Because of the Cholera outbreak, more than 70 people have died in Lusaka since October 2017 alone. To prevent the spread of the disease, the school start was moved back a week in the entire country. During that week, the sanitary facilities of all the schools in the country were inspected by officers of the Ministry of Health. Because of major defects, more than 300 schools (amongst them many boarding schools) were then closed down temporarily. The Namwala Secondary School was paid a visit by the inspectors as well. Luckily, the kitchen was thoroughly renovated 3 years ago and last year, we were able to start using two new toilet and shower facilities in the girls’ section and fully renovated their old facilities.
This year, the renovation of the toilet and shower facilities of the boys’ section is planned. Because of the financial situation, we were only able to do the most necessary tasks up to now like replacing 21 broken toilet pans. Accordingly, the school received a couple of requirements from the inspectors. The complaints were not too great, and school started again on the 22nd of January. As soon as funding is secured, we will start with the renovation of the boy’s toilet and shower facilities. The costs amount to CHF 22,000. A side effect of the close-down of the schools was that Namwala received a couple of additional requests of parents whose children went to schools which are now closed down.
At the moment, there is a active WhatsApp-exchange going on with the school:[19:31, 19.1.2018] Mukela Kalunga (deputy head): Good evening Hans. It’s my hope and trust that you are doing fine. We are fine all fine, except for Jose who is recovering from his leg injury. I wrote this message to inform you that this afternoon the school was visited by some inspectors from the Ministry of Health and the Local Council to determine how prepare we are for reopening on Monday. They were very impressed with the girls’ toilets and the kitchen. At the boys’ hostels, they had certain observations with the old toilet pans but were happy that something was being done to improve the situation as was evidenced by the works of changing the toilet pans that was going on. Thanks to you and the winning team. The school has passed the litmus test in view of the cholera situation to reopen on Monday. [19:33, 19.1.2018] Mukela Kalunga: The above are some of the photos (see further) that I managed to capture as the inspectors were going round the key facilities in the school. Some schools have not been allowed to open due to poor water and sanitation. [21:32, 19.1.2018] Hannes van der Weijden: Mr Kalunga reported about the visit of the inspectors of the ministry. Girls’ section and kitchen are ok. The efforts at the boys’ section are noticed. The school can start on Monday. It seems that some school can’t open on Monday. [05:23, 20.1.2018] Josef Chipindi (PTA vice chairman): Yes others won’t open because of how bad they are including were Mr Simaambo (new head teacher) is coming from, Namsec surprised inspector in the manner it looks like, a school which is very old and away from the railway line looks clean and it’s painted, windows fixed, doors fixed and the facility at the girls shocked them, we are grateful Hans because without your support Namsec could be among the school to be condemned.
– Johannes van der Weijden