During our visit to our daughter at Bingham Academy in Addis Ababa last December we stayed with her in her apartment on the school campus. In the photo above her apartment is the three windows on the top floor on the left of the ramp going up to the door. This was just a few metres across the car park from the teachers’ preparation offices so it was very convenient.
In the second photo above are more staff apartments in the lower part of the school. We only went in one of these when we were invited to dinner to the home of an Australian family we got to know quite well while there. The housing for teachers at Bingham is quite comfortable without being over the top. All the teachers I spoke to seemed very happy with their accommodation. I observed that some classrooms were somewhat less than ideal, some needed maintenance and some were filling roles for which they were not designed. The administrative staff and governing board are very aware of these shortcomings. There is currently a strong fund raising effort to enable a completely new secondary school building to be built in the next year or so. This will ease the shortage of classroom accommodation in the rest of the school.
The above photo shows several of the classrooms, a part of the playground for the younger children and to the lower right the car maintenance sheds. The photo is taken from the balcony leading into the school library. The library is at bursting point and in serious need of expansion and upgrading. I think this is also on the plans for rebuilding.
One of my favourite spots within the campus was the eucalyptus forest near the oval. This was a very peaceful area and good birding there as well. I am a little sad that a part of this small forest will be removed in order to accommodate the new secondary building. I know its necessary for the future of the school and the students, but I hope some of the trees are retained as a very useful and pleasant amenity.
From the library one has a limited view over neighbouring houses, as shown above. It shows the style and diversity of housing in the district. In another view – one I didn’t photograph – there is a prominent slum area. This is quite common in Addis Ababa: good housing merges with slum zones with very little separating the two.
During the latter half of 2011 my daughter taught at Bingham Academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bingham is an international Christian school with staff and students drawn from around the globe. There are local children attending as well and it is located in one of the poorer areas of the city.
In December last year my wife and I visited our daughter for two weeks up until the time her term finished. We stayed with her in her apartment on the campus, so we experienced school life up close. We both found the experience uplifting and inspiring and were made to feel very welcome by the staff.
I was not surprised that her short stay has inspired our daughter to return to the school in a few years’ time. In fact, both my wife and I are very experienced teachers and are wondering whether we also have a role to play in the future. We will see. Meanwhile I’ll share a few photos taken on the campus.
To read more about the school click here.
For the observant readers, the trees in the small forest near the oval are Australian eucalypts – we felt quite at home. There are also large tracts of eucalypt forests surrounding Addis Ababa, but more of that in another post coming soon.