Bamako. Final Day. Visit to the school. Ecole Privee Youchaou, Kalabankoro
Bamako Travel Blog› entry 22 of 22 › view all entries
Today is the day that I have been thinking of for so much of the trip. We are finally visiting the school on the outskirts of Bamako. I have spent many evening making up school packs to hand over. Each one contains exercise books, rulers, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpener and geometry sets. We also had some boxes of toys, clothing and football shirts. The school takes in children from the poorer sections of society and also rescues street children and child labour.
It was an early start to the day after our end of rally party the night before. I was a little hung over and dehydrated but there was no way we would miss this visit. We all gathered at the hotel and I guess there was about 20 vehicles in convoy driving through Bamako to the school.
As we got closer to the school, the area became a litle more run down and the roads deteriorated quite a lot. But as we finally turned the corner into the school, I was amazed at the site the greeted us. The road was lined with children of all ages singing and dancing. They were waving balloons and clapping us all the way into the compound. There was a band playing local music and it just made a great atmosphere. It was fantastic and made us feel very special. Well worth the 10000 km journey. We parked up the jeeps and everybody unloaded the various gifts. There was a lot of school supplies, but also food and a mountain bike. I could not work out how they would decide who gets the bike!!.
We were allowed to walk around the school at leisure and go in and out of the classrooms. The kids were brilliant. So funny and cheeky. It was very humbling and made me realise just how easy we have it back home. It was great to see them in the computer room. This was equipped by Hungarians from the previous years rally. Before that they only had one computer for the whole school. This was the only room where there was no messing around or talking. They take their time in this lesson very seriously and make the most of the computers.
A couple of Hungarians gave a geography lesson in the forecourt and then there were a few speeches from Andrew, the rally organisor and the headmaster and local Mayor. After a couple of hours the teams started to disperse and head off.
The school has now become one of the best supplied in the area and has more than it actually needs. I was pleased to see the letter from them telling how they have distributed many donations to the local communities. It would be so easy for them to hoard but of course that is not the way they think. I have copied the letter from the school below.
Good evening dear Andrew and competitors,
How are you? I hope every body returned safely back home.
1 Public school of Kalabankoro
2 Ecole Marcel Pare
3 Ecole Clementine
4 Jardin d'enfant les Hogon
5 Ecole Privee les Hogon
6 Ecole Publique de Niamana
7 Ecole Communautaire de Konosso
8 Ecole Privee les Mains Unies
9 Jardin d'enfants les Mains Unies
10 Jardin d'enfants Jigiya
11 CAP de Kalabankoro
12 Association des Femmes Veuves de Kalabankoro
13 Association Lumiere de Kalabankoro
14 Association Feminine ADFEAE, Kalabankoro
15 A group of 35 street kids and coranic students I am helping how to read and write French.
These are the beneficiaries of this year although presents we received this year are smaller compared to last year.
Your coming is like a big feast in our community now. It has such a reputation that every body talks about it. I really thank every body, every individual who contributed to send us something. I am sending a special thank to the Director of Red CROSS Hungary for his special gift. I want to tell every body that your contributions are really making a difference here in Kalabankoro. Thank you very much and see you next year.