By Kiara Worth
Today I interviewed a man with a broken heart.
As we sat in the newly built Papa Community Preschool, the bright colours surrounding us were a stark contrast to the heavy heart in front of me as I listened to his story.
It all started beneath the mango tree, he said. Him and his wife noticed that many young children didn’t have access to education and so they decided to start a preschool.
Classes took place every day under the mango tree at first, but as the numbers grew, they moved to beneath his stilted house. Eventually that wasn’t big enough either so they worked with the community leaders to get external support.
After much work, they found sponsors to build a proper classroom, complete with learning materials, and demolished their own house to make space. They built a small shed in the corner of the property for them to live in, making sure there was enough space for the children to play and hold an assembly.
The classroom was soon built, complete with tables and chairs, books and pencils, and colourful alphabet letters to line the walls.
‘My wife died the week before the school was opened and I haven’t fully recovered. I don’t know if I ever will, I love her so very much.’
The air between us was heavy with his pain and I felt his loss creep into every pore of my skin.
‘I know it was my fault. I pushed her too hard and made her work too much. She always came back late at night, trying to get support for this school, and I never told her to slow down. I’m sure that’s what caused her to get sick. I know I’m responsible for that. I should have supported her more, made her life easier somehow and not pushed her so much. I loved her and now she’s gone. I hope God will forgive me.’
We sat there, sad tears streaming down our cheeks and the bright letters of the alphabet hanging above our head.
Follow Kiara on Instagram at @kiara_worth