Being blocked by the gang in the slum
The Situation of the slum
They are abandoned
How to deal with the constantly coming children ?
Are you the savior? Can you save the world?
一 Being blocked by the gang in the slum
The first time when I was leaving the slum, I told the teachers I might come back.
The second time I went to the slum, I said that I raised a little money to pay the tuition fees for three children for a year.
As I walked away, I glanced at the empty classroom and said, 30, I’m going to fill the empty room with students.
A child’s tuition for one year is only 158 RMB(25dollars), and after I posted the article, I think 30 children’s tuition should be no problem.
Sure enough, a large number of friends responded one after another.Li Shengyi, the youngest donor,is only 8 years old. Take the initiative to give out her lucky money to help the child. This money will be more memorable than any toys.
When I woke up at 4 a.m. the next morning, I received more than 40 text messages and 50 friends requests . It took me more than an hour to process, reply, register. Zhang Dongqi, who I had never met, said, She is going to sponsor two children for their whole life. I was surprised and said, Lifetime? She said, “Yes, I will make regular payments every year, but if you don’t follow up on the project, I will stop funding.”
My eyes were suddenly moist, and I knew that this onerous responsibility is like a child’s education. You couldn’t just take on a day, two days, a year or two years, It’s gonna be a decade or even a lifetime. These grants come not only from love beyond national borders, but also from unconditional trust. But such a long-term grant is no longer just a small move, but a big project!!! Forgive me for just have thought about the beginning but not expecting the end.
Can I carry such a heavy responsibility alone? How can a better system be built to sustain it in the long run? What about the kids a year later? Finally, I let myself calm down. Solve the current problems first,step by step.
With 60 students information sheets printed, I expected to be able to complete 60 children’s home visits that day. When I went to the slum again, I was blocked by some thugs and punks , and they looked very alert. ‘Where are you going? What are you doing? Don’t you go! Do you have a camera in your bag? No pictures! Give us the money!’
Because of the experience of the last two visits, I said with confidence, I want to go to school to visit my friend, I have come several times, the teachers in school are waiting for me.
But after I got on the boat, I was thinking about their responding: why do they all look so vigilant? What happened here? Why do they not like outsiders to enter like its a secret base?
二 The Situation of the slum
Holding the doubt I saw the three teachers again. It was Saturday off, but I woke them up early in the morning and came over here again to explain the situation at this school.
Building: the school is a two-storeyed, broken wooden building, consist of 4 classrooms, no windows, no doors.
Facilities: children have no desks and chairs, only benches. There are no textbooks, pens, books, only rely on the teacher’s blackboard, so no one could write.
Teacher: this is a private school. There are three teachers, no principals or other managers. All three teachers are from Nigeria. They have graduated from university and have been teaching for 12 years. They speak French, English and local language.
Cost: School amortization is very simple. Three teachers are responsible for one class each, and the primary period is six years. But because of the funds, they have merged the first and second grades into one class, the third and fourth grades into one class, five, Sixth grade merges into a class. Parents pay tuition by the day, teacher’s salary is depends on the students amount. Generally 1 class includes 40-50 children. Also a lot of have dropped out of school.
When I met them, I said, now I’ve got a full tuition fee for 78 children.
So we went to visit the family by boat, and that was the first time I saw what was the inner look of the house. After climbing from the boat to the wobbly board house, I had to look down at the bottom, because the gaps between the boards were so large that one foot might get stuck in the plank or fall directly into the lake. The whole house was no more than 10 square meters, separated into two rooms, a bedroom, a kitchen.10 people from 6 families dwelling together.
Without any furniture, not even a bed ,a mat,or a table, chair, they slept directly on the plank. I don’t know how they have gone through the rainy season. Most people sell fish for a living. An average of 5 children a family, a year’s income from 6000-20000 naira, 15-25 dollars per year! Every year!
In order to have the sponsors to claim the corresponding child, I took the individual pictures of the kids and almost every child’s eyes were filled with fear and nervousness.
There was a little boy who was particularly lively at the beginning. He was like a football boy jumping around, because the house was shared by three families, so there were a lot of kids living together who didn’t go to school, and when he was told that he could go to school on Monday, he stopped jumping. Big eyes suddenly filled with tears, he looked at us , wanted to smile but could not hold back the tears.It broke my heart , I holded him and , said, baby, no worries, you can go to school everyday now.
From the moment when I came into the slum, their fate was bound to me , they are all God’s children, and I am chosed by God to help.
三 They are abandoned
After coming back in the evening, I happened to talk to journalist Xu about the situation. She has reported a lot in Nigeria, visited many places, and has always wanted to help some children. But the reality is that:
1.Most of the money invested in public interest is not directly been spent on children, but is embezzled by officials or principals. .
2.There was an American journalist reported this slum before. After he published his report, he was banned from entering Nigeria again by the authorities, because his report caused great repercussions, and it also made many people begin to know that there was such a place.
But the government is not willing to expose those problems to the public.Since then, some journalists have carried out similar reports, which have also aroused the government’s aversion.
Many reports have actually failed to solve the real problems. They just want to attract the attention of the public and increase the circulation, which is tantamount to uncovering the scars of the country. Everyone can see the problem. That’s why people are always on the alert every time when I go to the slums. They used to blow up reporters’ cameras.
So I can not ask any help from any public organization and I shouldn’t let too much people to know, but one thing I can sure is I HAVE to help those kids.
After days of struggling ,I finally found a new classroom for the kids, the kids we were using before has no windows and doors, one day when we were having class, the rainstorms came and flooded the half class.
I visited the chef of the community and finally he agreed to let me use the church for temporary,of course ,he wanted benefit from it , but I told them, i dont have a team ,and this is not a company program, I only raised the children’s tuition from some Chinese friends ,that’s it ,we are doing it voluntarily ,nobody makes money from it and there is no extra money as well.
