When we walk to the "school" in the mornings (which is about 5mins from our house) as soon as the children get sight of us they come charging towards us--about 80 of them all at once.
Ruby and I both teach a class of approx. 80 kids each. They're adorable--they really are. They are incredibly intrigued with our skin and hair and just love to touch us. It's quite normal for us to be walking with 6 kids hanging off each arm and other holding on to our clothes. They sometimes fight over who gets to hold our hands-- but there seems to always be enough time for everyone to walk with us for a bit. They really just love being hugged. This is true of ALL kids in Bagamoyo--we often have children we have never seen or spoken to come run up and hug us. It's a great feeling to have so many little people so excited to see you each day.
The problem is--it's nearly impossible to give 80 kids the individual attention they need. We have absolutely nothing to work with. The 80 kids sit on the floor in front of us and we don't have pencils or crayons and only about half the kids have books. We have a chalk board and some white chalk. That's it. I don't think there is a single child in my class that has a working uniform. They're all tattered and ripped, missing buttons and have broken zippers. Today was actually pretty depressing. There just isn't enough resources here. These kids are really loosing out. We don't have time to spend with the kids on a one-on-one basis they've just been taught to memorize things. In other words, they can count 1-50 (impressive you would think for 3-5yr olds) but they have absolutely no concept of what they're actually saying. When I draw four circles on the board they can't actually count them. The whole system is really screwed up. The teachers aren't really teachers--they're "volunteers" who have no teaching experience and who havent been paid in months.
All of the kids that we are working with all come from extrem poverty. They are either orphans, HIV + or are deemed very vulnerable kids.
My time is running out...must run.