Mrs Kay and Mr Blake visit Kiri Bah Ler

12 May 2017

We arrived at the river and boarded a raft made of three narrow boats topped with a roughly boarded planks. The journey across the river was smooth and we were soon on the other side, scrambling up the bank. The rest of the journey took about half an hour, holding on to the moto for dear life as we navigated hills, hollows and huge puddles, whilst our drivers skillfully balanced our rucksacks between their feet. The road, we were told, had recently been 'fixed', but everybody thought it would wash away when the rainy season arrived. Small settlements flashed by giving us a flavour of the village life that we were going to immerse ourselves in over the next few days.

We rode into a small village and were greeted by a long avenue of children. We had arrived in Kiri Bah Ler! The whole village had come out to meet us and the children were all dressed in their school uniforms, even though it was a Sunday. They sang us a welcome song as Sally and I walked slowly down the lines of smiling children that led to the steps of the school. I have to say it was a really emotional moment.

We took our shoes off at the steps and up we went to the veranda of the school with the hoards of children all chatting loudly in their own Kavet language. Steven, our translator, sat them all down and Sally and I stood at the front and were formally welcomed by the chief of the surrounding ten villages. He explained, through Steven, that before the school was built they had nothing; their children could not read or write. Now that the school was built,their children have a place to come and learn. He was incredibly grateful to Witham Hall and for Sally and I coming to visit. Sally and I talked later about the welcome the village had given us and we both became choked with emotion as the reality of seeing first hand what the fundraising of the Witham Hall community had achieved hit home.