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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

from Claudine's diary...Eleke

With some help from France, we had been able to buy the official textbooks for their little school, some blackboards and the other didactic supplies. It was exam period, and we took the teachers and students by surprise in the middle of a lesson. Pierrot, who had visited before, made the most of the opportunity by giving another little presentation. I congratulated the girls who were in school. When it comes to large families, they do not have the same opportunities as the boys do. The atmosphere was joyful and the children sang songs to the glory of the bonobos, who had brought them these new books

We were caught off guard by a thunderstorm, so we stayed chatting in a large hut in the middle of the village. As usual I bombarded them with questions to be able to get to know them better. The headmaster had started the primary school by his own initiative, after four years the school welcomed over fifty children, split into four classes. Wanting to learn how to read, even his very young wife had become a student! This year, thanks to our help, the 5th and 6th classes were created following a request from the parents of a neighbouring village, Tokata.

They had already created a parents association. The monthly school fees are 1200 Congolese Francs (2 US$) per child, and the contribution for the four teacher’s salaries is of 1500 CF per term. Of course, only about 50% of the children in the village have the possibility of attending the school. The families have many children and the parents have very little income!

The headmaster dreamed of setting up an evening remedial course for those who wish to learn how to read and write in French. So there I was promising that we would try to help them, by giving them exercise books which are so expensive here to due the cost of transport.

Pierrot and I already had a plan for “bonobo exercise books” for the children in the area. Come on Dominique! Lets get a request for some funding so that these children need no longer write on small scraps of old paper!!