Sunday, July 22, 2007

If you are willing, there is a way to learn.

When the lights go out, students take off to airport.
When the sun has set in one of the world's poorest nations and the floodlights come on at G'bessi International Airport, the parking lot begins to fill with children.It's exam season in Guinea, ranked 160th out of 177 countries on the United Nations' development index, and students flock to the airport every night because it is among the only places where they can count on finding the lights on.

Groups begin heading to the airport at dusk, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. Some come from over an hour's walk away.They sit by age group with seven-to-nine-year-olds on a curb in a traffic island and teenagers on the concrete pilings flanking the national and international terminals. Few cars disturb their studies.
The students at the airport consider themselves lucky.
Those living farther away study at gas stations. Others sit outside the homes of affluent families, picking up the crumbs of light falling from their illuminated living rooms.

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