When I walked into the new class,the kids jumped up with excitement and clapped. No matter how many struggles we went through, but we finally had our own new class !
But the parents are sending new children constantly , who just heard about the free school program, even though I told them that we need to help the most needy children first. However, these families indeed do not have the ability to pay for the school, and there are still many such families, because they are all refugees. The government have been trying to destroy the whole community , but they are unable to handle such a large population.The enterprise will not help these people because they will offend the government. They also do not have any right to vote. In Nigeria, they are the poorest one who are separated and abandoned. They don’t speak other language but only dialects, and the living environment is already smelly, piles of garbage and excreta floating on the lake, not to mention education, the disease have already caused countless deaths.
How to deal with the constantly coming children ?
The classroom capacity was so limited, but the endless flow of poor children have to be solved. When I first came into contact with the slums, I thought I could help a few, then I raised 30 children’s tuition, enough to open a new class, now we have found a new venue to accommodate 60 children, but more children are coming.
With just my own ability and the current limited financial assistance, it was very difficult to cope with the new site costs. The cost of classroom resources and the problems of teacher management and health control are bound to attract the attention of the government when the project is expanded， then our current class might be expelled. In the evening, my friend stopped by and talked with me,. She heard about my situation and said,we first put our limited ability to do what we can do. Focus on the quality of the teaching first and then think about the expansion.
After some discussion, we had a new idea, tomorrow we inform the parents that we would have a simple test of our children on Friday morning, mainly in responding and simple understanding. Also, we limit the age of children from 5 to 8 years old. We only accept the children who pass the test. I will tell parents that our current program is just personal aid, a group of Chinese volunteers have heard about the situation about the slums and want to help. This program has no profit at all. We are not an enterprise or a team. At present, we have limited money and ability to help, but I must concentrate on the quality of children’s schooling, and it will cover at least six years of primary school full funding and free lunch. I will wait one year to see if it works, then consider the expansion of enrollment.
The sustainability of this project has always been a concern for me, I certainly want to help more families, but the most important thing in the first year of operation is stability and development.
From the very beginning of the project, many locals wanted to profit from it. When the church provided us the place , the chef of the community said that he wanted to take 30 naira from per child, but I said, “I really don’t have the money.” Except for the tuition fees of the children, there is no other dime. This is not a profitable organization. It is just a personal welfare program. He agreed to let the children attend classes temporarily, but he still hopes to make some money later. Moreover, the hardware facilities of the classroom, Tables and chairs, books and venues are still extra expenses.
These days, most kids don’t have the money to eat lunch. They used to eat at home, but now they can’t afford the lunch. Today, a 4-year-old gril was crying and wanted to go back,she said, “I’m so hungry.’ Providing a child’s lunch means we need to provide everyone’s lunch, but that’s really what we have to deal with.”
四 Are you the savior? Can you save the world?
This morning I received a message from a person I don’t know ,she said, “do you think you are the savior?” Can you solve all the kids’ problems? Can you save the world? Forget about it, you are too naive’.
This was not the first time I am questioned. Someone think I am a psychopath, some think it doesn’t worth to waste time and energy in doing this.
I know I can’t solve the problem of all the children in the world , and it’s God’s blessing already to have me help the 100 kids in this slum with my meager power. I don’t want anything and I have nothing to lose.
Sometimes I couldn’t have a meal for a few days while riding, I know what it feels like of starvation. I know what it feels like to sleep on the street I know what it feels like to be caught in a thunderstorm and nowhere to hide. I know what it feels like to be sick and infected without a cure. Only through the experience you can feel the struggle, the pain, the despair and you know how they feel .
A lot of people are worse and more miserable than we think, and today, when many people are purchasing new tech products, yet a lot of others are living at the place where there is no electricity and with trashed around.
Struggling to feed one more child a day, there was a mother of five who, when she was registering her child’s birth date, said she couldnt remember . I said why can’t you remember? She said what to remember, how to remember? They don’t have cell phones, watches, clocks, or even calendars. In their world, they don’t have time. Children never celebrate their birthday .
I asked one boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wants to be a doctor, I asked why, he said then his dad wouldn’t die. He is only six years old, but he saw his father die in front of him because they didn’t have the money to cure malaria. Sick is just a chronic death, they can not afford to hospital,and there is no medical conditions.
But I saw the hope that the establishment of the school aid program had brought to many families. Originally, their children had to fish for a living like them,but when I was interviewing each parent why they sent their children to school, They all told me that they didn’t want their children to live the same life like them, they want their a child to have the knowledge, the skills, and no longer suffering from sickness and hunger.
We really are not just saving one child, but the whole family. These are lives, they are human lives. Yes, we can’t save all the children in the world, but as long as we are still alive then we can do what we can help. We can save countless families, can’t we? China has a population of 1.4 billion, even only 200 million people stood up and help 10 people in their life time , then 2 billion people is going to be saved! If these 10 people were the children of our friends, would you be stingy to give them a meal and a chance to go to school? They are more fragmented and heart-wrenching than the children of any African country I’ve ever seen. We would feel sympathy for the homeless dogs on the street, not to mention to these living children.
Everything happened because of the benefits of people who love God. (Luo 8: 28) A sponsor named Wang Xiaoming said that her mother was also a Christian and served more than 100 people in the church before her death. Give away all that she can give before she die. Because of Christ’s whipping, we are healed. We are tempted by the temptation. Not more than we can bear. (1 cor. 10: 13) God will bless us for our suffering. (2 Cor.4: 1712: 9) when we come to this world, God has arranged our way and our destiny, he Knows our burdens and troubles, do not worry, God knows what you need. (Mt. 6: 31-32; Phil. 4: 6) God will keep us safe and secure.