Horsed School

We turned off the main road onto a tiny dirt road covered in goats and people. All along the road were crudely constructed shacks made out of sheets of metal. We had to drive very slowly to avoid rolling off the road or running over the living things that kept darting out in front of the van. We stopped and I saw the building set back a little ways from the road. It looked a bit like the set of a play, and could probably have fit on a large stage. There were three small classrooms, all in a row. Each one was furnished with very cheap wooden benches, counters, chalkboards, and not much else.

The children are friendly and excited. They're there to learn English and they take it very seriously. They've been taught to 'present' themselves to visitors, so they each come up, introduce themself, and shake my hand. I cannot understand any of their names. I smile at the girls and they giggle.

We go into the classroom and the 19 year old teacher (in the orange shirt) leads our discussion. The topic: "What type of person do you want to marry?" I have been told to let the kids do at least 75% of the talking so they can practice. They all speak English very well, but quickly and with a heavy accent, so it is difficult for me to understand. (Keep in mind most of these kids can already speak French, Somali, and probably two other languages.) Two things come across clearly: they all want to get married, and they want to marry someone rich. Some of the boys said a woman with 'good character' was more important than cash, but none of the girls. One girl said, "when hunger comes knocking at the door, love goes out the window." Dang.


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  1. wow. what an experience. i do envy these adventures you go on. and what a priveledge to get to see these places and then be able to return to a place that is not a 3rd world country when you are done. it makes me appreciate what i have, and feel ungrateful when i worry that my cell phone bill is too high.

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