A Tale of Two Roofs
by Scott Pegg
Scott Pegg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at IUPUI Â in Indianapolis. He first visited the Niger Delta in April 2000 on a research trip and that’s where he met officials from the Bebor Model Nursery and Primary School (BMNPS). In partnership with Timmy, Scott has overseen the expansion of the community-based schools to seven buildings, and has helped to construct latrines, procure a generator, and establish a scholarship program. This post is an open letter about the recent updates from the ground in Rivers State Nigeria.Â
Dear friends and supporters of Bebor Model Nursery and Primary School,
I’m not on Twitter and I won’t be able to keep this to 140 characters but I did want to give you all a succinct and focused look at one aspect of the work we do with the schools in Nigeria to put into context the funding we just sent them last week and also some of the challenges we face.
This is a tale of two roofs, one at the newest school we are helping in Bori and one at the first school we started helping in Bodo. Let me start with the good news from Bori. This first photo is almost exactly a year ago from my last trip to Nigeria. It shows where the school in Bori was before we started helping themâ€”the shells of 2 classroom buildings largely built up to roof level. The second photo shows what the buildings look like now after the funding we sent them last year. Both because they funded the initial work on the buildings with local resources and because we are largely, though not entirely, out of the building construction aspect of this project, were able to go straight to a more expensive rustproof aluminum roof that will never need replacing. The funds we sent constructed the porticoes outside each building and finished roofing the largest building and started roofing the smaller building. Because of other work going on at the church where they were previously meeting, they moved all the kids into the first building even though it still needs additional work like plastering the walls and putting in window and door frames. We just sent additional funds last week to finish roofing the second building.
The third photo shows the bad news from Bodo. As many of you already know, with the exception of one building in Bane where Timmy Global Health helped pay for the extra cost of a rustproof roof, our other four classroom buildings (three in Bodo and one in Bane) all initially had regular zinc roofs put on them. This was largely because we simply didn’t have the funds on hand to do rustproof roofs given all the other things we were committing resources to like constructing the buildings themselves. We knew that we would eventually have to re-roof all of these buildings and, again, as many of you know, started working on this a few years ago.
Working on the oldest buildings first, we successfully installed rust-proof roofs on two of the classroom buildings in Bodo and the other classroom building in Bane. We knew that we needed to get to the final classroom building in Bodo but a tropical storm beat us to it and damaged the old and partially rusted roof badly as the third photo shows. Our work can get delayed for any number of reasonsâ€”we don’t have enough funds on hand; it takes awhile to reach agreement with the school directors on what we are going to do next; it sometimes takes them awhile to utilize our funds; and it sometimes takes them even longer to send documentation and photos showing that our funds were used wisely and in accordance with our agreed aims. In this case, severe weather overtook the relatively slow pace of our progress and damaged significant parts of the roof on the only classroom building in Bodo without a rustproof roof. The good news is that they have a temporary tarp up now that has enabled them to continue using the building. The even better news is that we just sent the funds last week to re-roof this building with a rustproof roof. Before the summer is out we should have all seven of our classroom buildings (3 in Bodo, 2 in Bane, 2 in Bori) finished with rustproof roofs that will never need replacing! With luck, you’ll never have to see photos like this one again.
Thanks as always for your past, present and hopefully continued support of our humble work in the Niger Delta.
All the best,