On the 3rd day of our trip, we visited a school located on a mountain top, and that journey was one memorable one!
The road situation was such that we had to forgo our mini-bus and travel on sturdy four-wheel drive. After half-an-hour of travelling on highway, we entered into a most `turbulent' road journey I have ever experienced.
Just a few years ago, there was no road for vehicles to go up the mountain.. only by foot. But there was a need to build a school up there for there are people living up in the mountain and their children need education. So World Vision took up the task to not just build a school but also the mountain road..
The road was basically made of rocks, stones and earth. I must take my hats off to our driver for that extremely rugged, bumpy and winding drive (which felt like a vigorous massage) which seemed to go and on. Note that it is a two-way road - imagine when a vehicle, likely a lorry coming in opposite direction. You not only need skills but also guts! Thankfully we only experienced it once (our driver found a wider patch to manoeuvre) as not many vehicles travelled on the road at that time.
Having the privilege of sitting in front, I took some pictures on the way..
Finally, after almost an hour, we reached the school which was almost at the top of the montain. And were given a lined-up welcome cheers again!
It was a small school, in total less than 100 students from primary 2 to 6. In all, we went to six schools divided in groups and this one was probably the poorest of all.. Many of them still could not speak Mandarin properly.. and appeared shy at first. But soon, most of them warmed up to us.
Again, like every school, there was this group `merry-go-round' dance where the sponsors also joined in the fun, and then they performed some items such a singing, dancing and reciting.
Although only one student's sponsor was there to visit him, all the students also prepared something for their visitors. I ended up getting about a dozen pieces of drawings!!
we spent about two hours there, visiting their classrooms and dorms, as some of the students' homes are just too far away for them to commute daily. They do not have a place to eat, in fact they don't have a proper kitchen too. Most of them shower once every week or 10 days for there isn't enough water. They have to walk outside the school compound to do their `business' in a smelly and dirty toilet - if that's what u call it.
But there's one thing the school has that our schools don't - nature, fresh air and breath-taking scenery. The view from the top of the mountain was just spectacular, and perhaps it is a good thing that the kids get to grow up in the midst of nature and not polluted city.
We also visited a farmer's house nearby which honestly I couldn't imagine how someone could live there.. (yeah i know, i have been spoilt)
Finally was time to leave. The road home seemed a little faster, still very bumpy and `exciting' though. And it took us a good 50 minutes before the Jeep hit the straight and even highway again.
And when we had lunch.. we realised how physically tired we were! Never been on such an `exhilirating' car ride before.. but it was worth it!