Going Back to Zata

When Thomas Wolfe said “You Can’t Go Home Again”, he certainly wasn't talking about going back to Zata! This past March we traveled 26 hours and 9,100 miles to go back to visit the students and teachers at the Zata School to check on the projects we have completed as well as begin our new program of issuing Microfinance loans to the families and women in the local Zata community.

This trip we were joined by two donors and good Friends, Kevin and Amedeo. As we drove along the terribly rocky road to the school, we shared memories of our first visit and wondered if you truly can go home again. After two hours we came over the final hill and saw the school in the distance. Slowly the sounds of music and singing reached across the arid landscape and welcomed us home. But before we even reached the school all 1,300 of the students (from the morning and afternoon sessions) and the 28 teachers swarmed around our vehicles dancing and singing and begging us to get out and celebrate with them.

When we finally reached the school we pulled in through brand new gates that had been replaced after our first visit at the same time as the installation of the new Shutters and Doors. Improvements were evident everywhere.

The central field of the school was dominated by new flag poles and a Gratitude Garden dedicated to Friends Helping Others with sculptors the students created themselves. There were hand washing stations at the entrance to each classroom to promote good hygiene. New murals decorated the exterior classroom building walls. A new library was started and stocked with books. And of course the beautiful school desks sat proudly on top of new cement floors in four classrooms with bright red doors and shutters! It was certainly a day to celebrate, and as we walked around the school marveling at all the improvements we thought of all our donor Friends who made it all possible.

The teachers began to gather the students together and lead them in to classrooms so we could share in their lessons and experience what it was like to go to school at Zata. After demonstrations of reading, spelling and arithmetic we had a surprise for the students – three duffle bags full of coloring supplies donated by donor Friends. It was the first time the boys and girls had used crayons, colored pencils and magic markers and the imagination went wild!

Finally it was time to gather with the village elders, teachers and Zata community for lunch and speeches. Surrounded by happy boys and girls, we sat in school desks under the trees and listened to their hopes and dreams and discussed our plans for the future. After lunch the students began to leave, heading home for chores and homework, on a walk that for some of them would be several miles. We had a long way back ourselves, so we got into the vehicles as students crowded around waving goodbye.

As we drove away and looked back at all the waving hands and big smiles we couldn't help being a little sad leaving the school. But in the distance we caught a glimpse of the well. There it sat proudly, surrounded by a stacked stone wall guarding the school and ensuring that our beloved Zata students would be healthy and happy for years to come.

Visit our Photo Gallery to see more photos from our second visit to the Zata School.

Discover more about theZata School.

Read about the well we drilled and our First Visit to Zata.

Read about our Day of Coloring at Zata.

Read how we are helping the community through Microfinancing at Zata.