Monday, 17 September 2012

First day at school

Monday September 17th

I’m not ashamed to say that yesterday was spent chilling.  I got settled with the kindle and only moved at dinner time and am I glad I did because today was shattering.

This morning I was showered, dressed, fed, watered and had spent two hours on the computer by 7:30 as I swung my leg across a ladies bike for the first time in many years.  Yes I could have swung my leg through but people were watching and I didn’t want to spoil the impression I had given of a rugged macho figure. The bike was courtesy of the YMCA for their best client and you’ll see what I mean about macho!!

 I set off on the bike the 3km to the school with a little wobble that gradually steadied as I wended through the wood that cut the corner to the main road.  Fine when I met the main road; fine as I turned off the Pangani road towards the school; not fine when I saw the hill in front of me and realised that the school was at the very top by the radio masts.  It didn't seem as steep perched on the back of Denis' motorbike!

This was going to be a walking long slog.  Thankfully I was soon joined by a young man who couldn’t have been out of school long himself and he kept me company as I toiled upward.  I can’t speak for the city dwellers but certainly everybody in Pangani I’ve met has been so friendly since I got here and can’t do enough for me.

I mounted the bike again as I turned off the road into the school grounds, hoping to convince people I had ridden all the way, and then noticed assembly had started, as the whole school was gathered round the flag pole listening to one of the teachers.  I thought that if I got off my bike I could sneak past without anyone noticing me.  I failed miserably, must have been the bright shirt. I’ll know in future that lessons start at 08:00 but school starts ten minutes earlier.

The deputy head showed me to a desk in the staffroom and I started to look at the timetable I had been given.

The Staffroom

I had only been timetabled for two of the nine daily lessons today but Mr Bakali soon explained that they would like me to teach some computing to small groups as in May they had taken possession of a laptop, so  at least I could fill my day working out a scheme of work.  In the meantime I took some photos around the school.

Classrooms for Form I and Form II

Classrooms for Form III and Form IV


I spent a happy 80 minutes with Class III doing Tally charts and then started on some I.T. exercises.  I managed to complete a couple of these but finding that the laptop did not come with a printer I left early to go into town to the internet café to print my work.

Sounds easy.

My first discovery was that the hill had to be walked down as well, at least the top part, as even with full pressure on both brake levers the bike insisted on obeying the law of gravity.  If I could not hold it at walking pace there was no way I could stop it as it picked up speed so, much to the delight of a few onlookers, I walked until the worst of the slope had gone

My second discovery was that whoever measured the distance as 4km to town must have had a good night the day before.  I exaggerate, but it felt like ten to somebody who had not been on a bike for over ten years.  Eventually I found the internet printed my sheets (TzS4000 for four printouts! That’s two pints!) and started the long wind home.  Another cold shower, a walk round to Denis’ to report that I have survived and it certainly looks like an early night is going to be the rule of the day.


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