Sunday, 20 September 2015

I'm BACK !

Little did I know, when I composed my last Blog in February, that I was in no way on the road to recovery! I was in fact on a road that led to further sickness and ultimately to the surgeon's knife.
So now in some ways there is less of me, but in other ways there is more.
I am having to get used to the Burundian compliment that runs along the lines of , ' Mrs Liz, you look good, you look well.' at which point I say, STOP! don't say the next sentence. But they always do.
 ' You look fat!' I know they mean well. But it is so hard to take that as a compliment!

So yes, I am back in Burundi, after an absence of 5 months. I had to leave at the end of March and face major surgery. I was an extremely unhappy, miserable, sulky bunny. You really didn't want to read any Blog I might have written at that time.
One of my biggest achievements during that time was the knitting of small cardigans. Despite much encouragement to branch out and knit a variety of articles, I persisted in knitting the same cardigan over and over again. It gave me a kind of anchor in a life that otherwise felt like I was floating in limbo. To date I have produced 30 cardigans. I am still in possession of 28, as I am struggling with the concept of giving away. I like counting them, arranging them in various colour orders, and so on and so forth. I know. I can be very sad sometimes.
Another achievement was the watching of the whole 10 Seasons of Stargate SG1 and 5 Seasons of Fringe. Probably not really something that can be classed as an achievement, but I managed it. It did mean that there were points during March and April, where I struggled to hold on to reality. I started expecting aliens to appear in front of me at any minute. Worried that I might not actually be me, I might be myself from an alternate universe!

But here I am back in Burundi. Things have changed here in many ways, both personally and nationally. I will stick to commenting on the personal rather than the national!
I left in March a very frustrated and disappointed Year 6 teacher. Absolutely devastated that I wouldn't be able to finish the year with my class. Sadly, the school had to close not many weeks later. So ultimately I only missed two weeks of school. Lots of sad bunnies around at that time.
September finds me in a new role at The King's School. I am now the Head Teacher of the Primary school! How grown up do I have to be now?! Some days I have to pinch myself to check it's still me in my body. Some days I wonder if I have in fact accidentally walked into an alternate universe.

So far the experience has been positive. My office is situated next to Pre-school classroom. Pre-schoolers are little ones who have had their third birthday. They seem far too tiny to be in school. I've had some special times trying to placate bawling ankle-biters. One little man whose only language is chinese, spent a long time earnestly whispering in my ear and sobbing. He clearly believed I understood chinese fluently, as I nodded sagely and I kept telling him 'Mama is coming later.'
I stand in awe of these children who come to a new school and have to learn in a completely new language. I found school utterly confusing when I was 5. I distincly remember on my

Winner's first day in Nursery (Yes, his name is Winner!)
first day at school, the teacher asked , everybody to stand up. I wondered who Everybody was. It certainly wasn't me.

I think my favourite part of starting school has been the privilege of watching a very special young man finally make his way to school. His name is Enoch, but he is known as Mugisha (Blessing). He is the son of two very special teachers at The King's School. He has had to wait for the right time to begin school. As with so many times in life the saying 'every cloud has a silver lining' proves to be true. Due to all the disturbance in Burundi, only 6 children turned up at the Nursery. We have the capacity for 40. So, it is time for Mugisha to come and 'bless' us.  On some levels Burundian culture struggles to cope with those who are deemed 'different'. For many reasons, such children remain at home and shut away from society. Some of the reasons are purely practical. There is no such thing as disabled access in Burundi. The world is a  dangerous place if you find it diffcult to walk.
So it was, on Wednesday that Mugisha made his way up the drive of the Nursery, for his first day at school.I have a feeling that Mugisha is going to bring more to our lives than we can imagine possible.

Debbie the out-going Head, was renown for her ability to identify and name every child in the school. So I felt obliged to begin the process of achieveing the same feat.
One huge step I have made so far. Two children I had named Mini Igor boy and Mini  Igor girl (Igor being their big brother, who I taught two years ago) I now recognise as Charles and Olga. Three boys who look identical, I now know have the names, Duncan, Keffa and Echo. But sadly, I don't know which name goes with which child. I know that there is both a boy and a girl called Praise and a boy and girl Jesse. I can identify Hilary, Harry and Haylene, but only if they all present themselves to me en-block. If they appear indiviually I am stumped. Little Tommy is actually called Davy Yan.  I keep forgetting what Little Kimberley is properly called. I'm trying very hard not to identify anybody by their hair, because I've been tripped up by that mistake too many times before. But I do know that Keyla and Keysha both have braids.

I have also moved house for the fifth time! Technically, I am house sitting this year (and dog sitting).
Back with a house mate from the year before last. Recently we were both out with friends when some beautiful little kittens came up. We both went into kniptions about how lovely they were and how we might entice them into our bags to take them home. One 'friend' exclaimed, ' Oh no ,you two are going to turn into a couple of weird old ladies if you live together aren't you!'  Well how very rude. (But possibly true) Home is so much easier,when you live with someone who also forgets why they came into the room.

Well I think that has to be it for now. Hopefully, I will get round to writing on a more regular basis now I am 'fat'!