Five Hours to School

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

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I have read about children walking hours to and from school, but I never imagined it to be quite like this. I set off one morning with two of the boys, thinking I was taking a trip to the “market” a few kilometers away. About an hour away, when I was ready to turn back, I encountered half a dozen other children from the village walking down the small winding footpaths to the valley as well. I didn’t realize it, but they (and I) were all headed to a school function, a cultural program where they sing and dance and preform for the parents. They kept telling me “school, school,” but after so many hours of walking, I couldn’t believe their school was really this far away. Sure enough, over two hours later, we arrived.

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