Finally, we arrived at the Makuyu School in the district of Maragwa. We had traveled there to distribute gifts and uniforms to some of the students who had earned excellent grades on their exams, but our journey to the school had not been an easy one. We traveled about two miles on a muddy dirt road, crossing big water puddles. At times, the vehicle skidded sharply off the road. Several times, the tires spun around in place in the deeper mud. About halfway into the trip, I became concerned and questioned whether we were ever going to reach our destination.
Appearing unconcerned, the driver said that we had a 4-wheel drive car and would be okay. Just then, the car behind us got stuck in the mud and could no longer move. As that was our supply vehicle, we had to return to reload the equipment into our car in order to complete our trip.
When we finally arrived at our destination, the school appeared to be a long-abandoned building. There were bare stone walls covered by a roof, with crude openings for windows that had never been installed. At first glance, this did not look like a school at all. With the exception of one room, there were no real floors in this building. If I had stepped into one of the classrooms, my foot would have sunk into an inch of thick, wet mud.
We held our meeting outdoors, under a shady tree. One teacher, joking about the classroom conditions, remarked that the children had to wear gum boots to step inside. Actually, some children wore plastic bags on their feet to avoid the mud. Those without shoes simply ran around with muddy feet.
My host explained the reason for the muddy conditions. Apparently, the soil in this area is very poor. When it rains, the water leaks into the classrooms, making a mess of the floors. In order to install proper flooring, they would need to dig down deep enough to fill the floor with two feet of gravel, and then cover it with cement- a very costly project. Since there was no way to obtain the needed funds, it was impossible for them to provide real floors for their students.
I spent about two hours with these students and teachers. The crowded classrooms of the school provide education for about 930 children from the surrounding rural areas. The people from these villages are mostly poor and simple farmers. It was obvious to me how helpless they were without government assistance.
Since that trip, we have sponsored four classrooms. One by one, the muddy floors in these classrooms are being replaced with clean cement floors. We are grateful to Reverend Carol Lawson of the Center for Conscious Living in Moorestown, New Jersey for sponsoring one of the classrooms. Our thanks also go to Niven, Blue, and Pejuta from Mombassa Bed Canopy in Texas for contributing to this project and to all who continue to support and help Triple Gem.