June 1, 2008

Planning Our Trip

Imagine a school of 1,000 student, in which 70% of the families have no income. The school has a total staff of 29. When one of these teachers is absent, there are no substitutes. The students are either left along in the classroom for the day or are distributed to other teachers. There are few supplies.

A.V. Bunkani during morning break

The AV Bukani School in Addo, South Africa is this school. Fourteen years removed from the end of apartheid, South Africa remains a country struggling with the education of its majority black population. Schools and society in general remain largely segregated with the wealth still residing in the hands of the white majority. Yet, when Eileen and Larry visited South Africa as part of a multicultural educators Peopel to People contingent last year, they came away impressed with the measured optimism of the black educators they met. In the fac eof persistent underfunding, overcrowded and crumbling schools, the worst HIV epidemic in all of Africa, and overwhelming poverty in their communities, principals and teachers alike expressed and optimistic view of the future.

Now, with their daughter, Sara, they will return to South Africa in July to work with the teachers and students at AV Bukani School.