Me at Lucy's Wedding. The sun does shine in England!

Me at Lucy's Wedding. The sun does shine in England!
Me still in England!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Story books

I should have posted this ages ago so ignore the date! Just four weeks before I left Nigeria I got a grant of 100,000 naira from VSO. It was a bit of a mad scramble but I managed to buy 500 story books from Macmillan at a special rate of 200 naira per book and out of my allowance I bought plastic crates to  pack the books in. The best part was taking the books to the schools! I had already funded schools in Ilorin, Asa and Oro so decided to take books to another LGEA called Moro which does not do as well as other areas. The schools are also linked to a university there where David, our Canadian friend works. He is trying to help the communities and got some children into schools by finding funds to buy school uniforms and pay the PTA levy. Despite the claim that all children have acces to education lots of children still don't attend school because of having to pay the levy and have a uniform which is compulsory.So I went with the SSIT to deliver the books. At each school a child came to collect them and take them to the teachers. All the teachers in Kwara have now been trained in the new reading methods so it was good to observe them in practice.

At the start of each literacy lesson pupils in these schools can now enjoy reading real story books with Nigerian themes.

Some of the children had never seen a book apart from a text book and we had to tell them that they were allowed to open them. The teachers did a good job of introducing the books to the children-this was part of the training. It was very rewarding to see the children so absorbed. Even the children who couldn't read much were able to take part as the books are graded to include books for beginners with lots of pictures.

The children are in groups. At a training one teacher asked what to do about children who couldn't read at all. My response would have been to ability group them but Philip had a much better solution-he said the ones who could read would help the ones who couldn't. It is so much better to let them come up with their own solutions. Their solutions are based on experience in teaching in Nigeria where 'ofsted' ideals have to be greatly modified-this has been a real learning curve for me!

I wish all children could have access to these books. I am hoping to continue raising money for this. Less than £1 would buy a book for a child. My dream is to provide books for every child in public schools in Kwara state.

Reading is the key to so many things and should be the right of every child.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Struggling on

Times have been very tough recently. Ilorin is no longer the peaceful city it was a year ago. There have been several killings inour area. One was a young girl on her way home from the night vigil at her church. We were also stopped by the police and warned not to walk down the road in the dark as a sixty year old woman had been attaked by men with machetes, raped and killed. We cannot go out at all now after dark so are virtually trapped in our house once we return from work. Also some thieves have taken parts form the local transformer so we have had long periods with no NEPPA at all. As a result we also have very little water! There are also a lot of traffic jams as filling stations are not releasing fuel in an effort to increase the price of fuel!
The photo shows Lea washing up by candle light! We are both very tired now. Sleep is a problem as we have a new neighbour with a very noisy generator so the choice is shut the window and sleep in the heat or listen to the generator!
Our wonderful tailor made Lea and I the matching tops!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Saying goodbye

First there was a party for the SSIT to celebrate their first two years. They had these outfits made for me and Lea. They also said some very nice things about us and were really appreciative of all we had done.
At our last meeting they sang 'Jolly Good Fellow'!
Bello, I will never forget your jokes-especially the eating game!
Lea with Adeoye
Then the woman by the office who helped me with my Yoruba as well as selling us scotch eggs!
Funmi, my office colleague and true friend. He kept me going through difficult times with his humour and chat.
Oozar, my neighbour became a great friend and I will never forget her and will really miss our chats.

Nancy and Dave, our Canadian friends. We enjoyed Dave's birthday party and it was good to meet some other expats!