Tuesday, August 20, 2013

94. Basketball Court (Part IV)

Dan has been having some trouble with the basketball court contractor.

Work on the court foundation, which was initially progressing slowly but steadily, ground to a halt in the past couple of days.   The contractor and all of his workers disappeared as soon as they received their first installment of money, and the director of our school (our key supporter and adviser) found himself getting more and more impatient for the court to be finished.  Rather than wait for the contractor to return and resume the work that he started, the director decided to switch tactics entirely.  This morning, he called a school meeting and ordered every student in the school to participate in a mandatory after-school digging-of-the-foundation.  

You'd think that the kids would whine and complain, but they actually rose to the occasion spectacularly. 

All one thousand of them.  

Armed with buckets and rice sacks and wood-and-metal hoes, the students showed up in force and ready to work.  For two hours and thirty minutes, they chopped and lifted and shoveled and carried dirt with gusto.  In less than half a day, our students accomplished what our contractor had failed to do in more than a month's time.  

The most memorable moment of the event was when Professor Dan himself took off his lab coat and his shirt, grabbed a shovel, and got to work with everybody else.  A cheer ran through the crowd of students, and the applause was deafening.  

Shoveling and carrying the dirt to level the ground for the foundation
Seni giggles as he takes a break from his work
Working in a line
Digging the foundation
Loading the dirt to be carried away
Loading the dirt to be carried away
Hundreds of students showed up to work
Jobs included hoeing/chopping (mostly boys), shoveling (mostly boys), and carrying/dumping (mostly girls)
Dan prepares to work
Dan's contribution to the digging.  At first, his actions met with cheering and clapping.
Then, as he continued shoveling, his work fostered a redoubling of effort on the part
of the surrounding students.

There's no doubt that this school wants the basketball court to be made.  In fact, there's no doubt that it will eventually get finished.  The trouble will be getting it done before November.  

We're still optimistic.

We can't discredit the power of our students' cheer, support, and tireless hard work.


  1. Absolutely fantastic photos. This is why we're here. :-) You guys are awesome.

  2. Oh I love it. That is so Peace Corps. I bet those kids will love that court even more in the end now because they all helped work on it.