Thursday, 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 :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

dear mum and dad . . .

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

an evening walk

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.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

independence day festivities

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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

mango "break"

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 :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

down by the riverside

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 ☺ ]

Saturday, October 18, 2008

about those moments . . .

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 ☺

Friday, October 17, 2008

some things never change

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 :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

after the rain . . .

. . . comes the rainbow :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

moments & hours

In the flurry of air travel, land travel, moving in, and beginning work, today it occurred to me that I had lost track of the passage of time . . . contentedly so. I do love the sort of life busy-ness that causes moments to stand still while hours fly by.
This particular moment finds me seated in the lounge of the girls’ dorm. Bath time followed dinner, and now the pajama-wearing pupils and I are enjoying Fiddler on the Roof—a portion of which is watched for each week’s movie night.
As for this day’s hours, they have included: daily classroom lessons [math, writing, reading], one-on-one tutoring with some of the students who need reading assistance [these we fit into slots when they are not in class, such as nap time and post-lunch play time], dining hall meals which I am happy to find still include the foods I remember from childhood, some of which I enjoy now though did not then [marmalade, marmite, and porridge, for instance], and others which I enjoyed then and still do [fresh cumquats, rice cakes, and “toads-in-holes”], humoring requests to sing songs and queries as to how many languages I can speak, jumping [speedily!] into a still icy-cold swimming pool . . . and other activities I cannot recall just now.
I still have not found the occasion to finish unpacking. Some of my belongings are in disarray, and laundry is not done. But happily, these things that normally would bother me do not at the moment. Rather, I am looking forward to another day and, now, content to go to bed with the “practical" work left undone :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

lusaka morning

The day awakes, here in Zambia.


Just a quick travel update today, as I have a moment of internet access . . .
After a 2-hour Sunday shuttle ride, an 11-hour 1st-leg into Dakar, a 1-hour refueling pit-stop [alas, no chance to de-plane!], an 8-hour 2nd-leg to Johannesburg, a 2-hour layover, a 2-hour 3rd-leg into Lusaka, and a taxi-ride from the airport, I am happily settled for the night!
What a relief to have a bed, a clean face and clean feet, and a good 6 hours of sleep ahead before the final leg of the journey: the Cessna flight to the school . . .
More later :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

come, set for a spell

Thanks to the 31 photo project I finally got up the nerve to tell my neighbors how much I loved the fact that they habitually spend their early evenings enjoying the view from their front porch. I had headed out for my daily photo walk when I saw them and went over to chat. Starting to walk away, I turned back and asked if they would mind having "celebrity feet" for the day . . . they kindly obliged :-)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

traveling in style

Knowing I was going to be stuck traveling on my birthday, I took the liberty of giving myself a present . . .
A lifetime of being on airplanes has left me with a silly obsession with the First Class section. I tend to gaze longingly at those roomy seats, replenished drink glasses, and catering stewardesses, thinking If only. . . Now the truth is that the realities of First Class benefits are not the sort of things I care for all that much: it is rather the romanticized idea of it all, and the reality that I have always been a lowly Coach passenger.
So when I booked this flight, I couldn't help but notice that my number of current sky miles equated to exactly the amount necessary for an upgrade. And with the state of air travel being what it is, I figured there was little reason to hang on to these miles for some future benefits. That being decided, I booked my first ever upgraded flight and, on my birthday this year, I was a First Class traveler :-)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

all in the family

How do you begin to document a day so meaningful as the wedding of a baby brother? I have spent the day pondering the weekend festivities and wondering how in the world I can possibly convey the intense significance of this event for us all. Frankly, I cannot. So instead of making some vain effort at telling you all how wonderful my family is, how beautiful the day was, how loved the bride and groom are, I will offer a small substitute, a snippet of a memento . . .
This arbor under which the two were wed was built by my brother. It was simply one of the countless details contributed by a couple with immense creativity: every where we looked over the past few days was another thing that wowed us all with the caring attention paid to the day, to the memories, to the guests. And this carefully constructed arbor is one of those. It is one of the reasons that I am such a gut-bustingly proud big sis . . . of a handsome young groom and a stunning new sister :-)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

a pane

This one was my second door-pane installation, and decidedly better than the first. But I still have room for improvement . . . perhaps the third time will be the charm [not that I would welcome the need to replace another, mind you!]