New Project: Agape Girl’s Dorm
The sun was hot and my hands were aching as I carried another bucket of cement from the mixing area to the foundations of the new girl’s dormitory building. Six children from the boarding house met me at the foundations, eagerly taking the buckets from my hands to do the most exciting job in their eyes, actually pouring the cement. I took the empty buckets from their hands and went back for another refill.
When we took a break and sat in the shade of the mango trees lining the property the boys didn’t sit still. They climbed the trees and searched for long poles to knock the fruit from the branches. The entire day I worked with them, they spent every moment of free time looking for something to eat and celebrating when they were successful. At the end of the day I was sun burnt and tired but we were all sweaty and dirty. The girl’s dormitory building, however, was a solid step closer to becoming a reality in time for the upcoming school year.
At the end of the day, we walked back together to the “old school”, the buildings that have been home to Agape for the last few years. Gradually, over the months of the hot season, while school is not in session, the volunteer workers and staff at the school and boarding house are building new structures on the land they now own, a few kilometers from their current location. But for now, the children spend their summer days in the old bamboo buildings, playing on a small patch of dirt that becomes a lake of mud during the rainy season.
Thanks to some generous donors, Agape was able this year to realize an important dream: purchasing land to call their own. The land is beautiful. Ringed by mango and tamarind trees there is space for the school and dormitory buildings, place for mushrooms, chickens and a garden, and most importantly, there is room for children to run and play and make noise.
For the first time, the children will be living in concrete structures that are built to last and every night when they go to sleep, they will sleep knowing that they have a home for as long as they need it. No landlord will evict them and no storm will bring the thatch down in the wind. The roof won’t leak and there won’t be holes in the floor.
Unfortunately this year, we only had enough funds raised to construct one dormitory building. This year, all the material from the two dormitories at the old school will be recycled in order to build the boy’s dormitory building on the new land. We’ll be fundraising later this year so that in March 2010, we’ll be ready to build the boys a real home and a safe place to stay.
When the buildings have been constructed, we’ll be posting more pictures here but in the meantime, on behalf of everyone at Agape, I’d like to thank our Christmas donors, who really made this dream come true.