AIDS education is a big deal in these parts. I saw many road signs and billboards talking about HIV/AIDS. Most of the messages were focused on having only one partner, but there is a condom company doing a lot of outdoor advertising as well.
I spotted this sign on our visit to Hirna High School.
|From Africa 2007|
While at the school, we peeked into a classroom and to my total shock, there were 91 faces looking back at me. The room was no more than maybe 40 x 40 with one window and a chalkboard. David and I made the comment that parents in the US go nuts when class sizes get above 22 or 23. These 91 9th graders were crammed in and studying English.
I am blown away by how much Ethiopians value education. The communities are pushing for better and more schools, and the Ministry of Education is doing what it can. But it is not enough. This classroom had no books or materials for example.
Imagine trying to learn a new language, crammed together 3 students at a desk with the heat and flies all around. But those conditions do not disuade the students from attending. They seem to know somehow that this education will lead to a better life.
I unfortunately didn't snap a photo of the classroom, but believe me, it was really amazing. I wonder how we would react in these circumstances.