THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
Ah yes, another school year is almost over!
But before it comes to a close, the dreaded final exams that mark the end of studying and the beginning of a fun-packed summer must be completed. The same can be said of the New Horizon School. Some kids, I think, would rather have a root canal than write exams. It’s interesting to see the different dynamics at play as the school year winds down.
The children are very adventurous. This summer break, so many hours will be spent in the local river and at the beach. It’s mango season, so others will be busy climbing mango trees looking for the ripest and juiciest mangoes. Occasionally, some will drop by the school looking to see if there is anything available to eat!
The tradition at the end of the school year is for a meeting to be called with the parents and for the teachers to then hand out the grade cards so parents can see the progress their children made over the last several months.
While the children are off playing and being adventurous, we will be busy repairing benches and desks, among other things, and preparing the teachers for the 2014-2015 school year.
Thank you all for giving the children in the Munoz community a chance for a better future.
It took a while but we were finally able to refurbish the bathroom at The New Horizon School. There is only one toilet at the school and it was in disrepair for a while, as the internal mechanism was broken. The hand basin was broken after it had fallen off the wall as the screws were loose.
Thanks to our donors/supporters we were able to replace both units in the bathroom as well as install the faucet in the Kitchen. These repairs enhance our chances of improving and maintaining a higher level of hygiene at the facility.
We also took the opportunity to install a faucet in the kitchen. This was long overdue as it eliminated the need to transport water into the kitchen.
It’s been five days since the last drop of water drained from the taps in Munoz. Those who are fortunate to have water tanks coped with the situation a lot better than those without. Although the water is not potable, it is used for sanitary purposes. We do have drums that we keep filled to be used when the water stops running for a day or so, but this is an extended period.
With the roof recently patched, the heavy downpour today was timely as we were able to fill our drums and put the washroom back into full usage.
Asked what his plans are for the summer, Fernando said that he will be an understudy to the local painter who sells his paintings to tourists along the beach. Well, I thought that I would give him an opportunity to practice so I commissioned him to do my portrait! Before he could get started, his friend Martin joined him, so they both took on the challenging assignment. Let me see … umm. Well, you be the judge!
There are a number of industrious individuals in the Munoz community who are always seeking a way of improving their standard of living. Throughout the community, there are little convenience stores where items can be purchased in various quantities and poundage. It is also not unusual to see the women with a basket of fruits on their heads, walking through the community. As far as economically possible, we purchase our fruits, and other supplies locally. The students are provided with a serving of fruit daily such as mangoes, bananas, melons, and pineapple which are grown locally. Our local fruit supplier is Mama.
The front steps were a hazard for our students and visitors entering and leaving the school as it was in the form of a steep ramp. Last week the hazard was eliminated as the steps were repaired.
The only consistency with the electrical service is the fact that it goes out mid-morning each day and returns sometime in the afternoon. When this happens we are unable to have use of the computers and internet service. We have purchased a generator which went into service this week. This has made a significant improvement as we are now able to have the use of electronic devices during the entire school day.
As a means of providing additional reading materials and exposing the students to local and international news in print form, we have begun providing the older students with the local newspaper HOY. This has been a very interesting journey, as the students are now participating in discussions on different issues that they have read.
It’s has been an interesting journey these past few days here in Munoz. Being here for an extended period one gets to experience life at the school a little differently. School starts at 7:30am with breakfast, we were not sure at first how this would work as we had moved the time forward from 8: am. The parents and guardians bought into the change during the parents/teachers meeting.
It was great to be back at The New Horizon School, this time for a surprise visit. The school was on a statutory week of vacation during the week of April 13th. There are signs of continued improvement in a number of areas. Interim report cards were handed out on April 27th during a meeting with the parents, and we had a chance to meet with them afterwards to discuss the progress of their children at The New Horizon School.
We have made a few administrative changes with the agreements of the parents; students are not allowed to leave the school during recess unless we have written consent form their parents. We have also banned the tour operators from entering the school and classrooms to distribute treats. They have been advised to leave the treats at the office for distribution. Entry into the school is also limited to official prearranged appointments, which is taking sometime to reinforce as this is a major culture change.
Three health nurses from the Ministry of Health visited the school and inoculated the children from kindergarten to grade four against Tetanus and Diphtheria. It was very interesting to watch as the normally most vocal kids were just crying their eyes out with fear of the needle.
This visit we also had the clothing and shoes distributed to the children and of course the neighbourhood came to see what they could get. It was not publicized so I am not sure how the word got around so fast. They were a few who were disappointed as the distribution was limited the students.