Day 5 – Chiefs, snakes and ducks!
A delightfully random day! It’s begins with a remarkable ceremony held at our secondary school. Students offer a crescendo of songs. Well written and perfectly delivered speeches follow, detailing the achievements of our schools within the community. Then from out of nowhere we become honorary chiefs! Soon we are named Pa Almamy and Pa Santigi (big chief and slightly not so big chief) and are crowned in traditional clothing that helps us sweat a bit more in the heat! 🙂 its a brilliantly joyous moment to the hundreds of kids and teachers present! A heartfelt honour given, smiles broader than ever fill the rest of the morning!
It’s then back to work. I’ve organised for all of our now big kids (18plus) to come and map out plans for their immediate future. For most independent living has begun and it’s not at all easy! They still depend on us. We spend hours considering viable options. Situations range from moving back to their village to heading to university. All those early distant dreams of becoming a policeman or teacher are now their reality. It’s decision time. College, university, business start up, vocational training, gaining a drivers license, teacher training are all pathways we hope to be able to offer in the coming months with one last push to help them on their way.
Then the circle begins again. There’s a lack of younger children in our programs so myself and our social welfare worker Suzanne head off into the wilderness for the afternoon to villages we do not know in search of marginalised children living in deep poverty. Sadly passing through just 3 villages we find many. Parents lost and kids left stranded. A solitary small meal a day, the dream of school already ended so soon, bloated bellies, rags for clothes. It’s impossible to ignore, and although financially we shouldn’t help more, no doubt we will!
We leave one village having been given the gift of a duck for the start of an unexpected duck project.
On our homeward journey my motorbike narrowly misses (mm’s!!!!!) a green mamba bathing in the sun. My worst fear! Next we hear news from our Tombo project that a cobra is in the toilet!! Snake alert activated