We made a trip to a beach around 45 minutes from Plain-du-Nord. We had been planning to go for weeks, but every time the day would come, something would prevent us from making the trip. Finally, we had decided to go and got everything packed and ready. We didn't end up leaving on time, and ultimately ran into traffic. With all lanes at a stand-still for almost 2 hours and we had only made it a few miles from our base, we thought it would be best to turn around and save the trip for another day. Inch by inch, we looked for an opportunity to turn around, until finally, traffic began flowing slowly and we pushed our way through the busy traffic.
After a long ride, it was a nice relief to get to the beach. We made our way onto the sand and began enjoying the long-awaited view of the sea.
It was about forty-five minutes after we arrived, a large group of around 30-40 children and youth were passing by. Suddenly, they all turned like a school of fish and approached us. They asked how we were doing and after a short chat, we learned that they were on a field trip from their school which was around 2 hours from there, and that their school director was also there with them. A short while later, one of the youth returned with the director. We were able to exchange contact information and open a line of communication.
We asked the director to provide us with information regarding the school and its needs to see how we can be of assistance. It was a few days later we learned more about National School of Raymond, which is an elementary school that provides education to children from Kindergarten to 6th Grade. Take a look at their school building.
Immediately upon observation, it became evident to us that this encounter with the children was not the product of coincidence. The need is significant. The school has a dirt floor and bamboo walls. The partially broken benches and desks need replacing. When it rains, we can assume the school is flooded, given that there are no doors or raised foundation to hold back the water.
The school is located down a strip of road that is not accessible by most vehicles. To get there you need to take a motorcycle or walk.
AKOUNOUKA is now beginning the planning phase of building a new school for the children of National School of Raymond, using the PET Bottle Brick method. One of the benefits for this method is that materials are easily transported into remote areas, like this one, and it also helps in clearing the environment of plastic bottle waste. The school will provide a healthy, clean learning environment for the children and will introduce an effective, new building model for the community. It is AKOUNOUKA's goal to incorporate local hands in this project as well as design a trip specifically for the building of this school. Stay tuned as we collect more information and design the plan for making this a reality.