|The Nursery (and grade 1-2) Building|
The entire school consists of just two rooms in separate buildings. In one room, the nursery, grade one and grade two are taught. In the other room, grades 3-6 are taught. Each room is about the size of one large classroom in UK terms, but holds many more children. There are not enough desks or benches, so the children have to squeeze three to a bench with no space for their bags or exercise books. Some children in my class have to kneel on the floor to write on benches placed back to front. There is no room to walk about or play. In the nursery building, there is no electricity at all, whilst the big school has solar panels, able to power the school CD player.
There are no windows in the school, only spaces in the walls to allow light in. But when it is windy the breeze blows right through the classroom, messing up all the papers. When it rains the noise on the roof makes it impossible to continue class, and the roof leaks, forcing everybody to move their desks around to avoid the water.
In the afternoons, it gets very hot, and the children find it even more difficult to concentrate, especially when the noise from other classes in the same room distracts them. They like going out ot play football, but there is no fence around the school compound, and the school bell is too quiet, so it is hard for them to know when they should come back in again.
|Inside the 'big' school. Near Right is Ben's G5 classroom.|
The children in Chenapou speak two languages; Guyanese creole and their traditional Amerindian language, Patamona. However, in school they need to read and write standard English, which they find very difficult as it is like a foreign language to them.
|The School Kitchen|