has been initiated by Lesley and is strongly supported by the local government and the other schools involved in the pilot project. We will be explaining this sub-project in full at our information apéro on May 18th (open to the general public), but basically it will allow us to share the vital committee and rainwater/garden components of the Lemlem Baro School Project with 5 other schools in the Raya region. This will add considerably to the sustainability of the entire program, as additional focus and pressure on these schools will be applied to ensure that creating school resources for maintenance purposes becomes a top priority.
In addition, meetings at government level took place, and Lemlem Baro had it’s semester prize-giving last Saturday, always a very large event at the school. And there was an exciting presentation. The Raya-Azebo Bureau of Education (BofE) with whom we have excellent relations received a long hoped-for gift. Due to scant resources, BofE members have had to rely on public transport to make their school visits to over 170 schools in the region! Even when there is a local bus, they are dropped somewhere on the main road and have to walk literally for hours on the dirt roads to reach some of the schools. But not any more. An EE donor has covered the costs of a sturdy motor bike which can carry two Bureau members to the schools outside Mehoni in a fraction of the time, saving wear and tear and allowing for better school supervision. Bureau members are thrilled and have formally agreed to use the bike only for BofE business.
We will shortly begin our compound consolidation project at Lemlem Baro School, a next and crucial step designed to protect our new school buildings from the effects of heavy rain and flash flooding during wet seasons. A new girls’ toilet block is also foreseen in this next construction phase.