Bishop Comboni's E-Library is growing; one computer at a time. There has been progress while the Uganda schools were closed for Covid-19 beginning March 18th, 2020.
A new computer was purchased and installed. This brings the total number of computers to 11. When the school re-opened for the graduating Senior 4 class (O Levels) and the graduating Senior 6 class (A Levels) on October 15th, the resources had expanded. Operating under strict Covid-19 protocols, the school successfully brought back two classes of students who would have graduated in December 2020. They completed their interrupted term and will come back to a third term in January of 2021. Final exams will take place in March for O Levels and in April for A Levels. Life is almost back to normal for these two groups of students. The balance of the student body awaits official notification of the dates to return to school.
There was also progress in the building that houses the library. 2020 saw the completion of a project to repair the concrete of the exterior stairwell to the library and create a protective apron around the building. This work will insure the integrity of the foundation and stop deterioration of the concrete verandahs, etc. The library is safe for future generations. A wonderful asset on the campus of the best secondary school in the District.
Life can be good, if you look closely enough, even during a pandemic. Thank you to all who helped with these projects!
How to use the time when students are not on campus? The question was easily answered with a win-win decision. Bishop Comboni had dedicated the top floor of a new classroom building to the use of the E-Library. The interior of the library is lovely (with terrazzo flooring) but the stairs and concrete work elsewhere in the building needed repair to the surfaces. Defective concrete was deteriorating fast!
The local laborers were in need of employment. The work to repair the concrete needed to be done while students were away. Bwindi Community Program raised funds to remedy the stairs and classroom flooring situations. When the students are able to return to campus, within the guidelines of WHO and the Ministry of Education requirements, the building will be ready and the stairs, classroom floors, etc. are durable now. The heads of the maintenance team that oversaw the work are celebrating in the photo!
The computers and books already acquired are waiting in the E-Library. The need for more computers and books continues. This facility will again be heavily used and appreciated. Thank you to all who have contributed to this amazing E-Library in rural Uganda; the first of its kind in the District. The 650 students, residents, and adjacent hospital are grateful.
The world is strangely quiet but progress is being made toward the day the E-Library will reopen. Schools in Uganda closed on March 18th and the country has been successful in containing the virus. Schools cannot open until public transportation is reinstated. That is a few steps from now. Some essential businesses, requiring minimal contact, can now operate; using masks while doing business and social distancing. The conservative Ugandan approach has produced very good results.
Prior to the lockdown of the country, the E-Library purchased a battery backup system and inverter that will be dedicated to the protection of the computers. This safety measure will insure the computers cannot be damaged by power surges; a reality in rural Uganda. The new system will be installed before the students return. This wonderful facility will be open again, with assurance that the computers are safeguarded.
The students are anxiously waiting to come back. The E-Library is missed, especially is a rural community that does not have reliable internet. Bishop Comboni's beautiful campus, with outstanding teachers, is their home for 4 to 6 years. The students and teachers will return and complete the year. They will be met by the few administrators and staff that stayed on campus and missed them too. For now, we simply wait to hear a date for the re-opening!
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