The construction phase required a lot of strength and nerves, as well as patience and persistence, but the joy about the successful project is all the greater. Fatigue and exhaustion are quickly forgotten. To accompany the kindergarten classes and provide support, is the most beautiful part of my project work.
In addition to the program "Auf und davon" of 16 February 2019, I would like to give you some more information about my project. Thank you for taking the time.
The construction work for the second kindergarten began on 7 January 2018. The first bricks were made and soon the work on the excavation for the foundation was started with hoes and shovels.
A construction project is always a challenge, whether in Switzerland or abroad. Here in Senegal, the climate and the very basic conditions are a further complication. Sun, heat an a lot of dust are added to the already difficult conditions. Due to the lack of any mechanical support, everything is done by hand, which also meant a lot of hard work for the workers. In only five months the new building war ready, right on time before the beginning of the rainy season.
The days working on the kindergarten were long and carried on well into the night. Elhadji Dieme, my project partner, and I had done a lot of planning, so that everything should run as smoothly as possible. There would be no unnecesary costs, nor should any funds be diverted and the new building must be of very good quality. We were on site every day and supervised every step. At the same time, I took care of all the financial aspects, from purchasing materials to paying each workers's wages. This enabled us to reduce the costs by half, compared to the first kindergarten in Niaguis. (from CHF 100'000.- to CHF 50'000.-)
I never would have made it without Elhadji Dieme. He worked tirelessly and spared neither effort nor trouble. From dawn til dusk he did hundreds of things, his commitment exceeded all my expectations and he was a great support in other areas as well.
Elhadji and I spent hundreds of hours at the well. This was another truly demanding and exhausting challenge. We needed to fetch the necessary water from the neighbor's well every day and to transport it to the construciton site. Just fetching the water alone was a whole day worth of work. The workers needed about 2'000 liters of water per day, that equals 400'000 litrers for the whole building period. (With just one 12-liter bucket at the well, one can do the math...). Sometimes we had help from the village people other times the construction workers helped willingly. Nevertheless, fetching all that water is what exhausted me most.
In addition, I had to learn to flip a switch inside me and alter my expectations. It never goes as intended, discussed or planned and only very rarely according to the way I hoped it would. So it was a matter of approaching every day without expectations and accepting in advance what can and what can not be realized. It wasn't always easy to be flexible and solution-oriented and to swallow my irritation. Never give up, always appear to be motivated and never give in to low spirits and bad moods.
In time I learned to trust that everything would work out in the end and that we would meet the necessary deadlines of all the different stages. Even if it meant doing things in different ways or for me with foreing methods, in the end it always worked out. My heart rejoiced at every step that was completed.
Now the Kindergarten will get filled with Life!
Finally I can concentrate on working with the children again. It is my vision that the lessons offer a versatile range of learning possibilities and are more varied, so the children are supported in different areas and can develop accordingly. Thus I look forward to a new year, surrounded by children who charm me with their bright eyes and happy laughter. I am content and filled with happiness as I observe how the little ones can gain new experiences with the different activities.
At the same time, further training is planned throughout the region. Above all, my mission is to introduce toys and other playthings to all the other preschools all over Sédhiou as well. As many children as possible should be able to benefit from attractive lessons.
As the "Chef de village" in Niaguis said: "Knowledge is the greatest wealth".
Thank you for your interest.
With greetings from the kindergarten as well,
Marielle Furter and Team
When I travelled to the south of Senegal for the first time, I liked the region "Casamance" right away. Although it is the poorest region of Senegal, people were kind and helpful.
But the harsh reality is unmistakable, hardly anyone has a job, and they often lack the necessary money for basic needs. All do their best to independently earn anything with a craft or artwork.
A Project with a Heart and a Hand
Supports the education of children and their families from underprivileged regions of Senegal.
Marielle Furter, Meisterschwanden
Idea, contacts, planning and assistance for projects in Senegal
Senegal is a country in West Africa. Its territory is about half the size of Germany and extends from the foothills of the Sahara in the north, where the land borders with Mauritania, to the beginning of the tropical moist forest in the south, where it meets the neighbouring states Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. It reaches the the cool Atlantic coast in the west and goes as far as the hot Sahel region on the border of Mali. The southern parts of the french-speaking Senegal, Casamance, is separated from the rest of the country by the english-speeking, small state of Gambia that reaches far into the state of Senegal from the east.