The plaque that will be unveiled at today’s inauguration reads that, “for future generations of students,” our group Encore de la Paix and the residents of Doumandzou completed the school renovation, 50 years after it was built by Peace Corps.
We heard a lot about students who had attended the school in the ensuing 50 years and had gone on to distinguished careers in medicine, in teaching, in politics. And we met a number in the village, like Pierre, who every other day would drop off the biggest, juiciest pineapples to keep our vitamin C balance fully charged.
So, the school will house more generations of students, for maybe another 50 years? We often caught young children wandering into the classrooms after hours, just to sit in the new desks. Our workplace was always full of children, watching and even helping out a little. They hovered around us at home, and filled our off hours with laughter and companionship. They helped pump our water and carry it back to the house. They brought us strange food, like the “longtroncs” that, much like big pea pods, housed sweet milky seeds. They prized the little LED keychain flashlights that our friend Chris Crane had generously given us for distribution in the village. One endless source of entertainment was the digital camera, with the instant photo capturing.
The photos below are of Vanelle sitting in the classroom, Mary showing Yuri, Stefan and Bogar their picture, and a group of karate kids, and if you look closely you can see a couple have made necklaces to hold their flashlights.