Friday, 9 March 2012

A reflective moment

Today I had my first day off since arriving in Kosele at the end of January. Once I'd got over the initial shock of deciding that it would be a good thing to do I quite enjoyed it. The new Visitors Centre makes a good bolt hole 'away from it all' so I managed to find a bit of peace and quiet and had a chance to reflect on how things have gone so far.

We've made a lot of progress on the farm front – greatly assisted by the two teams of volunteers from Cisco. As I type it is still very hot and there is no sign of rain. This will be a great worry for a good number of our neighbours who have been planting their seeds for the next harvest. Last year at this time a similar thing happened. The seed was planted and the rain failed to materialise in sufficient quantity to get the crop started well. We still have some work to do, preparing our fields for planting, so I'm hoping that the rain will come in the next week. I'm also looking forward to moving on with our greenhouse project. Duncan, our farm manager, has been away for the last three days on training courses organised by the greenhouse manufacturer. From the brief reports he has given me over the phone the courses have been very useful.

Having moved into the new school buildings it's now time to get on with the serious business of appraisal and inspection. I always have this 'poacher turned gamekeeper' feeling as I start planning for the teachers' quarterly appraisals and draw up an inspection schedule for the school, (and now the college also). I was never wholly convinced of the value of the official Ofsted inspections of schools in the UK. They always smacked of the drab hand of government going through the motions. I feel very differently about our school and college in Kosele. Education really is a lifeline for the young people we care for and it is essential that it is done well. I have every confidence in our teachers' willingness to innovate and make the difference that we aim to in the children's lives. As we press on I'm inspired by a quote I have posted up next to my desk. It's from the Farming God's Way trainers reference manual and says:

We cannot provide for every person's physical needs, but we can definitely equip the poor with the knowledge to provide for themselves …...... This equipping brings a liberty that no gift or donation could ever give, as it is empowering the poor into perpetuity.”

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