Saturday, December 3, 2011

I aged (in a matter of hours) at a nursery school.

Before you read this, you need to find a very loud PA system, turn it up almost to full volume, and then sit in front of the largest speaker.  THAT way you can  endure experience what I did at a special boy’s graduation.



The fabulous speaker right over my head

Did I mention this was a NURSERY school graduation?!!!


Ayiko Lean on (Florence's son)

Actually, the music only lasted through the eating time, and that was over within 45 minutes, so you can turn the music down now.



I think I’ve told you before about the seven-hour long wedding extravaganzas here.

This event was seven and a HALF hours long.

Did I mention it was for a NURSERY school?

To be fair, I will tell you I only attended three hours of it.

It all started at 8:30 in the morning, when they arrived at the school.

At 10am, they took random transportation to town.

At 11am, they started marching through town (every school’s students march through town on the day they have their end-of-school program).

I had requested a phone call when all the marching was through.

See?  You just THOUGHT I was dumb.

I arrived at 1pm, while they were serving lunch (which I had already eaten).

I didn’t mean to do that, but you see, this is Africa.

The marching was supposed to be over at 10:30, when lunch was going to be promptly served.  

Well…when I got a call at 11 that said they had JUST started marching, I decided to nourish my body at home.  Leftover pizza from Friday night was sounding good!



The MC (which was hired especially for this occasion) read through the program of events for the day.  There were about 13 items, and then he said these very words:

“It seems like very many things on the program, but they can be done in about 10 minutes.”

I laughed OUT LOUD! 

But no one else did.

I was the ONLY one.

(*insert crickets chirping*)

Oops!

Oh well.  I stand out anyway for obvious reasons.

At 2pm, the program started.

The head teacher got up to say, “I don’t have anything to say except ‘welcome.’”

Five minutes later (after reminding parents to only send one child per motorcycle to school in the morning), she finished.

Then the power went out….

Loud generator started.

The kids were all called up and sang:
“Tribe, tribe, tribe.  We are many tribes.  We shall live together in a big family.”

After they said this, one child would introduce himself, “My name is Ayiko Leanon Handsome. I am Lugbara.  I live in Awindiri district. Emi ngoni?”

Then “Tribe, tribe, tribe,” again, and then another child.  Understand?

There were a LOT of kids there (even though only 8 were graduating).


All the non-graduates off to the side

It’s interesting to know a little language now.  I could hear the English and then understand some of the Lugbara translations.

When the school's director would say, “You are all special.”

He was translated as saying, “You are all different.” (because there is no word for special in Lugbara.

Another time he said, “We are open to your criticism.”

The translator said in Lugbara, “We are ready for your criticism.”

Oh so slight, but different.   I think translating must be pretty difficult…you have to think on your toes.




The last teacher that was recognized was a girl from Germany who is volunteering at the school for two years.  The speaker wanted to recognize the friends of this girl and ask them to wave. 

The young man two rows behind me waved (the only other white person there), but the camera man walked over to me and took MY picture.


I’m a white girl…I came because of the white teacher, right? 

Nope, but I'll bet that's what the camera man was thinking.



The director spoke for 34 minutes (I had nothing better to do, so I timed him), granted he was being translated, so that always takes longer.

He talked about the plans to start a daycare at this school in January.  He said, “Africans don’t understand the term “daycare,” so let me tell you what it is....”

It really is a non-existent thing here….Funny, huh?



The 8 students who were graduating had to sit in the front row.  I know they were bored.

All the other children who attend the school were off to the side fighting, yelling, hitting, playing with blocks, climbing on the swings, etc., while the teachers just sat there calmly, saying nothing.

After more speeches, three kids came up to give memory verses.

One was Colossians 3:20-21, which says in the NIV, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

Now I knew this verse, and I was waiting for it, but what came out for verse 21 was this:

“Fathers, don’t be beating on your children.”

I didn't laugh out loud this time, but I wanted to.

Of course, the actual handing out of the 8 certificates took less than 5 minutes.



Prayer.

Awards.

Gifts presented.

Two round eight-inch cakes intended to feed over 100 people hacked to death so that everyone got one bite.


Cake being handed out bite-by-bite

The MC said, “My watch says it’s 2:25, and by 2:30 we must leave this place.”

It was actually 4:09.

He then said, “If your watch says something different, I don’t know what is wrong with your time.”


But he actually did wrap it up soon.  Right after he said this:

“In summary, we’ve come to the end.”


Well, let’s all say the school’s favorite quote, because I’m feeling it now in my aged bones…

Such and Such Academy.  Where learning is such good fun!”

(Italics mine...to protect the innocent).

Proud mom and son

2 comments:

Megan said...

sounds 'fun'! I can't help the sarcasm

Nancy said...

Oh my gosh, what an entertaining story. I feel like I was there. At least it was not inside a hot church with small windows and lots of people. Was his statement about his watch meant to be humor? The cake sounds yummy. ;)
The total disregard for time in Africa drives me crazy. I told Becky that I think that when the missionary arrives, they start calling and only then do they begin their walk. After all, there time at home is not to be wasted.