Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Tale of Two Schools


Capela Primary School

This post is not you may imagine about Jaime and Kezia's school in the UK, which sent a teddy bear to Jaime's old primary school and which I and my boss Ken presented to that school last week ... but between that school (officially the Escola Primaria Januario Gra├ža) in our local village Capela and the nearest primary school to my workplace in the village if Almas down near the coast (Escola Primaria Manuel Vaz).

Two or three years ago the Republic of China (more usually known as Taiwan with which we have diplomatic relations) renovated the primary school in Capela adding three toilets to an existing two as well as sinking a well withe electric motor driven pump.

Almas primary school with which my workplace has a "community aid" relationship (I personally have been working with them giving IT support to a computer we gave them). The school has no toilet. And which my workplace (which I must stresss is not an aid agency), through our local embassy, is trying to resolve this. But Capela primary school has no computer. Moreover, none of the five toilets at Capela works. First it was found that the well water was so iron-laden, it stained all the ceramics rust-red. Ok still useable, but not particularly aesthetic. Then, given the vagaries of our electricity company, the well pump motor burned up. The pressure of the water supply provided by the local utility company to the three taps in the school courtyard is insufficient to reach the washbasins let alone the lavatory cisterns.

Back when I worked for the Ministry of Education, myself and a colleague setup an English Language Teaching Centre to provide resources for the local English teachers - we even got the Americans to finance a photocopier and a Gestetner machine - but a ream of paper, a toner cartridge etc - fuck off! If it is not a big capital project to be shown off to the taxpayer/voter back home, bilateral donors are not interested.

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