A lot can happen in 12 months. The progress at Arise School in that time has been amazing. Whilst Ron has been out to the school twice in 2016, it is almost exactly 12 months since I (Sue) was last there in November 2015.
This was not my own choosing! It was due to illness caused by an organism that, when we last returned, unbeknown to me, took the opportunity of a free flight back to the UK in my body! It subsequently caused havoc to my health. Now fully recovered, it was a great feeling to be back at Arise this week.
We received such a very warm welcome from everyone – both children and staff.
Every class had learned some new songs and, from the youngest to the eldest, they put their hearts and souls into performing them for us. We felt so proud of all the children. They were a credit to themselves, the school and their families.
There are now 210 children registered and demand is outstripping places. In Frank’s words, Arise School has rapidly become “a beacon for the area”. We urgently need to complete the three new classrooms that have been built this year. The new shade area, which makes excellent use of the grounds, is already in regular use as an outdoor resource area for a multitude of purposes.
The school grounds themselves have been transformed into a beautiful oasis of tropical flowers, plants and trees using recycled water from the children’s hand washing.
Sadly, the rains failed this year and Frank’s parents lost all their crops. The smile on Frank’s face said it all when there was a huge, tropical downpour at the end of school yesterday!
Finally, the children themselves have made so much progress. So many of them have visibly grown in confidence. The older ones speak excellent English and the younger ones are picking it up so quickly. They enjoy learning so much. So much has been achieved in 12 months. Our enduring thanks to Frank and Salome for their tireless efforts to ensure that Wiri community has a school it can be proud of. It is great to be back with you all again.