Taking Stock

Frank and I have ground to a halt. Just as well, because today it’s been pouring with rain for most of the day (the locals are deliriously happy – it’s been a long, long time since they had rain like this!). Frank’s got indigestion due to having eaten a few too many figs that we bought by the roadside and he’s sleeping it off, while I’ve got ‘blog indigestion’ – the last days have been so intense that I feel the need to write, to digest, to sort out photos etc., before we head off into more adventures.

We also managed to use the wrong tap, filling our tank with murky river water, so we have to empty it and clean it out, which involves removing the bed and our several layers of dance floor, before we can get to the tank. While we’re at it, we give all Emma’s nooks and crannies a good dusting and sort through our food stocks.

One of the nice things about living in such a small space is that you can actually do your whole house from top to bottom in the space of a few hours! In the evening, we treat ourselves to dinner at the camp site’s restaurant.

The next morning is taken up by more admin and sorting, but by early afternoon, the sun is out again and we go for a walk…

It seems impossible to even just go for a stroll without running into another adventure. Adjoining to the farm is the local school (Tanafnite high school), and we start chatting to the kids who are waiting outside for their afternoon lessons. We ask to meet the English or the French teacher, and the kids introduce us to them. Would it be ok to visit the school, maybe look in on a lesson? Oh, no, this is not easy, we need to ask permission from the government and the headmaster is not here, this needs to be authorised from above…

However, we hang around a bit, so a few phone calls are made and we are allowed in, for one hour only. The class we are visiting has about 25 teenagers, a quarter of whom are girls. The class room is bare and cold, I can’t see any form of heating anywhere and the door is left wide open. Everyone just keeps their coats on. There is a lively attention for the lesson, most children are really engaged and even those who aren’t actively speaking out are still paying attention. They’ve only had 2 months of English lessons but they are firing off sentences about where they live, how old they are, what their favourite subjects are etc. The teacher has a lovely, energetic way of accompanying his words with gestures, so that even new words become clear. Later we have a bit of time to talk to him about the school. It is in a very rural setting, many of the children’s homes are far away so they have to board. The English teacher thinks it is partly due to the fact that they offer boarding that this school is so successful, with a much lower drop-out rate than usual. He leaves us with a comment that if there is anything we think might be useful for the school, they would be glad to receive it. We take an address. It would be nice to send a parcel from home one day, filled with books, so if you have any books that you think might interest a teenager from the countryside, with very basic knowledge of English, do keep them and we’ll collect and send them next summer. We’re looking for things that would relate to their world, not just to life in a city.

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For more photos on this chapter, including some lovely shots of the peacocks at the farm where we stayed, click here


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