George Matantilo, headmaster of Simakakata Community School, spoke to Volunteer Adam late last week to give us an update on what’s been happening since we visited him in January.
Headmaster of Simakakata Community School
I have some good news about the new classroom block, the builders are planning to start putting the roof on today, and if they do that, we should have the whole building finished by the end of next week.
If that’s the case, we’ll be starting to teach in there from the start of next term, which starts on 9th May (the Easter break begins on 8th April). It’s very exciting. Even then, though, some of our children still have to study in the old farmhouse, where the roof leaks onto their books when it rains.
It’s still raining here every day at the moment. But in general that’s a good thing. We had a serious drought in February. There were 21 days without any rain at all, and that’s a key growing time for annual crops. It caused a lot of damage in the country, scorching maize and killing it, but the farmers here have been lucky. They’re mostly alright.
The children are learning and playing well at school at the moment, too, and the new water pump is finally working. The children are going to plant a small garden near it now, to produce vegetables that we can sell to supply us with small items like soap for the toilets.
When Sonet, the young girl in Grade 4 girl who dreamt of being a teacher last time we saw her, was taken out of school by her parents, George fought hard to get her enrolled again.
They wanted Sonet to stay with her cousin somewhere else but I said it was not a good idea. She would have had to study somewhere away from home where they can’t keep an eye on her, in a village with no trained teachers.
I convinced them to keep her here where she can learn and study with us. Sonet is in Grade 5 now, and she is doing very well indeed.
I’ll be back with part two of my diary next term. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer please leave them in the comments section below. I’ll answer as many as I can.