All Was Not Lost

“A mouse never shares a dish with a cat.”
– African Proverb

This morning, I observed Margaret’s class, mostly students aging 12-15. They practiced greetings, like “good morning/afternoon/evening, sir/madame.” There were 66 children in the class, and I felt like an awkward American when I broke every piece of chalk trying to write on the blackboard. I had even more trouble attempting to draw stick figures, but all was not lost. Students were earnest and they listened, and they genuinely wanted to write well, using rulers to great straight lines in their notebooks. But alas, many students couldn’t see the blackboard because of the sun’s glare—although we have this problem in America, too—the lights shine on the white board.

Margaret has taught me that a good teacher is a good teacher — no matter your circumstances. She is fun, enthusiastic, smiling, and manages to make sure every single student is attentive.

Later, Bibi and I taught greetings to some students, much like the greetings the form one students in Margaret’s class had done. When some students came to the front to practice, they were met with applause. After class, Bibi and I sat outside, practicing our Swahili.

The supplies here are attention-getting, if simply because of how teachers and students manage with so little. Multiple teachers share one book (for example, during Form One orientation  share the few copies of Baseline), often having to scramble to find one before their class begins. And unlike in America, where teachers often have their own classrooms and students rotate, here the teachers rotate, moving from Form Three A to Form Three B.

Brendan continued to work in science classes but is considering working at the kitchen, too, which Allie has been doing. They head to the kitchen together after lunch, when Bibi and I work on lesson plans. After lunch (delicious omelettes drenched in tomato sauce, toast and PB, fresh mango that Edward bought this morning), the rain began, announcing its arrival on the tin roof.

Last night Mohamed had told us tonight would bring no stars, and he was right. We worried about Allie and Brendan out there in the rain, but eventually they arrived safely home.

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