Settling into the ‘Emirates’ Hope School building has not been without its challenges. Requisite construction techniques outpace the realisation; the deviation from original concept and design resulted in an internal latrine waste pipe terminating stubbornly in solid concrete. Releasing and rerouting the malodorous contents using pick axes were no impediment to teaching and learning. Nor was the damp in the lower semi-subterranean classrooms or the darkness. The bare first-fix electrical ceiling cabling dangling in ardent hope of a future formal connection with the shaky grid.
And yet the place buzzes with hope. Despite the challenges, enthusiastic and barely paid teachers work tirelessly with minimal equipment and failing plastic chairs. The sense of belonging and love is infectious and the breakfast porridge and cooked lunch incentify regular attendance and of course all this costs. Despite the soul funding school fees being kept to an almost payable $2.00 a week, they are difficult to collect in Kibera. The 40% payment success rate necessitates creative accountancy and daily chasing; a note home evoked a response from a desperate parent.
She simply penned “I can no longer cope, please take my child.”