Over the Easter holidays, Miss Farrant, Miss Wester and Mr Pitts travelled to Ethiopia, to visit Bekumsa Biya Elementary School. Broadclyst has been partnered with Bekumsa Biya for some years, with Mrs Dudley and Miss Farrant visiting for the first time six years ago. Miss Cavallo, Miss White and Mr Pugsley made a second visit in 2011. The trip was an amazing opportunity to renew links between our two schools.
The school is located in the rural outskirts of Nekemte, a city in the west of Ethiopia. Miss Farrant, when recalling what she had seen on her first visited, was surprised by how much the city had developed. Nekemte now has tarmacked roads, public transport and even a few hotels! However, in the surrounding countryside life has not changed a great deal, with traditional mud and straw buildings and small scale farming. The children from Bekumsa Biya mainly come from these areas.
On visiting the school, we were immediately made welcome by the staff and children; in fact the entire school of approximately 850 students was waiting for us! We were greeted with a song in English and were even presented with flowers! The school has made a great deal of progress in the past six years, becoming the highest ranking school in the Oromia region! The teachers are extremely keen to try out new ideas in the classroom, as well as to share their experience with others. We were also very pleased to see how keen the students were to learn.
While we were at the school we taught English lessons in grades one and three as well as spending time in a range of other classrooms. We also gave the school an iPad, containing videos and songs made by various classes around the school. As part of our academic link work, children from BCPS contributed a range of art and project work, which was shared with the staff and children of Bekumsa Biya. Both schools will now be working on a number of link projects, such as comparing traditional tales, growing your own food and how children travel to school.
After leaving Nekemte, we had the opportunity to visit Bahir Dar, in the north. It is a beautiful area, with stunning views. While we were there, we visited Lake Tana, some medieval monasteries and the Blue Nile falls, which were particularly spectacular. We also explored the city itself, which was very different to Nekemte, as it attracts far more tourists.
The trip was fantastic experience, which we all found particularly eye opening. Although it is situated in a deprived area, Bekumsa Biya is making a real difference to the futures of it’s students, which is due in part to its links to Broadclyst Primary School. The staff would like to thank you for all of the fund raising and support for the most recent trip, as well as on past projects.