Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beyond The Deficit

So today I discovered that the school is over 150,000 shillings in debt. That is just the debt from unpaid tuition fees.

I was introduced to the 11 most financially desperate cases in the school and their combined debt to the academy is 157,180 shillings.

This is the lowest the school could get the debt.

I watched the head teacher Mr. Barraza cut down a student’s tuition from the 10,000 shillings per term down to 8,000 by pretty much trimming more then the fat. He was legitimately just cutting down the number to the bare minimum and then below that.

I had no idea how in the red the school is. The USA could learn something about deficit spending from Father Patrick here.

The school does what it can to have these students pay as little as possible. People literally give timber or chickens or whatever they have to spare, which is practically nothing. It’s like living in the 1920s.

My mind is literally blown. I cannot imagine how the school is moving forward in this much debt. How are we feeding the students? How has father Patrick extended electricity to the teachers? How are we affording to do anything?

But here is the real question. What could be done without this debt? What would the school look like?

Here is an example of what some money could do here…

There are probably half a dozen cases of Malaria right now, and that is just the reported cases I would guess that at least 10 more people have malaria but don’t want to go to the dispensary due to cost. Also everyone here constantly has a cough or cold, is just getting over something potentially devastating illness or is just beginning one. Even I have a pretty severe cough and cold here.

This poses the question, why are we so sick?

My answer- our “showers”.

You might remember my blog about taking a bucket shower, well as terrible as it sounds for the students it is even worse as they cannot heat their water. So the students are constantly bathing with cold unclean water. On top of this the students have to either shower in the early morning, when I refuse to go out in less then my knitted drug rug and two pairs of pants, or at night, where I refuse to leave my room due to the freezing temperatures.

Imagine if you will dunking yourself in ice water, naked, standing outside in Chicago lets say in mid November.

So my guess is that’s why we are all sick. Not to mention we all clean our clothes, wash out utensils, brush our teeth etc. with the unclean water.

So what can we do? Well

500,000 Kenyan shillings would give us clean running water.

That would mean the kids could take hot showers. So instead of having to endure, and believe me it is a painful experience-I need a word better then endure, these bucket showers or just have to be obscenely grossly disturbingly dirty these kids could be healthy warm and clean.

This would bring the costs of the school’s dispensary costs down as well as improve the general hygiene of the school.

Not to mention that we could clean our things- clothes, plates, drinking glasses, with hot water instead of stagnant cold water.

That idea excites me more then the thought of a chicken nugget.

By the way the same goes for the teachers here. They clean in the same dirty water, take the same cold bucket showers and get just as sick.

We all live like this.

To be completely honest I think grades would improve with clean water. Self-esteem and feelings of self-worth would improve greatly.

Don’t believe me? Take bucket showers for a week and then see how you feel.

Can you imagine never having had the feeling of stepping out of a nice hot shower? Of being totally clean?

So perhaps if we can get this debt paid…

I salivate at the thought of what money could do here.

And too think that the school is spending itself into the deepest red rather then collecting these debts.

I’m actually kind of scared of the school closing. If this school closes a lot of these kids have no where to go, and I mean they are orphans with no homes. Not to mention that if they are forced to go to public schools they may as well drop out. Public school here is less then a joke.

Junior, the eight year old we pulled out of public school to put here, he couldn’t even read SWAHILI at a first grade level. I can read as much Swahili as him.

Please keep donating guys. Please ask everyone you know to donate. Please ask your family, your friends, your parents, your churches, your temples, your schools, your teachers, your cousins, your grandparents, your anyone to donate.

All my pendo (love) is back home.
I ache to see you all back at home.

1 comment:

  1. 500k shillings iiiis a little over $6,000 US
    that's not too much to ask for running water
    they would need $6,000 every year tho, yes?
    on top of the school debt?