Visiting an Ethiopian school was the highlight of Courtney’s trip.
I’m the first to admit that I took education for granted when I was growing up. I used to love going to school, but it was more to see my friends than it was to actually learn.
Obviously my view has changed because I’m now studying to be a primary school teacher.
Going to Ethiopia made me even more aware of the importance of education.
The children in Ethiopia are very grateful, and they value their education so much. They know that getting a good education is going to help them get a good job – a job that will help them bring change to their community and to their country.
We visited Metseko Primary School, which was a fair distance from the main road and takes about 45 minutes to walk there each day. Classes run from 8am-midday or 1pm-4pm, (students either go in the morning or the afternoon). Siblings generally go to school at different times of the day, so that there is always someone at home looking after the livestock or younger siblings while their parents are working.
The classrooms at Metseko Primary School were so different to classrooms here in Australia. The outsides of the buildings were beautiful, they were painted orange, and most walls had some kind of picture painted on them. There were pictures of dinosaurs, the solar system, a map of the world, a map of Africa, and a periodic table (which I thought was pretty impressive seeing as the school went from pre-primary to Year 8).
The insides of the classrooms were much simpler though. In the Year 7 class that we visited, there were old wooden desks (some with three or four students squished on to them) and a chalk board on the front wall.
There were no lights on the ceiling; they relied on the sunlight that came through the windows.
The Year 7 students could speak basic English and were able to tell us their names, ages, how many brothers or sisters they had, and their nationality. Some were able to tell us a little more, like what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most of them could read English really well, but weren’t always able to comprehend what it was they were reading.
Like the Year Sevens, the pre-primary students blew me away with the amount of English they knew. When you think about it, when we were in pre-primary people were impressed if we knew the alphabet or we could count. Not only could the students at Metseko do that in their own language, they could do it in English too.
Visiting the class was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. The students were happy to be there, and happy to learn. That’s something I’ll never forget.
I learnt so many things when I was in Ethiopia, the most important thing was not to feel guilty, instead feel grateful.
I am so thankful for the education that I received; being able to attend high school and university has opened so many doors for me, and provided me with so many amazing opportunities.
I will be graduating from university in September of next year, and plan to spend the remainder of 2013 teaching English in Ethiopia.
Do something real. Register to do the 40 Hour Famine.