mid-swing

October 30, 2008


Along the lines of my swing post, here is another one: a childhood favorite that I am pleased to find is still being thoroughly enjoyed by my young students :-)

dear mum and dad . . .

October 28, 2008

During our lunch break, a fellow teacher and I were discussing our current classes’ writing projects. As we have been going through the letters written, to send them out to parents, I thought I would share with you today another Grade 3 student’s writings, to offer another interesting glimpse into boarding school life:
Dear Mum and Dad,
How are you? I am fine. This week was lots of fun. On Wednesday I wrote an e-mail to Mummy. I am sure she is pleased. Yesterday, she sent the photo album. I was happy.
On Independence Day we had swimming races. It was somehow hard. We did a race which you have a ball in front of you, then you should hit the ball with your head. I came in third. Mr. Brock, Mrs. Dean, and Miss Long were the teachers on our team.
When it came to bonfire, we had much more fun. We danced around it and we played games. For snack we had hot chocolate and (turn over)
a sweet doughnut. This time we never had marshmallows. We had these things like fire work. I liked it on the bamboos were poping. They made a fun sound.
This term I found new friends. In gr. 4 her name is Penjani. In gr. 5 her name is Priscilla. In grade 6 her name is Kahalu. In gr. 7 I have two. Their name are Womba and Lombe. They help me.
Well I have to end here.
I love you.
Love, Ntshenisi

an evening walk

October 26, 2008


My friend Jill showed me one of her favorite walks this evening, where we were able to watch a portion of this lovely Sunday setting.

Yesterday—October 24—was the country’s Independence Day. As a result, we had no classes. Instead the day was filled with a special flag-raising ceremony, games and races at the river, special treats for our meals, and a final bonfire with songs and dancing . . . it was great fun. And it left all of us teachers rather worn out today ☺
As this morning was my Grade 3 & 4 letter-writing class, I think one of my student’s letters will be a fitting [and more interesting than my writing!] post today:
Dear Mom, Dad, & Lushomo,
How are you? I hope you are fine. Dad please send my cake for my birthday or it will be a day I will never forget and I am serious. It is not a joke. How did you celebrate Independence Day? . . . We celebrated Independence Day. Please tell Dairia I am missing her. Please tell her that I will send her a personal copy of the song I sing for her. In class Miss Young gave us prizes. I got a notebook, and sweet, and a balloon. The balloon has a bitter taste to the mouth. I am beginning to like Math. But it’s still my worst subject. My best friend Chijika is a good friend . . .
Love, Chile.

Thandiwe’s music lesson

October 23, 2008

mango “break”

October 22, 2008


I gave our PE teacher a well-deserved scolding after observing as his students picked mangoes during class. And not only were they eating them in between turns: impressively, they even munched on the unripe fruit while running across the field :-)

down by the riverside

October 20, 2008


Being assigned “river duty” this afternoon meant that I got to supervise riverside playtime for all the students who had not traveled to a neighboring village for a combined prayer meeting. It meant answering “Yes, you may” to a chorus of questions required before they undertook various activities:
“Miss Anna, may I play in the river?” [allowed so long as they keep their clothes dry—a rule which lends itself to a long-standing tradition of tucking skirts and dresses into little undies] . . .
“Miss Anna, may I hunt for fruit?” [Juniors (grades 1 through 4) must be accompanied by at least one Senior (5 through 8), as they search for Leopard Fruit or knock mangoes down from the trees]
“Miss Anna, may I go to the toilet?” [an outhouse up the hill to which Juniors must have accompaniment but Seniors can venture to alone]
River duty also afforded me the surreal opportunity to join the students in some of the same activities I enjoyed at their age:
~catching tadpoles to corral in makeshift tide pools [I stubbornly persisted until I succeeded in capturing one today ☺ ]
~playing hopscotch [which I am hopelessly horrid at now, and lost by a longshot!]
~swinging over the river [which I can still do with a reasonable amount of skill ☺ ]

about those moments . . .

October 18, 2008

I suppose I should not be too surprised by how full my schedule feels, as I am still quite new in the process of adjustment into life as a teacher here. But it is still with a wondering as to where the day went that I reach the end of another day of lessons & laughter, of remembering & reliving. Another day of moments:
~A letter-writing class with my Grade 3 writing students: “Dear Mum and Dad: Please send me a birthday cake. I am doing well in all my classes . . .”
~A breakfast table conversation, over our fruit bowls: “Miss Anna, do you know what we call these in my village?” . . . and the children are shortly talking over each other, laughing as they correct my vain efforts to pronounce the 20-some-odd-letter word. Here they are know by a much more simple name of “Leopard Fruit.”
~A sewing class, in which I butcher an attempt at a simple headband, while the students effortlessly produce elaborate patchwork projects.
~A lunch table conversation: After watching 9-year-old Joshua gaze sorrowfully at his plate for some time, in silence, I finally ask him what is wrong. “I don’t think I can finish it.” Why not? “They are so slimy,” he explains, with a dismay that I can only assume is due to the school table rule requiring plates to be cleaned unless the child feels sick. He confessed to me that he was not sick and oh, how I wish I could sneak the offending mushrooms off his plate! But being so new in my time here, I just cannot quite justify breaking the rules, as much as his downcast countenance tugs at my heart . . .
~An afternoon of pool-supervision duty. I find myself thrust into the role of swimming instructor, demonstrating with a few laps of Breast Stroke and then coaching the young ones as they imitate my motions. This role amuses me immensely, as I distinctly recall coming in last place [not just once!] in my younger days on the neighborhood swim team!
~An evening of bedside conversations and goodnight hugs. “Is that tooth still in?” She nods as she opens her mouth and wiggles it as proof . . .
I guess another day of moments shall have to pass before that tooth fairy pays a visit ☺

some things never change

October 17, 2008


This is a fort. I say that with pride, as I immediately recognized in as such, remembering my own fort-building days: I was immensely pleased to find that it remains one of the Half-Term riverside party activities, as some aspects of childhood should never die, regardless of the generation :-)

after the rain . . .

October 16, 2008


. . . comes the rainbow :-)

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