Field Trip

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The Crying Stone is a local beauty spot in the village of Ilesi, about 12 kilometres from Shalom Academy.

The stone is about forty metres tall – a large boulder balanced on a column of rock with occasional water flowing from a groove in the centre.

The rock formation resembles a head resting on shoulders and, from certain angles, looks like a person crying.

In recent years the tracks made by the water running down the rock face have been more visible because the Crying Stone is often dry. It hasn’t cried continually for years, many blaming the planting of eucalyptus trees that suck up large amounts of groundwater.

But none of that bothered grades 5 & 6 who visited on their first ever field trip to the stone. They were much more interested in the myth that says the stone portrays the image of a jilted woman who is in constant mourning.

No Water, No Life

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A few years ago we were thrilled when we fitted the water harvesting system to catch rainwater from the roofs and feed it to three water tanks around the school. We needed the water for cooking and cleaning.

Well, we just went one better. We now have mains water at the school. After finally getting approval from the Water Board we arranged for some locals to dig a trench from the main feeder pipe, down a track parallel to Education Way, and into the kitchen. We then laid the pipework and water began flowing within the hour.

It is a big step in our goal to create reliable infrastructure at Shalom Academy and obviate the need to bring water from the river in the dry season.

We will continue to use the rainwater during the rains.

A New Uniform is all it Takes

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It was New Uniform Day (NUD) once again in January – giving polo shirts to new pupils or replacing tattered ones for our old ones. The older children also got navy blue trousers or skirts. And very smart they look too.

The well turned out pupils are walking advertisements for the school. We always have new parents arrive the day following NUD who saw our pupils walking home and want their own child to join our gang.

Sometimes a gentle (and very colourful) reminder that school has begun is all it takes.

Travel Without Moving Your Feet

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They say books let you travel without moving your feet.

If that’s true, our pupils will be doing a lot more travelling in the upcoming term after we made substantial additions to the school’s resource room in January 2023. As the registration increases we have to supplement the number of text books in all subjects in order to keep the ratio of books to children at a reasonably high level.

The picture shows (on the right) the second wall of shelves built to house the new books.

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings…

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… so said William Wordsworth.


For confirmation of Wordsworth’s assertion, we need look no further than a poem OUR head girl, 10-year-old Deborah Buzanzi, wrote about her environment, a subject she feels deeply about. (And it also demonstrates how well her English is coming along.)

T H E  P U S H

In our city there is no push
But there is many rubbish heaps
Big enough to make a hill with
No care for cleanness

Who will make a push?
The president or the governor?
The senator or the MCA?
Who will make a push?

We have clean water
But water is not clean water
Because it carries germs
Water is drying at the source
Who will protect the source?

From tree on hill
Down to the river
Is it county workers or a police officer?
Is it our parents or ourselves?
Who will make a push?

One good teacher can change the world

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They say one good teacher can change the world, but what about half a dozen!

Here are some of our new and well-established teachers – left to right: Debra, Nobert, Mike, Gladys, Vitalis and, in front, Terry.

Long time no see

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After an enforced absence of 2 years, it was great to return to Irovo in January 2022 and catch up with all the teachers, pupils and parents at Shalom Academy.

Despite our absence, infrastructure improvements are evident. Concrete floors have been laid in the last 3 classrooms (all 8 now have clean, even and red floors), and there are also new latrines for teachers. A new concrete water tank has been built next to the kitchen which should make cooking a little easier during the wet months.

To add to the progress, we brought books, stationery and sports/play equipment from Lancashire, which looks great in the resource room. We also brought a stack of regulation sky blue polo shirt uniforms.

The pictures show board member and charity founder Olive with new teacher Terry Museni.

Can’t Stop Progress

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Thanks to support from Preston Guild Rotary Club during the Covid crisis, we have been able to pay the absent teachers a portion of their wages and re-start the building programme. We raised enough to lay concrete floors in the three remaining classrooms and continue the path that links all parts of the school. This will hopefully ensure mud-free lessons in future and fewer dusty text books.

Help where it’s needed

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The lockdown restrictions due to the Covid 19 virus have hit Irovo hard. Not only are villagers losing their jobs but also most institutions have had to close, including Shalom Academy.

While the coffers at Strive for Excellence were somewhat lacking, we had to step in with some emergency support for teachers and the most needy families.

The pictures show some of the pupils with their parents/grandparents who wished to show their thanks for our support.


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Shalom Academy is lucky to have two excellent pupils who act as our two prefects—effectively head girl and head boy.

May I introduce Michelle Mutola and Alex Ingaya who have been pupils for years and can be relied upon for various duties such as gathering books and equipment for teachers and being great role models for the other 100-odd children.