Newsletter 4
Newsletter 5
Newsletter 6

Newsletter 7 
Newsletter 8
Newsletter 9
Newsletter 10
Newsletter 11
Newsletter 12
Newsletter 13
Newsletter 14

Newsletter 15
Newsletter 16

Newsletter 5 August, 2006


After a year of building work, the official opening of the new school building took place on March 8th. The event was marked with a performances by pupils, including dances by the senior girls and a recital by the junior years. A ceremonial dancer (Sampa) travelled from the neighbouring village to perform in honour of the opening accompanied by her female drummers. There were T shirts for every volunteer who took part in the school build, and from Brandeston School in Suffolk who raised much of the money for the school – a wristband for each pupil bearing the names of the two schools. In return Rogbonko pupils sent bracelets they wove themselves in the local style. The event culminated in the grand ‘switch on’ as the brand new solar lighting system installed by Lachlan Bateman and Simon Westcott was demonstrated for the first time. (See below for Lachlan’s Diary of his trip).

Never too Late

Evening classes in literacy and numeracy aimed at adults began shortly after the installation of the new solar lighting system. A total of sixty people aged between 16 and 65 and including the village headman attend classes three times a week. In September instructors from Makeni Teacher’s Training College will hold a two week intensive course to train Rogbonko’s four teachers in adult education teaching skills.

‘Diary’ By Lachlan Bateman

We left our guesthouse in Magburaka early on the first morning, whilst the air was still cool and the streets only mildly chaotic. Driving out of town, we continued off the main road, past the vast sugar cane fields and onto the dirt track that got us to the school. Rogbonko is literally at the end of the line - after passing through four or so other villages and under some stunning palm canopies, you pull into a clearing with the school - a brick construction and the glare of the suns rays reflected from its zinc roof. How hot it must be up there I wondered as we pulled in. Over the next two days I found out.


Things started seemingly slowly, but with Simon, myself and Alimamy – a local electrician - working consistently through the day we had planned out the system and managed to get two of the four panels securely mounted up on the roof - not bad going on an African time scale. Highlights included drilling through the roof deck using a hand drill and brace - we were installing the first electricity for miles around! A delicious lunch was cooked for us - I had heard stories of the scorching spicy local food but I managed reasonably well, I reckon they might have been going easy on us.


Day two and I was back on the hot tin roof, mounting the final two panels and practising my hastily learned Temne greetings with the locals. Alimamy and I got to wiring up the batteries and inverters whilst Simon installed bars in the window. Wherever they are installed in the world the most common solar system malfunction is theft! Properly looked after the panels on the school will continue to provide a good level of energy for 50 years.


We got our first bulb to successfully light that afternoon, which left the morning to train four school officials in the correct use of the system, then the celebration began! The kids performed a series of songs and dances that blew me away. The sights, smells and music were so colourful and authentic, I was really impressed. The only disappointment for the day was the cancellation of a traditional music piece known as a ‘Bou-bou’ – the required instruments which are a series of large hollowed out bamboo canes, not dissimilar to the didgeridoo, were not able to be produced in time. One to save for next time.


Sporting Triumph

In April’s Inter-Primary School Sports Competition, Rogbonko Village School beat five other local primary schools to win the trophy.

Pupils Exam Success!

Thirteen Rogbonko Village School Pupils sat the National Primary School Exams (NPSE), which will allow them to graduate to secondary school. They are the first pupils from Rogbonko to sit the exam.

Teachers’ Exam Success!

Augustine Kamara has graduated from his second year at Makeni Teacher Training College. James Fullah has successfully completed his first year. Both began at Rogbonko School as untrained teachers and have been sponsored by the Rogbonko Village School Trust to attend college to obtain formal qualifications. The Trust also provided each with a bicycle to travel the distance to the college.