Failed visit to Kapilimhoto Preschool
Going to the preschool we stopped at this market to buy some vegetables for the workers, who cook every midday and eat together as their homes are far away. The people from the picture also have to walk long distances to sell their produce in a competitive market. As all of them have more or less the same goods, the little money they earn is hardly enough to pay school fees, and if they don’t have enough to pay fees for all of their kids they pay fees for boys first.
In Malawi it is normal to find children in the market or playing in the middle of the street the whole day. School is obligatory for 6 year olds but not all kids go there every day as they sometimes have to help the family, for example when a family member is sick. Furthermore preschool and secondary school have fees that not everyone can afford, that’s why sometimes Wells for Zoë funds underground preschools with care givers who work for free and kids, mostly girls, that leave secondary school to help home farming and selling products on the street.
Today we we wanted to visit the Kapilimhoto preschool. We called them yesterday and the appointment was done, but once there we didn’t find any children. The chief from that place told us that there were no kids because the teacher was at a funeral and the parents didn’t organise to take care of the kids instead. Seems that there is no backup plan in case the care giver is not available; for example a parent taking care of the kids. In these cases the kids stay at home or follow the parents during their duties. What we will do is try to go there another day.
We were driving for more than one hour to reach that place to find no one. Luckily this time the road was in a good condition. Normally distances that would take less than 30 minutes in Europe takes more than a few hours as you have to dodge holes or drive really slowly because of the disastrous roads.
Anyway, you will wonder why didn’t they contact us before to tell that there was no school today? You know, not everyone here has a phone and they have to pay someone to make that call or sometimes there is no network in the area so they have to walk far to make a call happen and it’s not easy as they have more important things to do like farming, selling their goods or in this case: preparing a funeral.
Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often that you have an appointment and they are not there. Normally once you arrive the people have already been waiting for you for quite a while.