drawing out ideas for the school

18.02.13 | first workshop with the teachers

The weather recovered and the first day of the nursery began under sunshine. Some of the children could not stop crying during the school hours, which is from 9am to 12pm, so that the teachers will need to visit their parents. After sending off all the children home, Leika had a mini workshop with all six teachers – Ankita, Bina, Gauri, Priyanka, Sarve and Seema. We began the workshop by drawing a community map of Hariharpur. Each teacher drew the location of her house together with the path she takes to reach the school site. We then roughly identified the areas the students live and locations of two other schools in the village (one private and one government). The teachers were enthusiastic to tell us about Hariharpur. One of the findings was that some of the parents work at the brick factories. Tomorrow, Seema will guide us to different parents’ houses and hopefully we can meet the brick factory workers as well. Beside the map, we also created an agricultural calendar showing which crops are being harvested in which timing of the year. The food supply in Hariharpur seems to be enough for the whole village as they have no need to go to a nearby market for grocery. There is only one path leading to Hariharpur from the main road or bypass which belongs to Azamgarh. We also talked about the two classrooms they are using now. For example, the size of the bigger room is alright but the other room is too small to use. It seems like the smaller room is merely used for storage at the moment. We will have another activity tomorrow to have more ideas for the new classrooms.

Meanwhile Alex was measuring the building site together with Siam Raj, one of the locals. He lives in a small charming mud-brick house. The site for the school is quite small, approximately 30m by 15m. Currently, lentils are growing on the site and will be harvested by the end of February. Surrounding the site is one old well which is out of use (now it is used for drying cow dung), a large tree which will provide shading during hot summers and refuge during monsoons, and a school garden producing various crops for mid-day meals.

We also visited one of the brick factories located near the bypass. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone from the village working there but we were told that there are villagers at the other factories. After the heavy rain, the soil was still soft, and many of the clay bricks were ruined. We managed, however, to get two mud brick samples to bring back and examine its strength at an institution in Delhi. The workers told us that they can produce 1500 to 2000 on a daily basis by two workers. The bricks will dry within a day or even in half a day depending on the weather. In order to produce good mud bricks, the bricks need to lay in the shade for 20 days. They kindly demonstrated the way they make mud bricks in front of us. Firstly, the mould was applied with a thin layer of sand. Then, the expert took a scoop from a pile of mud and sand and dumped it into the mould. Within a second, a nicely shaped mud brick was produced! We thanked them for their help and left the village for the day.