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Inauguration of 5 new classrooms in Malimba

It was an emotional moment to come upon the Malimba school buildings after the hours of bone shaking drive through the forest from Brahma Junction. The clearing opened, the new buildings came into view in front, with all of the students under one canopy on the right and the parent support group under another canopy on the left. In the beginning we were seated under a large canopy between these groups, facing the school. Slowly behind us we could feel the gathering of people, the beginning of drumming and singing and the slow movement of a beautifully dressed group of musicians stepping in rhythm, advancing on our left, turning slowly to face us and advancing just in front of us like a single majestically colored caterpillar chanting, singing and drumming in unison. At the appropriate moment they receded slowly only to return again at a slow rhythm with the addition of unique flute players. Once again to perform just in front of us, once again to recede at the appropriate moment. We were then asked to advance to a smaller head table under a canopy with a group of the parent support and religious representatives. Victoria Nicol, our precious representative in Sierra Leone, took the microphone as the chair of the meeting. She opened the meeting with a Muslim prayer by the Imam, and a Christian prayer by one of the school teachers. Victoria then gave an important speech recounting the brief history of the founding of the school with Martine and the woman who had come from Malimba to Masantigie to request this development. She also mentioned the absolute need for support from the Ministry now that the school is recognized.

We were so fortunate to have three girl students come from the student group and speak in front of us all, and lead their fellow students in three successive songs lead, very bravely and individually, by each of the three girls. I was very happy to be seated next to the school Principal, Mr. Kamara, for this performance and to witness his obvious pride and emotion in the magnificent speaking and singing by his students.

We finally proceeded to the unveiling of the plaque thanking the sponsors of the building of the school and the cutting of the ribbon by Martine Coppens to formally open the new building.

Author: Duff Gyr

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