Her First Date

I clearly remember P’s fifth grade presentation with a new girl. I took photos. Friendships formed. My daughter and her friend B impressed me, their History presentation was seamless, they had obviously worked well together. This was over a year ago, now middle schoolers their world seemed to have changed.

P was invited for B’s birthday dinner.  She roped me in on discussions about the evening.

“Should I wear this?”

“Mum do you think this will be okay?’

‘I have decided I am wearing my loose denim pants.”

A few days later, the change occurred. Two church dresses were folded neatly, ready to pack. This time I did the asking.

“Why have you changed your clothes?”

“B said it is going to be formal so…”

Meanwhile, communication with B’s Mum was ongoing. There were WhatsApp messages back and forth, coordinating how P, B and A (their friend) would get to B’s house from school as well as the time and place P would be picked up after the dinner.

Throughout the planning the excitement that ensued was overwhelming. there were continuous discussions about the day, clothes, presents and the bus trip to B’s house. I noticed a big change when we went shopping for a present, P was buying grown up gifts. A strawberry cheese cake scented face mask. This made me think how grown P had become.

In the evening, my brief encounter with the girls and B’s mum when I picked P up at the restaurant was heartwarming. The girls were totally transformed from the school girls in sweaty tee shirts and jogging bottoms into mini ladies ready to face the world. It was a little humorous seeing them. Young girls transformed into young ladies.

P in her dark floral shimmery dress with spaghetti straps, B. the birthday girl, in a flowing pastel number and C. had on a glitzy black dress with shiny low heeled shoes. Their faces and gestures said it all. I hugged each of them and wished B a super birthday. At that time P. was bobbing like an excited puppy.

“I feel as if I am going to burst,” she announced happily.

P’s narration continued all the way home. They had experienced an evening out with B’s parents and felt really grown up as they sat at their private table, feeling rather independent.

screen-shot-2017-12-02-at-6-09-23-am-1.png

The Petting Zoo

Walking towards the petting zoo, there were smells of dung. We knew we were almost there and had a choice of jumping down the short wall or walking on the man-made pavements to the many thatched roofed huts we could see ahead of us. That is where the tropical animals resided.

Somewhere in the rainforest where a beautiful hotel had been built. A habitat circled by lush green bamboo bushes had been created on the grounds of the hotel set in a few acres of land. This is a natural attraction for little ones and entreats families to a different kind of experience that connects them to nature.

On entering the area, we were attracted by two moving boulders, huge tortoises. I quickly got out my phone to take photos. I thought this could be a good location for a field trip. I asked our guide;

“Do schools visit this zoo?”

He responded,

“Yes, sometimes, the little ones come with their teachers.”

That made me think about the units that could offer us the opportunity to visit such a hidden location. I also thought about the topics that we could be studying connected to animals. I continued to take many photographs. When I took the  photograph of the leg of the huge tortoise. I told my sister, I would ask my students to guess which animal this could be.

That actually reminded me of a picture book I had read to my Lower Elementary students, years ago. I look for teaching opportunities wherever I go. The power of field trips, cannot be underestimated in giving students real life experiences. My daughter and niece were able to feed the monkeys with sliced pawpaw, the tortoises with leaves and cuddled the fat, furry puppies.

On our way out, there was the most beautiful attraction. A peacock, very charming and proud. I had seen one in a distance once, but close up this was just enchanting, it’s ornate feathers spread out illuminating the environment. I left feeling the charm of nature! A confirmation of what I have always believed.

IMG_6229

IMG_6211.jpg

screen-shot-2017-03-14-at-1-30-42-pm15

Clouds – a poem

“The clouds are moving,” my student announced.

“I am sure the birds can see the clouds are moving faster today,” another student shared.

“I rarely look up,” I admitted.

You often learn something when you look at the world from a child’s point of view.

I wrote a poem about the experience.

CLOUDS 

They drift gently

Like candy floss

Up above my head

The delicate light blue

 

Sitting quietly

Watching in a daze

I knew

This would happen again

 

I would

Perch here and watch

Stare at the floating cotton

Gliding secretly above

 

Why did I never do this?

In the busy-ness of the days

I will

Stop

And

Look

Up Above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patience

I have been thinking about patience and how it can aid achievement. Working on a piece of craft, I have pondered how it’s creation requires persistence and perseverance. I introduced weaving to my fourth graders, this school year and only found two students interested. I thought more hands would help complete it swiftly, but the two became one, as one of the students left Ghana with her family. We are finishing the mat row by row, strip by strip and hoping that it will soon be completed.

The fabric for weaving is cut into strips, not perfectly and it does not also require measuring as longer strips can be cut into pieces. Thin strips daintily but firmly knotted around a nail and stretched tautly across to another nail parallel to it in order to complete the row by knotting again. The space between the nails at the same side of the frame are very close, so whilst knotting your index finder scrapes the side of an already knotted nail, making it quiet uncomfortable especially if you are knotting on both sides of the frame. The discomfort, slows you down and is a little off-putting. I guess that is one of the reasons why I only have one interested helper.

I have on a few occasions considered giving up, but the more layers we’ve been able to place on the frame the more beautiful it looks and also the more attached I have become to it. I wonder if the colors selected will make it look even better. I think about color because I wove two other mats for which I tried as much as possible to combine similar colored prints, leaving one with blue as the featured color and the other red as the prominent color, they ended up looking extremely attractive.

The time required to complete making the mat has been on my mind. Patience and time are definitely related. We weave as and when possible, time flies. I guess there really is no rush to complete this beautiful piece of art. I convince myself that, “Nobody is waiting for it!”

There are many connections I can make with the thoughts above, issues in life, writing, drawing and many other topics. I believe we still need the determination to complete the job that we have started, to deliver a beautiful mat, one that is worth waiting for.

 

Thoughts

Our (fourth graders’) field trip to an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that provides parks for children and is an advocate for play, the arts and learning through play, today set me thinking deeply about giving back.

We visited them on their extensive private park in the suburb of Accra, where nature is celebrated. Large trees, plants, seesaws and climbing frames built from tree trunks, bamboo, mud walls and beautified re-useable materials lived there. Birds tweeted throughout the time we visited, a few lizards sashayed along the natural paths that swirled around the park and dry leaves flew around as if they were being sprinkled on us.

The speech made by the owner’s daughter me think about:

-What I can do for humanity.

-What I can give back in terms of my skills.

-The time I can give.

-The limited resources I have that can be shared.

-The ideas I can offer.

Whilst listening I thought how fortunate we are and had the urge to give back to my local community. This feeling was enhanced by the different projects and activities this organization partakes in. I left the speech, feeling very subdued, thinking seriously about being a philanthropist and serving the needy. They showed me it can be done and how. Serving others seemed to be a joy for this family and they had given back for many decades. Their supporters noticed the good work they had began and continued to wave their flag.

I know our students left feeling like me, appreciative of the good in humanity, especially as they also got to enjoy the space for sometime!