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Welcome to Mekele!

November 29, 2011

How can I describe the perfect arrival to Mekele and to the Nicolas Robinson School? The warm, bright sun (mid-70’s), dry air, and the beautiful smiles of the children that greeted me, could not have been more welcoming. The school had grown incredibly since my last visit in 2005 – it has added a four story building to house an additional eight grade levels to the original kindergarten program and there are three large building projects underway to add a library, music facility, and a high school, all due to open before the 2012 school year.
While touring the site, students and teachers everywhere greeted me warmly with waves, smiles and hugs and groups of children were anxious to practice their English with me. The standards for performance are high here, and despite being relatively new, the school is one of the finest in Mekele. It is not surprising then for me to actually feel the amazing desire for learning that exists here.
However, the growth, cheerfulness, and desire to succeed contrasts sharply with a less visible reality – many of the children here are malnourished. Although food is not scarce, poverty prevents many families from being able to provide adequate food for their children. Laura’s World Fund helped begin a School Food Program earlier this year, providing a portion of nutritious food each day, but our donation only covers a third of the program’s costs. More on this later…

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