THE SCHOOL OF ICHE
My son Christopher and his wife Agata, love adventure holidays. Preferring to leave behind the hectic life of the business world and the city, they love to travel and experience a different culture and you could almost say, a different age. They are never happier than when exploring Morocco, North Africa, where they will venture into wild and remote places in the desert. Their Land Rover vehicle has been specially equipped to cope with accommodating them and the extremes of the desert terrain.
Their last trip to North Africa was in December, and despite having a packed itinerary, there is one little village they hold dear in their hearts they always have to return to.
This remote village which lies on the border of Morocco and Algeria surrounded by the Sahara desert is called Iche. Christopher and Agata have become friendly with the people of Iche, and can always rely on sincere hospitality being extended to them when they visit. They are welcomed into the homes of the villagers and invited to share their food. And, as this visit just happened to coincide with the approaching season of ‘goodwill to all men’, it seemed fitting for them to go laden with gifts.
The village is made up of a number of mud/stone houses and accommodates approximately 70 families. The only properly built concrete building in the village, is the school and this is where 26 children are educated and, as part of a government programme, to encourage children to attend school they are provided with two meals a day. The school is too far out in the desert to connect to power lines, so they have to rely on a very noisy generator, this supplies the village with electricity for just 4 hours per day which is from 5pm to 9pm., so duriing their day at school, the children have no power or lighting.
Christopher and Agata have been particularly concerned about the lack of facilities the school children have available to them, its sad to say that it is almost bereft of equipment, books and the teaching aids one normally finds in our schools to-day. So apart from their personal gifts, Christopher decided he’d like to try and do a little more for these children. He contacted Credit Suisse (Swiss Bank) and explained his mission. Despite the nearness to departure date, Credit Suisse mustered together a good selection of pencils and writing books for him to take. The children and teachers were overwhelmed with joy, for now they had books and paper they could use instead of writing on their slate boards.
The pictures show not only the happy faces of everyone at the School of Iche, but also how barren the village is. One picture that caught my eye was one Christopher took inside one the houses, on the wall can be seen a poster of modern living as we know it, but its a way of life they have never experienced and can only see in pictures and dream about.
Christopher and Agata together with 5 others, are returning to Iche on 18 May. Their visit this time will really make a difference to those children. C & A have approached Dell Switzerland who have generously donated two computers and flat screen monitors, as well as that, a small generator has been donated, this will provide the school with independant power to run the computers. Credit Suisse are helping again with the provision of more books and sports equipment, plus 50 first aid kits for the children, and village people.
It is hopfully anticipated that Roche Pharmacuetcal will step in and help and also members of staff from Christopher’s office are donating clothes, French games and French reading books to add to the school library (you can see what the library comprises of at the moment, its the picture of the small table draped in a cloth in front of a group of people).
A world atlas will also be taken to the school, you see, these children have little concept of what lies in the big world beyond their desert village and it is with this in mind, that I am going to make a request to my blogging friends, would you be able to send a postcard showing your village, town or city, just so these children can get a glimpse of what life is like outside their desert village. Who knows, it may well plant some little seed of desire in their minds that one day they may aspire to. It would be wonderful if you could do this, to let them know people out there are thinking about them.
If you would like to do this please send postcards -‘To the children Iche’
ArvinMeritor CVA AG
Click on pictures if you'd like to enlarge them
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