The school born from plastic bottle tops

The school of Bourra is new and was built thanks to plastic caps. It opened last year after being entirely renovated by the parish of St. Anne. I went there today with don Giuseppe and don Mauro to meet eight teachers who had to sign the contract for the new school year. School year that will start on 16 October. But of the state this school has nothing: it doesn’t funding and the teachers are supported by the parish. Is approximately half an hour by Jeep from the centre of Mare Rouge and during the year welcomes 200 children, from kindergarten (here called preschool) to cover the period of the six primary classes. Without this school, the children of the area would not have any teaching, because to get to the centre of Mare Rouge (where there is another Parish school which welcomes around 700 children up to junior high school) it takes nearly two hours by foot.
The parish has decided to invest in this renovation. How? “With the bottle caps collected in Italy,” tells don Giuseppe. Almost everything that has been collected has been able to provide the money for the renovation. The rest has been done by the men of the place, with their professionalism”. In all, a project by Pierangelo Brugnera, another volunteer, architect, who was been here since early August to pursue other projects. “The structure is in harmony with the territory, following the slope of the ground,” dds don Mauro, “but most of all the classes are not closed and dark, but ventilated and lively. This is very important. “
Now the school is operating at full capacity, for October all will be ready. I met two teachers after the signing of contracts and they are ready. “I grew up in Mare Rouge and to be able to teach fills me with pride because I am involved in my community,” tells Willams, Professor of Mathematics and Creole. The difficulties are not few because the distance is great for many children arriving from Col da Fer (half hour walk) or from farther away. **Especially when it rains, it starts late and students arrive full of mud**. But you can’t do anything, just adapt to the situation and do the best we can. “
Different conditions for a woman: “In kindergarten they treat the teacher more like a mother who looks after them,” tells Belem, a professor for 10 years now from Boura. But then we can make them understand that it is different. With this new school, life has changed a lot for us and for the kids. You can follow the lessons better and they are happier. They feel more like being at home. “
After spending the morning with professors, we return towards towards Mare Rouge. In the car I am amazed by the work put in place by the parish to give an opportunity to these children. I offer my congratulations to the two Don, in the end **they are almost a thousand children who have an education thanks to these initiatives**. They are happy, but with a regret: “They are only 12 percent of the kids that are in need”.
I ask for explanations, the numbers speak that Don Giuseppe and Don Mauro reel off: “Mare Rouge covers a vast territory, with hours of walking from one side to the other. There are perhaps 50 thousand inhabitants, and 65% are children and teenagers. Those who are not in school are in the homes or on the street. “