Day 13 – Working at Shimbet school – Kirsty
Today we returned to our early starts and were up for breakfast at the hotel at 7. It seems that in the Ghion hotel all they have is eggs, eggs or eggs…so safe to say the choice isn’t too difficult! That said they are the most amazing eggs. It was a little bit of a struggle to wake up this morning as our beds are surprisingly comfortable and sleeping in a mosquito net is actually quite cosy rather than claustrophobic.
After breakfast we all headed back to the school to begin an intensive day of cleaning. At the school we met some of the students from the Centre. Shimbet School is completely different to anything you see at home. We certainly won’t be complaining about having history lessons in portacabins when we go back to school! When we started the day, 3 classrooms looked ok while the other 9 were in various states of disrepair. The rooms were full of broken desks and the classroom walls were covered in dust, graffiti and pieces of paper. It was evident that we had a lot of work to do!
To start work, we needed cleaning supplies. so in groups we headed into the market with two students from the Centre with each group. It’s amazing how quickly everyone is getting into the swing of things in Bahir Dar; we hailed our own Bhajajs and got to the market ourselves. The market in Bahir Dar is completely different to the one in Gondar and we all felt much more at ease without people hassling us at every turn. Having the students from the centre with us was also really helpful. Not only did we get the the ‘habasha’ (local) prices for our cleaning supplies, we also got the chance to get to know some of the students a bit better. The boys are the more confident out of the group as the girls are quite shy, but they’re all really friendly and I think we’ll all become good friends. Their English is fantastic too!
So after picking up our cleaning supplies (along with a cheeky stop to the firenge shop thanks to Matthew, where we stocked up on goodies; we hopped back in a Bajaj to the school to get to work. We spent the rest of the morning doing the basics: cleaning the walls, mopping the floors and scrubbing off graffiti. Our cleaning skills were put to the test, but we made a great start and it was fantastic that everyone got stuck in so quickly (but sorry Mam, I’m not sure if these skills are transferable for cleaning my bedroom!). By lunch, the walls were noticeably cleaner. We were free to wander Bahir Dar for lunch so some of us set off in search of a juice bar. Instead, we found samosas, which are just deep fried pastry stuffed with lentils over here. But of course, Katie and I were still a bit peckish, so Samachu took our group to a juice bar where we had our first spriss (a drink made up of 3 different juices: mango, avocado and guava, which is so refreshing!) and plates of homemade chips (tasty, but not as good as yours Dad!). We made a pact to return to sample the rest of the menu. The afternoon was spent scrubbing windows and walls and preparing to paint the next day. A particularly enjoyable task was washing the floors with Mr McGrah directing the group’s efforts; his repeated cry of “just one more sloosh folks!” as he poured buckets of water onto the floor were heard around the school! We packed up for the day at 4 after an impressive effort, we’ve already made a difference to the school and it’s something everyone can be proud of.
After a couple of hours to relax and get rid of the dust and dirt from cleaning, we went out for dinner at Cafe Wude, a restaurant across the street from the hotel. We returned to the hotel full and with slightly burned taste buds following some spicy food and we went to bed tired out from a day of cleaning.