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Broken Boundaries | The School of St Jude

Broken Boundaries

Torrential rains destroyed our boundary wall, but nothing stops us fighting poverty.
Torrential rains destroyed our boundary wall, but nothing stops us fighting poverty

In the early hours of a blustery Thursday morning, flash flooding at Usa River, the site of St Jude’s Smith Secondary Campus, swept away huge parts of the School’s main boundary walls. 

Standing 2.7 metres high, the wall crumbled in two large sections beneath the weight of recent heavy rains. The total length of wall damage is 250 metres — the length of a football field, and then some — and will cost almost AU$49,000 to repair.

The School of St Jude Facilities Manager, Laurian, is overseeing the repairs and explained the toll it has taken on our school community, infrastructure and budget. 

“When the askari (guards) heard the wall collapsing before the sun rose, they immediately contacted the Smith Secondary Campus leadership to inform them.”

“It was clear we would need to employ more askari to patrol the destroyed sections of the boundary wall. We employed six new guards — three for during the day and three overnight,” Laurian said. 

Assessing the damage: Smith Secondary Campus askari were first responders.  St Jude’s committed askari ensure our staff, students and campus are kept safe around the clock, and that no intruder could, quite literally, slip through the cracks.
Assessing the damage: Smith Secondary Campus askari were first responders. St Jude’s committed askari ensure our staff, students and campus are kept safe around the clock, and that no intruder could, quite literally, slip through the cracks.

In addition to six new guards, it will take 18 local construction workers almost two months to restore the wall to tip-top condition. 

“To prevent this from happening again, we are increasing the depth of the passages which allow water to flow under the wall from 60 centimetres to 90 centimetres. The problem with flash flooding is that the water quickly blocks the passages. The weather we have had in Arusha this year has been unusual and unpredictable,” Laurian remarked. 

All hands on deck: An aerial view of repairs taking place - brick by brick, a new wall is built.  Indeed, it’s not just St Jude’s which has been affected by unseasonal heavy rains this year. One day before our wall collapsed, a Tanzanian news provider, The Citizen, reported that 15 people nationwide were killed and at least 250 dwellings were destroyed in the torrential downpours.
All hands on deck: An aerial view of repairs taking place – brick by brick, a new wall is built. Indeed, it’s not just St Jude’s which has been affected by unseasonal heavy rains this year. One day before our wall collapsed, a Tanzanian news provider, The Citizen, reported that 15 people nationwide were killed and at least 250 dwellings were destroyed in the torrential downpours.

“It is difficult to explain this year’s weather scenario,” Laurian said. 

“We are putting in place more preventative measures so we are best prepared if this happens again. The emergency response from everyone on the ground, from the askari, to the maintenance team and the workers, was impressive under the circumstances,” he added. 

Curious onlookers: Students at the rear boundary, surprised by the storm's effects. School Founder, Gemma Sisia, was shocked to see the impact the heavy rain made on the wall, which has ensured students’ safety and weathered many storms since it was first built more than 10 years ago.
Curious onlookers: Students at the rear boundary, surprised by the storm’s effects. School Founder, Gemma Sisia, was shocked to see the impact the heavy rain made on the wall, which has ensured students’ safety and weathered many storms since it was first built more than 10 years ago.

“We face unique challenges as a school and not-for-profit organisation based in Africa. Unpredictable events like this occasionally crop up and cause us to reconsider strategies and goals. On top of that, it means, from time to time, we must call upon our friends around the world for some extra support,” Gemma said. 

Day by day, our wall is being restored to its original condition, but we still need all hands on deck!  Will you give us a hand? Your money will be doubled, thanks to our Appeal match. Donate today to our Area of Greatest Need.

Day by day, our wall is being restored to its original condition, but we still need all hands on deck!
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