Celebrate Good Times

2014-12-05 10.30.13

View of the school lot

Today was the children’s last day of school before summer break. For the next month, the children and teachers will be off. The children who live at the school will wait for government money to arrive at the school, then the principle will give the teachers money to take the children home. Some of the children live over 12 hours from Dar.

When I arrived this morning, I was expecting to see a special ceremony or song, but all the children were busy working. The school is set on a large plot of land where some smaller crops are grown. They even have a goat. The children do chores from 8-9am every morning. From what I can see, this means the girls are washing clothes and cleaning, and the boys are hauling water and playing. The children and teachers were busy closing up the classrooms: cleaning out cupboards, sweeping floors, etc. I went around to talk to the kids and visit with teachers. I repeatedly asked about any special events today to celebrate the closing of school, but no one knew of anything.

The goat's last moments

The goat’s last moments

On the way, I saw the children chasing the goat, which is strange because usually they ignore it. I ran into my friend, Mr. Uchele. Our conversation went:

Him: “Sara, today we will kill the goat!”

Me: “What? Did you I hear you right?”

Him: “Yes” [in sign language- puts his fingers up like horns, then makes a slitting motion across his neck]

There wasn’t much to be lost in translation.

I headed over to the field, where the children were feeding the goat it’s last meal. One of the teachers arrived wearing an overcoat and carry a sharp knife, and the rest is history. For the next hour, some of the older boys and the teacher skinned and cleaned the goat. The meat was brought to the cooks to be served for a special lunch, and the stomach was made into a soup.

Great group of kids!

Great group of kids!

I know this may be difficult for some of you to read at home, but this was not a sad occasion. Most days at the school, the children eat porridge for breakfast, bread with tea at 10am, lunch consisting of a combination of rice, beans, and ugali, and the same for dinner. Eating meat is a special occasion and a much needed source of protein. The children did not watch or actively avoid watching the slaughter. To them, it is part of life. For me, it explains why the children were so apathetic to the goat.

Today marked the end of my time at the school, which has been challenging to say the least, but the children were always uplifting, even during the most frustrating times.  They were always willing to help, wanting to play, or simply offering big hugs. Saying good-bye to them was difficult, but I am happy knowing they had a special lunch!

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5 Responses to Celebrate Good Times

  1. Lolly Wigall says:

    So happy you are still traveling. Gwen had her baby girl Jolene.