Thursday, April 14, 2011

On Pencils

Volunteer teaching at the English Alive Academy in Nazret, Ethiopia, was very satisfying. Really, it's hard to have a bad day when greeted by dozens of smiling children shaking your hand and exclaiming, "Good morning!" Or being the recipient of serial kisses, hugs, and "I love you's!"


When it came to the actual teaching, though, I could not believe how much time was lost because one or two children did not have a usable pencil. Not because they didn't have one at all, but because the pencil quality was so poor, it took many futile attempts at sharpening (often with a big knife) to reveal the lead trapped within. Scrambling for one or two decent pencils held up the entire class' progress.

Evidently, there are either no good pencils to be found in Ethiopia or they are prohibitively expensive.
From Amazon

I've since learned that the decent-pencil problem exists in the U.S., too, even at private schools.

Maybe these Ticonderoga pencils would do the trick, seeing as they're "the world's best pencil."

I wonder if Ticonderoga ever donates pencils ....

At $13 USD per box of 96, yikes, that's a lot of money in Ethiopia.

If someone should be so moved to donate pencils to the English Alive Academy, (a registered charity in the UK) they may be shipped to:

Dawit Hailu
PO Box 170222
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Alerting the school in advance at stephanddawit at yahoo dot co dot uk would give them a heads-up to look for the package.

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