Visiting a school in lalibela

Trip Start Jul 31, 2007
Trip End Dec 15, 2007

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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Saturday, October 6, 2007

For me (Amy), the highlight of our time in Lalibela was visiting the local school.  On our first day with Mario we saw school children on their way home so I asked if it might be possible to visit a school in the area.  He agreed to call the principal and take us as his tip to us.  He brought us to his own Elementary school and took us to talk to the principal.  I wasn't at all prepared to get to speak with him so I felt a little dumb not having more questions, but it was really interesting to hear about teacher training and information about the students.  The small school actually served 3,000 students *about 70 per class in the upper grades*, and to fit everyone in the school worked in shifts, with half the students and teachers coming in the first four hours of the day and half coming in the second.  After speaking to the principal we went to observe two kindergarten classrooms, a new addition to the school funded through a charitable organization named Plan Ethiopia.  Being able to see an age group I am so familiar with in such a different setting was so interesting and eye opening (not to mention the kids were absolutely adorable and so sweet).  It was amazing to see how attentive a lot of the students were, many being 4 or 5 years old, but so sad to see how little the teacher had to work with.  She really was doing an amazing job with what she had (hand drawn ABC's and number charts), singing lots of songs, plus she was so patient with the kids who did all the funny things that all little kids do (like crawling under the table in the middle of a lesson).  We even watched the two classes play their own version of duck duck goose outside, and I have to say, the school did have an amazing view of the mountains!  Seeing the school really made me grateful for all the support and supplies I know I will have teaching back in the U.S., no matter how poor the district, and left me wanting to really do something to help the school.  One of the teachers and I traded mail and email addresses so I hope to remain in touch with the school.
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