It’s dawning on us that we have less than a week to go. Four days to be exact. Inauguration is on Friday and departure Saturday. That kind of imminency brings home how accustomed we have gotten to life here and, as the people in the village say, how much we have become part of their landscape.
As much as former volunteers were part of their landscape, but for longer periods. Just last night, we heard a man rattle off the names of the original volunteers – Howard, Etienne (Steve), Gerard…. He said he was in his last year of primary school in 1965 when the group of volunteers came. They worked quickly enough for him to spend his last few months in the new school. We also hear a lot of the fisheries volunteers named Penny and Tony and John King.
Of course, the end of our time here also means a mad rush to finish, with a dose of panic thrown in. There’s still a lot of painting to be done, windows and doors on the teachers houses, the terrace/rain catchment in front needs completing and then there’s the whole site clean-up. We did have a young man come by with a gas powered weed-whacked to attacked the overgrown grass. Positive thinking leads me to believe we will have a presentable final version of a school by Friday, with perhaps a few more odds and ends to be completed. As you can see from the photo, there’s quite a bit of clean-up.
One additional piece of work was added to our plate last week when we learned of a 1960s era Peace Corps school that had lost its roof during a violent storm (see previous update on rainy season!). Drew and Floriant drove over to assess the damage and found a remarkably well-preserved school, but that had lost about 30% of its roof. We are hoping to arrange transport to have some of the excess wood and old roofing from the Sam school shipped over for a temporary fix. Then maybe we have a longer term project for next year all lined up.
Over in Doumandzou, they are acutely aware of the deadline coming up. Paul and Pooh managed to extend their departure by a few days to help finalize the latrines. Late a
Saturday cement pours for the apron and lentils above the doors will allow Dick and Paul to focus on roofing this week. The world map is complete and Pooh and Joan are working on stencils for outside of school.
It’s early morning, and the sounds that were once so foreign have faded into the background. The roosters and chickens, the loud voices of greetings and getting ready, the occasional car, the strange bird calls. Sometimes it gets so quiet that you can hear the wind. There’s a lot we will miss.