A prom­ise kept

Re­tired teach­ers fundraise to build two class­rooms in Zam­bia

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

Re­tired teach­ers fundraise to build two class­rooms in Zam­bia.

Peter and Co­rina Bolo head to Ethiopia early next month for their fourth in­ter­na­tional Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity build in six years.

Be­fore the North­port res­i­dents get there, they will stop in Zam­bia to make good on a prom­ise they made while on their se­cond Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity build.

While the Bo­los were in Ka­manga, Zam­bia in Fe­bru­ary 2013, the re­tired teach­ers vis­ited a school in the CBTO (Com­mu­nity Based Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis/HIV Or­ga­ni­za­tion) com­pound.

There were just two class­rooms and the most ba­sic of re- sources.

“One class­room had all th­ese plas­tic lawn chairs stacked to the side. That’s all they had, and the other class­room had the old­fash­ioned one-room school­room type desk with two to three kids to a desk and nowhere to put books, but there were no books to put away, any­way,” Peter re­calls.

Ex­cept for a small black­board in each room, there was noth­ing on the walls. Much of the learn­ing was done by Rote, mem­o­riza­tion and rep­e­ti­tion.

“There were 200 kids in this school. What they did, was, the kinder­gartens and Grade 3s went to school from 7 to 10 ev­ery day, and the Grades 1 and 2 went from 10 un­til 1.”

The up to four years of school­ing was all many of the chil­dren will get.

Co­rina said they had ob­served the start of two more class­rooms, but the work had been at a stand­still for two years, with lit­tle hope of the pro­ject mov­ing for­ward.

“I re­mem­ber turn­ing to the di­rec­tor of CBTO,” Peter said, “and say­ing, ‘We are go­ing to go home and try to raise the money for the school,’ and then we took two steps and turned around and said, ‘No, we are go­ing to go home and raise the money,’ so that 200 more kids could have at least a Kinder­garten to Grade 3 education.”

The Bo­los, and three Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity vol­un­teers from Ottawa, teamed up to raise the $33,000 needed to com­plete the two class­rooms.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished. They’ve sent $35,000. Many school and church groups con­trib­uted.

The money was chan­neled through the Stephen Lewis Foun­da­tion of Canada.

The Bo­los, who are look­ing for­ward to see­ing the two new class­rooms and new wash­room fa­cil­i­ties when they ar­rive in Ka­manga on Jan. 26, have given at least 70 pre­sen­ta­tions on what they wit­nessed in Ka­manga.

They have also kept the fundrais­ing go­ing and will be able to take the CBTO teach­ers shop­ping in the capi­tol of Lusaka for ap­prox­i­mately $2,500 worth of school sup­plies. They are also pack­ing maps and other teach­ing charts to post on the bare walls.

While the Bo­los will do any­thing CBTO asks of them dur­ing their four days in Zam­bia, Co­rina con­fesses tak­ing the teach­ers shop­ping is their dream job.

“The best thing about that is they will be able to buy what they know they need.”

ERIC MCCARTHY/TC ME­DIA

Co­rina and Peter Bolo show a sam­pling of the school sup­plies they are pack­ing for visit later this month to a school in Ka­manga, Zam­bia.

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