First week of October! The highlight of the week-end was probably the movie theater, where we saw No time to die few days before the French premiere! I might be in the 50 poorest country in the world, but James Bond wouldn’t let down any country of the Commonwealth!
Monday started after a rainy night, a first since my coming to Lusaka. I was expecting some disturbance, as any rain in some African countries can lead to landslides, where fragile shelters could be impacted. However, the roads to Chikumbuso were perfectly drained and even the chaotic red earthy path going to school was not impacted.
When I arrived around 8am at the school, the kindergarten kids were not in their classroom, which door was closed. So I went to see the other classrooms, until I arrived in the 1st Grade, and here were the smallest kids, sitting and waiting on the carpet, whereas the 1st grade children were sitting behind their desks. It seems that Christine was not present once more, attending a funeral. But no back-up plan seemed to be in place this time… The time to find the key with the help of the other teachers, and off we went, I took all the kindergarten back to their classroom. Ah… remember when I said how angelic these faces were when Christine was teaching them? In a matter of minutes, I got a classroom full of little devils… My natural “authority” as the only adult in the class went to the drain, when the kids understood I couldn’t speak Nyanja, their local dialect. It was getting noisier and noisier when I tried to make them write the date, then I gave up on the writing, as some kids didn’t find their notebook, some were unhappy with their sitting, some were teasing the others, some were crying… I thought that telling a story with an illustration book would be nicer to everyone, myself included. Having all the kids getting up from their desks to sit down on the carpet took a little time as they all removed their shoes before sitting there. Hopefully, Angela the librarian arrived to help. Teaching discipline amongst the youngest kids was certainly not the easiest. But they still remained the cutest! After the story, time to play Lego:
At 10:30, I switched to the Grade 2 class. Faggie was running the class as usual and I really loved her motivation once more. She was the first teacher who proposed something new for these infamous multiplication tables the kids had so much difficulty to learn: she created a game called “Baazi!”. Gathering all the kids who sat next to each other counting one figure each, the objective was simple: at very multiple of the multiplication table learnt (today was “4”), instead of saying it like the other numbers, the kid had to say “Baazi” to stay in the game. It worked very nicely, and the kids seemed to like it a lot. Let see if they know their multiplication tables better in few weeks…
It was time for lunch, and:
With the famous little fish “Capenta”:
Tuesday 5th October is an off day for local schools, they have the Teachers’ day. I enjoyed my day off too! And at Caroline’s house, another little project started: getting three laying chicken to get some fresh eggs. Which means we had to build a little chicken house in the garden. I extrapolated my architect skills (haha!) and the project looks like this:
Capex: 2500 kwachas (130€). The return on investment will take less than a year!
And as I was getting home by foot from the nearest Shoprite (equivalent of Carrefour I would say), I stopped to buy a small wooden birdhouse. Now, the gardener had everything to build the whole chicken place!
Wednesday started with Grade 4. Their teacher Adelaïde didn’t seem to have a good day, and the mood was rather icy when I entered the class. Turning her back to the class for the first 30 minutes, she was writing multiplication tables till 6, while students were reading aloud some random texts one after another with many difficulties. It was uneasy to watch but I stood still as Adelaïde didn’t ask for my assistance this time. Then once she finished copying on the blackboard, she made the whole class read the multiplication tables. This Grade 4 seemed disheartened. I was thinking that it was not an easy task to be a good teacher every day. Adelaïde, 40 years old single mother of 3 children from 9 to 15, was not having a blast right now…
Which was not the case of the Reading class this week! I arrived just on time to start a quiz prepared by Mercy. The idea was to answer questions on mathematics, and she made 2 groups: girls vs boys. The whole session was very animated and fun, as the kids were rather competitive. Boys were at their advantage as they were 12 when the girls were only 9. Anyway, it ended up with the boys being obviously much better with addition, multiplication, and division than the girls.
On Thursday, I was surprised to see Angela the librarian teaching the Grade 5. Maria was also attending a burial. As it was again multiplication tables, I introduced the game created by Faggie earlier in the week, and the kids seemed to have much fun playing it, like the Grade 3 too with their teacher Angela (not the librarian!). Faggie was getting famous with her game!
Angela’s class Grade 3 was a very homogeneous class. Angela created a very good atmosphere giving confidence to the whole class, and it showed as they were participative. For the English session, the theme turned around jobs. When I asked what their parents were doing, all of them started their answer with ‘’My mother is…”. Not a single kid spoke about a father.
On this 3rd Friday, I arrived at the time when Monica was asking the pupils of Grade 1 to draw a keyboard and a mouse. I got myself to the blackboard and started drawing them… the most important was to see all the alphabet and the numbers. Well, I was not unhappy with the result:
This time, the little Emmanuel was still very slow, but succeeded to copy fast enough what was on the board.
Then this Friday, I especially went to visit Mary’s home as I started sponsoring her and her family. Christine escorted us at 1pm.
Mary’s mother was asked before of course and she agreed on our planned visit. Mary was getting 4 years old within few days, but this was how I learnt she was going home alone. Even if it was only 150m from the school…
Random, but nice to see in the garden:
Merci Sabine pour ton témoignage poignant!