My principal preoccupation during this tear’s visit-March to April-was with the completion of the two classroom and store room block for the Kindergarten pupils in Anyako. Due to Togbi’s illness following my return to England in April 2011, the building work had stopped. However, with my return this year, Togbi assembled a new team comprising builders, carpenter and painter and work began forthwith. The KG (Kindergarten) pupils had remained loyal to the school in spite of having nothing but a verandah to sit beneath. During last year’s rainy season they had squeezed in with the older pupils in their already dismal and crowded classrooms and, as soon as the rains were over they were back on their verandah. Their only resource has been a teacher and an old blackboard and easel and they have spent hours there just sitting and repeating whatever the teacher told them. One of the aims of the KG curriculum is to teach English so that the children can participate in the education programme from Primary One as all the teaching is henceforth in English.
The Kindergarten and store room block in early March 2012
During my stay in March, Togbi was on the phone to his brother every day ascertaining what the next day’s order would be in terms of materials. Everything is bought as the need arises as there is nowhere to store anything on site. Some days it was roofing sheets, another it was so many pounds of nails then a trip of sand and so on. It was not just a matter of ordering the goods but also transporting them to the site. In an attempt to keep costs to a minimum, Togbi would try and find some people who were crossing the lagoon to Anyako and put the bits and pieces in their canoe as making a special trip to Anyako by road is expensive. In the main, the system worked well and impressed upon me the fact that I could never have achieved any of this without Togbi. His knowledge of the place, the people and the system is invaluable.
Our aim was to complete the building so we could hand over the keys the day before my departure for England on April 3rd.. We almost made it; the shutters were not all in place and whilst the floors were ready to be screeded the builders could not secure a delivery of water (Anyako has no water supply) and so were unable to make the necessary cement. This, in turn, meant that the painter could not finish but these were minor details in the overall scheme. As I write this on April 28th I know from Togbi that everything has been completed and that the children are now in residence, just as this year’s rains are about to arrive!