The team has arrived safely in Mekele and we are thrilled to be jumping into our service and working hard. Since Monday of this week was a holiday in Ethiopia, school was out so we rearranged our schedule to start our week with the new flooring project at Metekel primary school. The school is home to hundreds of children most in grades kindergarten to 4th grade. There are approximately 60-70 children in each classroom where teachers and students have been learning in rooms where the floors are covered in dust.
The school was established in 2007 as a collaboration between the local government and local community. The current facility is made up of a few old government buildings as well as more recently constructed classrooms. Unfortunately, due to limited funding the second floor of the school was never built and the classroom floors have never been finished, leaving construction dust, dirt and stones in its place. It is astounding to know the children have been learning day in and day out in these classrooms. Our team has certainly noticed the dust in just the 2 days we have been working in the rooms.
Yesterday we began by removing all of the desks, tables and class projects from each classroom and loading them in a nearby storage unit. It was a lot of work, but we’ve had three local laborers helping out who became close friends. After the classrooms were removed we began knocking out the loose mud, dirt and rocks on the existing floors. This is hard work and done with hammers from our hired masons and some extras we purchased as a team to speed up the work. The team has been amazing working hard to haul sand, cement and knocking out the existing floors in preparation for the masons who will lay new concrete. They have the blisters to show it!!! Our hired local masons have also been working hard since yesterday carefully measuring, laying and smoothing each layer of flooring. By today’s end two classrooms have been finished with just three to go! This is going to make a huge difference for the children and staff at Metekel.
Today was especially exciting as the students were back in school and definitely eager to welcome the work crew. It’s been fun to see their excitement for the new floors. We are thankful as well for the incredible teaching staff who have been gracious enough to teach outside in the beautiful sun as we work on their classrooms and even taking time to treat us to a traditional coffee ceremony and homemade sandwiches to end our day. We love giving back to this community and it is so wonderful to have returned after my trip this summer to complete this project they had so eagerly shared about 6 months ago. I am blessed to be a part of missions for this reason and so thankful for the incredible team who is helping to make this school’s dream a reality.
Looking forward to keeping everyone updated as our week of service in Mekele continues. Until next post….