Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The 88th good thing about Lagos: The Heritage of God School

Our next stop on our AWC field trip was to a school that was started by a church congregation that recognized a community need. They saw many of the local children from families that couldn't afford school tuition just wasting their time without any education. At first when they started the school, they used the church meeting hall, but they quickly outgrew those facilities. They now have around 500 students. They have moved into the building that is still being completed. It is very rough concrete -- they plan on painting it eventually. The windows are open holes cut in the walls. There is no electricity. I didn't see any toilets, so I don't know how they handle that with the children. It would never be an acceptable facility in the States, but, for here, it seemed to be a well-run place. The classes were crowded, but the children were working quietly when they weren't disturbed by the visitors. The church started allowing free tuition for the students, but they found that parents didn't take the school seriously, so they started charging 2000 naira ($16) a term, with 3 terms a year. She said they do give scholarships if that is too much for a family to handle.

Here's the entrance to the church.

The school building is attached.

The stairways are a little scary -- they just got the railings installed -- I don't know how the children managed before they were there!

Water was leaking at a good rate out of the water tank next to the school.

This is the food serving area right outside the school's front door. Tomorrow the AWC is providing lunch here for the children. Today they are cooking big pots of stew with rice and with the member's donations of drink boxes, boiled eggs and crackers and rolls, they will serve a treat -- no trick -- Halloween meal (though I doubt these kids know anything about Halloween....).
The classrooms were in different configurations, but all the children were in their seats. In this classroom some of the children were responding to what the teacher was asking, and some were more interested in the white women peeking in the doorway.

Such cute little children!

When we came to their classroom door, these children stood and recited a little welcome rhyme for us. The children seemed very happy and neat. One of the senior missionary couples was telling me about their neighbor children and how this little girl came home from their local school with cuts from beatings on her hands from offenses like when her brother was late for school. They beat the kids even for things that are totally without their control. I doubt these children experience that kind of mistreatment. We brought some general school supply and assorted donations. The school representative said that what they really need is a bus. Many children live close enough to walk to school. But those that don't, the parents just find whatever transport they can manage. This past year one child fell off the transport (I don't know if it was a bus or an okada or truck) and was killed. The school would love to have a bus to minimize those risks by transporting the children. Unfortunately, the club can't help them with that.
Also a part of the church service is a free clinic for the local community. This was just a few small rooms at the back of the church. They do a lot of prenatal support -- the women give birth in these beds. There was a sick child in the clinic's crib. The clinic really needs donations of drugs and medical supplies. When I'm home at Christmas, I'm hoping to visit my doctors offices and see what extra samples and supplies they can send back with me -- they said anything would be so much appreciated.

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