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Bamako. Final Day. Visit to the school. Ecole Privee Youchaou, Kalabankoro

Bamako Travel Blog

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convoy to school

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.

arriving at the school
It caused quite a scene with the locals and It did feel good to get the attention. 

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.

  I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a chance to hand out the school supplies personally.  I wanted to explain what we had bought over, so I found the headmaster and had a lovely talk with him.  He was a very genuine man and it was so obvious to see how grateful he was. 

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.

Thank you very much for visiting us. Thank you for bring us all these items this yera too. I am sending you this email on behalf of the whole population of Kalabankoro, schools, kindergardens, women's associations, widows' association, individuals and parents of students and on my behalf. We are very happy to send you this email to express you all our satisfaction. It was a great pleasure for us to have you in my school and in the community of Kalabankoro this year, too. Thank you very much for spending your money, time and using your cars to come and visit us and give us plenty of presents every year. This is a great sign of friendship, love and means for us that your committed to help us fight poverty. For you these presents are small but for us they have very big values.
As you know most of these students parents cannot afford two meals a day for their families let alone buying school supplies or note books for them. But because of your various contributions and supports and other donors and partners, this school is among the best schools in Kalabankoro with about 70 to 80% of its students coming from very poor families or orphans. Surpringly, poor children are attending one the best schools in Kalabakoro of which many people are jalous now. This is a second aspect making the difference my school and the others beside the sponsorship. I really appreciate you various contributions and they are key to the sustainability of this school. For instance, this year we have another big partner who brought us 20 laptops and helped us get Internet connection for them.
typical classroom
The printer you brought us last year is serving this room now including some of the computers brought by the Samsung groups last year. I cannot list all the direct benefits of your donation on my school and students and the indirect benefits are what we give to other schools, people in the community and parents of students. Your donations have big values for us in the school, for the whole community in general because every body gets hi/her share. Students and their parents are very happy to receive your donations. Every year the number of people coming to see me to get something from your presents is growing increasingly. As a testimony, I am attaching pictures of other beneficiaries of the supplies and items you gave my school. There are 15 associations and schools whom I gave some supplies or good or clothes this year compare to 6 last year.
The pictures illustrates individuals, leaders of associations or students of my school and the street kids, etc. Below is the list of some beneficiaries:
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.
I distributed food stuffs, clothes to women's associations and poor families in the neighborhood as I did last year. School supplies and other items are distributed to schools and kindergardens.
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.

 

travelman727 says:
Fantastic blog, John :-D
Posted on: Mar 19, 2011
tvillingmarit says:
Hi John. I have been following your tour to Kalabankoro, you`r ups and downs, car troubles and stomac troubles. And now when you have reached your goal I`m speakless. Bless you my friend.
Posted on: Apr 27, 2008
Lonelytravelerwin says:
Thanks for sharing the letter. It's great to see the kids using the computers and keeping up to the modern technology. Also the nice school packs...great stuff!!
Posted on: Apr 27, 2008
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convoy to school
convoy to school
arriving at the school
arriving at the school
typical classroom
typical classroom
register
register
computer suite
computer suite
total concentration
total concentration
Muralof the rally painted by the c…
Muralof the rally painted by the …
school packs i made up
school packs i made up
our donatiions. Just about made it…
our donatiions. Just about made i…
donations. who gets the bike.
donations. who gets the bike.
families and donations
families and donations
with some of the children
with some of the children
Local team from near stavanger. Hi…
Local team from near stavanger. H…
Toys donated by Early Learning Cen…
Toys donated by Early Learning Ce…
meeting the Headmaster
meeting the Headmaster
Parents of the children
Parents of the children
geography lesson
geography lesson
speech by Andrew, rally organisor
speech by Andrew, rally organisor
waving goodbye as we left
waving goodbye as we left
9,078 km (5,641 miles) traveled
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photo by: johnyb66