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Being Grateful for Education

School starts this week for those ages 3 to 23 (and beyond).  When I was in the Village in the Congo, I went to many a school.  They welcomed me with a parade, told me how happy they were to have me, and then I visited their classrooms to answer any questions they wanted to ask.

Each school was set up the same.  Elementary schools were grades 1 to 6, High Schools were grades 7 to 12, and they had a local college that operated a little differently (mostly since there were so few people enrolled).  The schools had two buildings with three rooms for the 6 classes.  All of the 1st graders were in one room, 2nd graders in another, 3rd, 4th, etc, etc...  Between the two buildings was a large area with the principal's building in the middle (much smaller than the other two).

Depending on the size of the school, there were anywhere from 25 to 48 children in each classroom.  Pictures tend to be a better explanation, so see below:

What the average school looked like.  The walls were made
of sticks and clay mud, the roof of dried banana leaves.

These girls held the sign during the entire 30 minute
dance and song session they threw for me when we arrived.

The children would give some speeches to
share with me what they learn in school.

They would prepare a gift for me of fruit, chickens, and rice.

They came to great me from afar!

Inside one of the classrooms, they typically all looked like this.
Benches that were make shift and walls that were destroyed
by rain.  Chalkboards that were deteriorating. 

Each school had it's own sign.

I was never allowed in the sun without an umbrella ...
because of my very fair white skin ... I should probably
live by this notion at all times considering how many
times I've been sunburned this summer!
When I look back at my education and toward the future at my children's education - I will be grateful for the systems we have in place here in the States.

p.s. Since I wrote this post, I was listening to the Catholic Channel and this girl from South Korea was telling Lino how she goes to school Monday through Friday from 7am to 10pm and Saturdays from 7am to 6pm.  This goes from March to February.  Not much to do with this, I was just amazed!  She's trying to get into Medical School and must be in the top 0.5% of the country when she tests.  This year she was 0.6% and needs to 'get smarter' before the next test!


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