Mali: pens, bags and books
We load up the truck – everyone helps out heaving and pushing the huge sacks into the truck bed.
Then we set off, splashing through the huge potholes in the roads that are now brimming with muddy water after the rains and storms last night.
After manoeuvring our truck through the narrow lanes of Bamako, past ad hoc market stalls, wandering goats and squawking chickens, we soon arrive at a surprisingly big compound that houses nine school classrooms.
As we arrive, we’re met by the headteacher. He takes us to his office to confirm the numbers of displaced children our education manager has on his lists.
All seems to be confirmed and validated and soon we are unloading the big boxes of pens, bags and books from our truck.
More and more children appear around us, investigating who these new people are and what they’re doing in their school.
We pile up the kits in a corner and the children gather nearby.
As the headteacher calls out names, each child comes forward and collects their package.
Like any child, they can barely contain their excitement and the youngest ones rush forward when their names are called.
I stand aside and start chatting to some of the older children.
One young girl named Agai tells me she is only 16 years old. I could have mistaken her for one of the teachers…