Richard Bryan, Gleaner Writer
FOR THE children at Medina Primary in Northwest Manchester, all they will get for Christmas is a promise they hope will materialise early in the New Year, modern bathrooms.
Last Thursday, local Ministry of Education officials met at the school to confirm the site plans that clears the way for Food For The Poor to erect totally new units and dispose of the wooden, stained pit latrine at the rich scenic setting of the school property.
"It's not a promise, it's an assurance they will get the bathrooms early next year," Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips, who was in attendance, told The Gleaner.
"It's one of the things that struck me when I came here first in constituency, and I wanted it to be one of the priorities when I got in (elected). They won't get it for Christmas. Hopefully, we can get that accomplished early in the new year."
It's a project Phillips said will be done in partnership with special funds he raised for the constituency. The workforce will come from area.
"We have no doubt it will be done. We approached Food For The Poor, told them what we had and simply asked them to match the funds. Usually, they do most of it, but I didn't want the project to fall away as there are so many out there competing for the same hands."
The latrines aside, the facility at Medina is a gem in the mountains, six miles west of Mile Gully. There is no playing field, but there is rich grass cover for a large play area and ample shade against the sun is provided by four mango trees appropriately spaced. Belying the agriculture base of the area, farming thrives at every corner of the property that also houses the Medina United Church owners.
no piped water
There is no piped water from the main, an anomaly that stretches all the way to the central community of Mile Gully, but there is a well-constructed tank system that effectively provides water for students to drink and wash hands.
Only 42 students are on roll, but Principal Christophe` Russell was keen on reporting his obvious advantage with discipline and organisation.
"We don't have fights here and the students don't use expletives. It's just quiet and serene, a wonderful place to be away from stress of towns, noise and all that kind of activity."