VideosThe Travel Channel's Ethical Hedonist's feature on EHRA Life on the EHRA project created by one of our volunteers.
People of Change - Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA) from Fernando Sapelli.
Watch EHRA - Elephant Conservation Volunteer videos
|New Partnership with Frans Frederick Primary School Begins!|
|Friday, 20 August 2010 11:25|
New Partnership with Fransfontein Primary School Begins!
Fransfontein, the name of a small village in the Kunene region evokes images of Frans’ Fountain where the abundance of water nurtures community gardens, small plots and community farms. This area, unlike other areas in northern Namibia, has a water source that seems endless. Upon arrival there we discovered lush gardens with orange groves, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and tall palm trees with climbing bougainvilleas and many other flowers in abundance. Coming from the region we usually work in where water is scarce this seemed like Eden, an oasis in the desert.
Our camp was pitched just outside a lush orange grove but outside the village proper for privacy and security. After pitching up all our tents, tables, chairs, trailer, and other camping equipment the locals told us that the elephants had just visited the exact same locale and stayed the month of June enjoying the water and plethora of food in the shade away from the African sun. This we new to be a good omen-elephants are smarter than humans so we followed in their footsteps and camped in the solace and peace near the gardens. They were right; it was a lovely place to call home for a week!
EHRA has begun a new long-term partnership with the Frans Frederick Primary School at Fransfontein with the hope of duplicating the success EHRA has achieved at the A. Gariseb School in Anixab.
Frans Frederick Primary School accommodates 300 students from Pre-Kindergarten through the 7th Grade. Of those, 150 students board in boys and girls dormitories that are in disrepair. The teachers at Frans Frederick are overjoyed that EHRA will be working in the future to repair the dormitories, classrooms, library and most importantly get working toilets and running water for the lavatory and showers-which they currently do not have.
The irony of having so much water available but no plumbing in place to use it does not go unrecognized. Usually in the areas we work in the water source is more difficult to arrange. Here it is simply a matter of Governmental and Municipal participation as well as hard work from organizations like EHRA and having the right resources. Meetings with teachers, the health inspector and related governmental agencies are in the works to solve the issue of no proper septic system to facilitate the lavatories and showers. This, of course poses a health risk for all students and teachers as well as the Fransfontien community in which the school exists.
We started our workweek with 20 students and 6 teachers from St. Andrews College in Canada. They were all ready to apply their strength and ambitiously set upon a plan to sand, plaster, paint and perform carpentry work in the classrooms to make them look new and clean. These students raised the money to provide the materials necessary to do this project. Having the necessary supplies of paint, sand paper, rollers, brushes, ect. can be difficult to find in remote areas but Rachel made sure that the money was well spent and we had everything necessary to do the work ahead. Needless to say the teachers whose classrooms got renovated were overjoyed at the transformation. They also painted the exterior of the classroom blocks and a beautiful mural was added to the assembly wall where assemblies are held. Lots of friends were made as the students from both schools got to learn more about each other’s lives and experiences.
Not all was hard work and no play! A football (soccer for those in North America) match was planned and the whole village turned out for this international event-bigger than the world cup as Fransfontein standards go! The Canadians are a tough team of hockey players whose school prides itself on athletics. The Namibians, however, are more used to the hot sun and can run forever. Namibia scored in the first half but the Canadians came back in the second for a tie score of 1-1. The perfect way to end our workweek and partnership at the school! The Namibians had a secret weapon on their team: A girl named Shaniza whose grandfather owned the farm next to where we were camping. She enjoyed the game, but mostly enjoyed coming back to our camp with her brother who is Head of School, playing more football with the guys and exchanging questions and answers about how the other lives. She then got permission for the guys to pick oranges from her grandfather’s garden. Wow-fresh oranges off the tree in the middle of what was thought to be a desert-truly a delicious treat for all.
The next day was a farewell ceremony where native dances and songs were performed by the Frans Frederick students and each Canadian student got a letter of appreciation for their hard work and thanked again for doing such a phenomenal job assisting in the beginning of the transformation of the Frans Fredrick School. Both schools students should be proud of what has been accomplished and we hope that in the future more renovations will be accomplished. The teachers also are to be congratulated! The St Andrews teachers could grasp the conditions under which the Namibian teachers are meant to teach and inspire critical thinking whilst the Namibian teachers were so overwhelmed by the gift of time, energy and hard work of these teachers and students spending their summer holiday performing such work. The will to inspire others to do well is done by a few who do good where it is needed-this happened in Fransfontein.
EHRA strives to assist communities in the understanding that the elephants are good for the community-should they come. Our goal of educating the local people as to the dangers and necessary preventative measures can only be accomplished by working within each community. The renovation of this school will, like A. Gariseb, not happen overnight, but over years. We are looking to build a trust and partnership within that community so that in time both elephants and humans will coexist more easily and without conflict through our efforts. Working at this school, EHRA will continue to apply hard work, energy and time to make it a safe, clean, and happy environment where the power of education and the learning experience are utilized by the local community to better itself and the future of its people.
We plan to assist in the renovation of the lavatory blocks, dormitories, playground and other requests that may come from the teachers and the community. This will again, be a partnership that provides equal responsibility: EHRA to provide the materials and hard work and the school to provide the teachers, maintenance and upkeep of improvements made over time. We have found that if everyone participates then everyone benefits. We hope that our new partnership will inspire those of you looking to help to join us in this by supporting EHRA’s educational program.
Doreen A. Niggles
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 August 2010 13:28|