Muzungu, Muzungu! I could hear the children whispering to each other in the classrooms in Beni. Being on week four of my time in the Congo my Swahili was impressive enough to know that Muzungu meant foreigner. I surprised the class by greeting them with “Jambo”, more Swahili for hello. This made them laugh a lot. I have found on my few trips to the field that the children will laugh a lot at you and like to hear you speak English. They like to shout “Morning teacher” in the morning or afternoon – it doesn’t matter. I decided I would take it a step further and sing to them in English, the old classic “Good morning, Good morning”, this caused the most hilarity. A highlight was being asked if I would be their teacher, I declined on the grounds that we would never get anything done as we would be laughing too much.
The education team from the Beni office were lovely and were happy to take me to see their programme. We started by visiting Mukulia l’ecole premier. They are building 5 classrooms here, 3 primary classes and 2 accelerated learning classes for students who are older who missed out on their education. Save the Children Spain had already rehabilitated some classrooms in the area so we took the opportunity to visit some of the students there.
I met with two students, Mbambub Sombolani (11) and Erithier Walaso (11). They were in Primary 5 and were studying religion and maths that day, which was good for Erithier, as he told me he would like to be a priest when he finishes his education.