My first encounter with Community Schools was when two ladies came to our dental school and asked me for a piece of new, white chalk. When I returned with five pieces, one said, "You must want to know why we want one piece of new white, chalk. "Yes," I replied. "We thought if we had one piece of new, white chalk, we might get a blackboard."
Community schools are started and completely run by parents who do not want their young children walking great distances to government schools. The head teacher and other teachers in the grass-hut church school or under a big shade tree usually only have a few years of school themselves. We taught oral hygiene and did treatments at these most appreciative, parent-run bookless schools with no government help.
That day there were more than the usual numbers of knocks at our front door after the team left for the week. Four young ladies, two of which were dressed as if going to the President's Inaugural Ball, were looking for a job and information about the school. I was attempting to get things organized; half my time was spent doing this. One more rap on the steel burglar bars on the front door and I thought, "Let it go, and they will give up and leave."
At the very instant the words left my thoughts, I briskly walked to answer the knocking. A tall young woman was standing there with sweat coming down her checks, as I asked, "Did you want to apply for the school or to become a dental assistant? Like so many, she did not understand my words and said, "I am the head teacher at Tiyendg Pamidzi Community School." Now both of us were not able to decipher the words of the other. I unlocked the bars and asked her to come in and write it down.
When I read Tiyende Pamodzi Community School, I jumped for joy. This was one of the first community schools we taught and treated in, as well as furnishing a blackboard, chalk, pencils, exercise books and used children's books from the Most Generous USA – The Can-Do Nation. She had sweat running down her face and I looked out the front window at her overloaded man's bicycle. The overload was three bags of melee meal, all safely tied on the back of the bike and two other medium-size heavy sacks.
Her name is Joan Khunga, who I remember as the founder of the school in 2004. She was very hesitant as she told me, "We have used all the pencils and chalk you gave us two years ago." From two years ago, I remembered her letter of genuine heart-felt thanks. Our assisting has given the parents motivation to dig a latrine and make blocks (mud and straw) to build a schoolhouse for the school that was meeting under a big tree. At that time there were 40 students and later 110, plus three more volunteer teachers. Joan had a full load on her bicycle for the 2 to 3 hour journey back home. We discussed the school's needs for another year or two.
What Joan needed was chalk, exercise books and pencils, folders and pens for teachers, heavy paper flip charts and markers, plus many children's books sent by the Can-Do Folks in the USA. The total cost for one year school supplies for 110 children was about $40.
The Queen should be Joan Khunga's title. School teachers, especially a Joan Khunga, needs, deserves, is worthy of -- must have -- the world's attention and support as the world's future is in their attitude of encouragement, caring and love, more so than a real queen. That Monday, Joan was able to take the supplies on her boy's bicycle and will return the next week for the children's books given to assist the poor (Less than $1.25 per day).
AMERICANS CAN GIVE HOPE AND DIGNITY BY SHOWING THEY CARE.
TEETHSAVERS TEACHES MOTHERS TO START ORAL HYGIENE AT AGE THREE (3) MONTHS
Using a clean, soft, warm and damp cloth wrapped around a finger, carefully clean the lips and then during another bath, clean the front lower gums and gradually the top gums and then gradually, another time, clean the top and bottom back gums. Then daily, clean the lips and all the gums.
The children will grow used to their mouth being cleaned and know how a clean mouth feels.
Combined with www.ReachOutandRead.org please help us to collect used children's books.