St. Gertrudes School – Tanzania

Submitted by Erik Tanner | Location: Tanzania | NGO: PADI | Date: January, 2013

St. Gertrude Primary School, located in a small village of the Tanzanian highlands about 200km outside of nearest city, Songea. The grounds, about 15 gray buildings divided by pathways of burnt orange clay, revolve around a central clearing, marked plainly by a giant mango tree. The school is made up of approximately 450 students, all boarders, 4 catholic nuns who act as the administration as well as teachers and 6 teaching staff. The school functions not too dissimilar from any school one might see in the West, except for one major detail – the 2 mile roundtrip walk to the school and village’s nearest water source that a seemingly endless line of students must walk 2-3 times a day. The path, which is marred by rocks, roots and dusty inclines and descents depending on if you are coming or going, winds clumsily down the hillside. Just beyond a dense patch of undergrowth sits the muddy grey pond in which the water is collected and carried by the students that in some cases are just larger than the buckets they are carrying. Marching in a row with the faded buckets of every color atop their heads, the over flowing running down their faces and backs, the students of St. Gertrude begin the laborious journey home to do laundry, have lunch or just have a clean drink of water.

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