*This is the second blog post from a student of Christ The King School in Ontario. It also features a reply from one of Gua Africa's students. Please note the comments below are entirely the opinions of the particular student and do not reflect Gua Africa's.*
Hey everyone it's me Brianna! I'm in grade 7 and I go to Christ the King School. This opportunity has given me a greater perspective of what happens in different places of the world. It has opened my eyes to see what other kids endure compared to us, how children in these countries fight in wars and are hungry for both food and peace. We have so many material possessions to be thankful for and one being peace and safety which we take for granted.
This awareness came about when we started to discuss child soldiers which led us to discuss Emmanuel Jal and his story. The grade 8 students had the opportunity to listen and meet him in person. With the return of the grade 8's to school, we as a class began to brainstorm ideas to help support Emmanuel Jal's campaign. Each idea built upon a new idea and cooperatively we cane up with the "Lenten Project" idea.
A typical day at Christ the King Catholic School:
8:55 - The bell rings, we get ready to go inside the school
9:00 - Warning bell to get ready for school and learning
9:05 - Our day begins with singing Oh Canada and prayers
9:10-9:50 - We have History and Physical Education on Fridays
9:50-10:50 - We have either French, Music or Phys-Ed. It depends on what day it is.
10:50-11:05 - We have recess where we go outside
11:05-11:55 - We have Math
11:55-12:35 - We have our lunch break
12:35-1:25 - We have French on Wednesdays or Literacy (reading & writing)
1:25-2:15 - We have Literacy (reading & writing)
2:15-2:30 - We have recess where we go outside
2:30-3:18 - We have science
3:20 - We go home for the day
Sometimes our lessons get switched about during the week but we are very busy learning. I was wondering what does a school day look like in South Sudan?
Gua Africa student Gabby's reply to Brianna (Gabby is pictured right in the photo)
Dear Brianna, my name is Gabriel and I am a final year medical student in Nairobi, Kenya. I am one of the beneficiaries of Gua Africa, the organisation founded by Emmanuel Jal. I just went through your blog and thought it was amazing! I thought I could respond to you and help you understand the difficult things that transpire in developing countries, especially in Africa where war is so rampant. I am from South Sudan and being born during the civil war made it so difficult to live because of the risk of being recruited to fight as a child soldier. Thank God I made it to the Kakuma refugee camp through the help of UNHCR (United Nation's refugee agency). Kakuma is a semi-arid area in northern Kenya. The temperature ranges from between 30-45 degree Celsius and it rarely rains but is frequently dusty.
Most of us boys were living without parents in Kakuma, either they were left in South Sudan of they got killed by the war. The UNHCR provided a small house for me and lots of other boys. I was lucky to be able to attend school in one of the camps primary schools which was just a short walking distance from where I was staying. There were so many of us in class often above 200 pupils in one class and we just sat on the floor since there were no desks. We always struggled to understand what the teacher was saying. We never had school uniforms, no shoes just our bare feet. You only get one exercise book for all the five subjects we studied, Mathematics, English, Science, Social Studies and Religious Education.
We only studied from 7am to middday because there was no available food in school for lunch, so children had to leave and find food. We could not read at night because there was no electricity in the camp and it was always dark. It was very difficult to attain 250 marks out of 500 marks which is a pass mark for you to join high school. During that time I had a different perspective about education, my interest was basically about knowing how to read and write. It was only when I managed to join high school that I realised it means so much more than that. It was a struggle again in secondary but at least I had grown older and I was able to endure the problems.
Life was never easy until Gua Africa in to my life and offered to cater for my needs. Thanks to God they took me to one of the best universities in Nairobi since 2009 up to now I am studying Bachelor of Clinical Medicine and Surgery. At teh end of this year I will graduate to become a doctor. Well, the memories of the difficulties I went through when I was in the refugee camp are still so fresh and I could never forget them. I am just thankful I was able to get a way out. Thank you all for your support of Gua Africa's work. You are amazing!