Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Potomac Classroom Project Begins: Day One

At the end of the school day on Monday May 21, 2007 these young Red Rose children watched as the construction work began for a new classroom that will allow the school to expand next year and include a fourth grade class. The funds for the construction of this new classroom were raised in a lower school and upper school community service project by the students of Potomac School in McLean, Virginia as a gift of friendship to their peers in Kenya. Remnants of the old Red Rose Volkswagen Kombi school van that had broken down beyond repair lay on the path near the fence of the school as the site was cleared up for the assembly of the prefabricated classroom to begin.
The old school van was cut up to be sold for spare parts and as scrap metal, proceeds of which will go into other needs at the school such as the feeding program.
KQJ 831 -- The number plates showing the original registration of the old school van, a 1979 VW Kombi. The van had served the school as a shuttle for the smallest children who needed a ride to get to different parts of Kibera every day and for small school field trips between 2002 and 2004. It could no longer be repaired to run and stood dormant in the front yard of the school compound for the last three years. Without a school van, now all Red Rose children walk to school, many in groups or alone. The very youngest are accompanied by an older relative and picked up at the end of the day.
Mr. Ratemo, a local businessman and construction manager in Kibera, guides his fundis (Swahili for technicians/craftsmen) in laying out the site. See one of the existing small makeshift classrooms at Red Rose with a small window next to the red gate. Once the new classroom is opened next month, the Potomac volunteers will fix this old classroom up and make it a much better space of teaching and learning. The prefabricated high density metal walls of the new classroom are raised. In the next month, expect to see progress as the roof, floors, interior wall panelling, door, and glass windows are all added to this basic starting shell.

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