Chilongozi is a real contrast to Chiwawatala; it is much smaller with only 2 classroom blocks and 6 teachers as opposed to Chiwawatala’s 16! We got there in record time this trip – three and a half hours down a single dirt track passing a few elephants on the way. Its remoteness still shocks me and makes me realise how cut off from the world they are.
Sausage Tree sponsors three of the teachers at Chilongozi and they were keen to show us round and discuss the good work they had been doing and their pupil’s successful exam results. We were able to see the head teachers house that we built 2 years ago which looked very smart. The classrooms looked good and had all our resources and the student: teacher ratio has improved (1:60).
Their initial vegetable plot had burnt down in a bush fire but they were keen to show us the replacement one which they had positioned near to their new water tank. Elephants are a problem in this area so they are restricted as to what they grow but they are doing a good job of it which is encouraging. Lisa is keen to start the same vegetable scheme as at Chiwawatala as this will provide the children with an important source of vegetables which are few and far between – I think ‘5 a day’ is more like 5 a week at Chilongozi!
The inaccessibility of Chilongozi makes it harder to initiate and manage schemes, but projects that we are considering would be to provide electric fencing around the school so that they can develop the vegetable plots without the interference of elephants, and to initiate a tree planting scheme. During my visit we also provided funds to enable them to participate in the district sports day this year.