Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prince Primary

There’s a lot to be excited about right now, and a lot of work to be done. A while back I told you about the UNEB scandal and the trouble it caused in the community. Of course things didn’t stop there, but of course we are doing the best we can to turn trouble into something that will make us stronger.

The rumors that ran thru town were enough to scare a substantial amount of families away from either continuing with their kids at Prince, or enrolling their new little ones in the baby classes. Around 40 students were lost this term. You add that to the 10 or so students who are retaking Primary 7 at an 80% discount and you have a serious financial crisis at Prince Primary. The teachers salaries were not being paid as a result, and they were understandably upset enough to call a meeting and request some action to be taken. Their original approach was to ask PF for money, but that is simply not possible at the moment, as our bank account resembles the pot at one of my 6th grade poker games (we mostly played for gummy sharks), besides being very out of alignment with our goals. So the conclusion we came to was to role up our sleeves and have a good old fashion community auction. The next step was to have a meeting with the parents/guardians of Prince and to get them on board. Thankfully this was not that difficult. At the parents meetings we held elections to create a committee to plan and execute the event (including 2 students!), discussed which district politicians and community bigwigs to invite, and set a fundraising goal (12 million big ones). The date is set for April 24th and the planning is moving along. I will be doing a documentary video on the planning process and its culmination to give a deeper look into the way the Prince community works together when times get tough.

We also finally started the “Citizens of the World” pen pal program at Prince which is taking place with 2 elementary schools from St. Paul, Minnesota. Each Prince student in Primary 6 and 7 received 2 letters, one from each school in MN. The program explore themes like identity, value, and social responsibility on levels ranging from family to global. The Prince students also created a committee to facilitate their end of the program, and their reply’s are in the mail. Prince has a blog where you can read more about Prince students, the pen pal program, and check out some samples from all three of the schools student letters (very soon): princeprimary.blogspot.com

I also will be doing audio recordings of some of the students reading their letters, and incorporating them into the coming Prince doc video.

There are pictures from the community meetings but as you could imagine they are not so fun so this is a picture of the Prince students spreading "traditional cement" on the classroom floors a. It's cows sh*t mixed with a little mud.

Bitone also has established their own blog: bitonetroupe.blogspot.com and will be using it to create more personal relationships with a children’s choir from Los Angeles, CA. The 2 groups of kids will also be exploring similar themes to the “ Citizens of the World” program, but instead of sharing thru letters, they will be co-creating music over the internet. The blog will feature short personal backgrounds of each of the kids, along with the progress of the music collaboration and anything else that comes up at the center... and the documentary video I put together featuring footage from our trip to Ethiopia.


tutatarabuela said...

brother! its so good to read up on whats going on. i just recently watched ian's video and i was so impressed! it was truly very inspiring and spending a bit more time reading these posts have been amazing. it'll be a crazy neat thing to look back on one day and see where you've all gone from these humble days.

it seems there are many good things happening both here and there. i want you to know that i was so pleased to see all of pf's progress and i cant help but feel so thankful i can call you all friends.

keep it up! you guys are amazing!

Aura Brickler said...

Thanks for keeping us inspired over here! It's all part of the learning process, right? Good luck at the fundraiser, it sounds like it's going to be quite a party. I hope it helps to boost the morale in the Prince community. It's helping to boost ours here!