Friday, September 2, 2011

Teddy goes to school in Africa

School here is a little different. The teachers and the students are a little different here. Some differences are because of the place we live and some differences are due to the people.

Most days are sunny, so school, like many places here, has a lot of little outbuildings. Many places still have outhouses, some are regular nice bathrooms, but most are not. Teddy is lucky, he has a potty right in his classroom.

The days are very sunny and the nights are clear. Because there are few clouds and ever fewer days of rain, the temperature range is wide over the course of the day. There might be frost on the ground in the morning, but the day will be 75 degrees. Most people wear jackets and sweaters all day and even inside. This is because the buildings are made of cinderblock and do not have heat or air conditioning. During the day inside is often far colder than outside. Teddy’s classroom does not have heat and so he goes to class wearing a jacket and takes the jacket off to play outside.

Teddy is the only American in his class. Most likely this will happen all of the internal schools. He will grow up knowing what is like to be a minority, but will probably never get respect for that when he comes back to the states. There are so many experiences that he will have that I will not be able to relate to.

The other kids in the school and in his class are nice. Most come from expat or local, affluent families. There are other children in the class from all over the world. All of the children speak English, though not all are native speakers. He is the youngest person in the two year class, but also the tallest. There were some other things I noticed this morning that I wanted to pass on, but I can’t remember them right now.

The school campus and the children are very much what I would expect to see in a movie about Africa. There is something about the look, feel, and sound. Every school has the same morning routine: the bell rings and the kids run to class. Here it is the same, but the way the kids run from the playground to the little buildings is different from kids in the States.

The first day Teddy cried. He didn’t cry for me, he didn’t cry for Daddy, he cried for “my Josie”. “I miss my Josie”. When I talked to his teacher the next day, she said that she thought he was crying for Johannesburg. She had tried to console him by saying that Maseru was just as nice as Johannesburg. No wonder Teddy was so upset and confused after his first day of school. He definitely missed his Northeast Stars friends, but I think he will be okay at the new school.

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