Memories of School #1

I’m remembering many tiny memories as I write the #MinuteMemoirs with TeachWrite members in my notebook.

A very long hall with approximately two hundred students sitting in long rows, in their stiff, purple and white uniforms.

All four of us, contestants, stood in line facing our house members. In front of me I could see four columns with students sitting in fours for each column. I was a champion at spelling and was not going to let my house down. We had been given twelve words on the Monday to memorize for this Wednesday morning’s ‘Spelling Bee’.

I stood there, Mrs Amissah the elderly Nursery Teacher and then Elementary Deputy Principal called my name:

“Juliette,” my heart skipped a beat. My heart was pounding and I broke out in tiny beads of sweat.

“Your word today is , sophisticated.” I had a photographic memory, then.

I could visualize the word written in front of me, I spelt the word.

” Sophisticated, s o ph is ti ca ted, sophisticated”

A loud burst of applause hit my ears, my green house members started jumping up and down. Of course we had won again. I was their “sure banker,” I’m not sure where that phrase came from, but they knew that if I was there they would surely get the points they needed to win. I was shaken, the beads of sweat turned into bigger beads and my armpit was getting sweaty. It stained the edge of the armhole of my school uniform, but I was not embarrassed, I had caused a win! I mopped the sweat on my forehead with my ever present white handkerchief and walked with a sashay proudly to my seat. I knew I would do it again. This was why I got so popular at school.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

Something New

I had many ideas this morning. Thoughts of writing about gems (my children), whispers (my thoughts) or peace (to elaborate on what I wrote with Rupi Kaur in January).

Then I read this blog that shared a poetry form that caught my attention. It was made up by a Poetry Friday participant. This suddenly moved me to write something short. I scribed one (LAmiPoFri) very quickly, I ‘ paused, took a look around me and shared the moment.’

NOW

Whirr of the fan

creates it’s breeze

touches my shoulders

Cools me down

Out of the window

Sun peeps

Over the roof of

Mr. Neighbor’s house

Crow up above

Caws

That sound

repeats

Every now and then

Drawing the morn to noon.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

Our No Reward Day

When there is no reward, would you carry on regardless?

Would you take the plunge anyway?

Today our ‘Fit-bit” or the recording or collating of our walk did not work. Our 6 or 7km walk was not in vain we encouraged each other (my walking partner K and I).

“We’re still benefiting from the ‘power walk.”

The good thing though is that we have all our trails mapped out and measured. We now know where one km begins and ends and have an idea of our average pace when we take those long strides.

Walking religiously for over eight months and challenging each other with our different gadgets and Apps:

Fit bit with App on the phone

Fit Bit watch

Our Group Challenge App on the phone

All the above have held us in check, motivating us to keep striding.

So yesterday was a disappointment as we are always set to add to our annual challenge. We have calculated it so we have our weekly and monthly goals. When the App refused to reload yesterday evening, during the walk, we were surprised, this had never happened before.

We missed the sound of Ms.Somebody on the gadget, announcing at different intervals, the kilometres, pace and amount of time we had walked. We ‘ammed’ and ‘ahhed’ but chose to walk regardless. With our already mapped out course, we know approximately how many steps and kilometres we trudge daily. We made it yesterday.

Motivated not by the reward, and driven by the health benefits, we disregarded the App’s mishap. Our bodies were the winners.

We decided that we do not always need extrinsic benefits to show or push us to achieve. At 50 something, we are determined to keep walking. With our commitment, we are still leading the young’uns on our challenge. So our mantra now should be:

Even when there is no reward, we still walk.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

End of the Vacation

Saying goodbye is one of the most difficult things to do. Especially when you are not sure when you will meet again.

This week I bid farewell to my oldest son. I should not complain as we had him stay longer after his Christmas vacation. I should say ‘fortunately’ as the one month vacation turned to three.

During this period, we bonded, chatted about all sorts, discussed and had decent arguments. I guess it was a , ‘learning more about each other time.

We lived his stresses and coping strategies whilst he attended his online lectures, group and professor meetings. He also had his final project to work on which was really taxing, with many late nights and so much focus.

Parting was emotional we held hands and prayed. I was moved and had tears rolling down my cheeks.

I will remember the times he’d pop in whilst I was teaching online at home, to just touch my hair, say good morning and whisper, asking how I was that morning.

His encouragement with everything I’m doing is so special.

What makes the parting even more unsettling is when you do not know the next time you will meet again. With all the mask wearing, tests and other protocol, travelling by air is not so appealing. This makes the parting worse.

BUT with all the online meeting places we will arrange our weekly reunion, so it does not make us feel so far apart.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

Serenity

I am missing the serenity of the beach.

I met this word in the late 1990s when a colleague shared the serenity prayer with me. I have always thought of that prayer, especially as I have lost touch with him.

The prayer he gave me was published on a tiny card. I kept this card for many years with all my other cards and travelled with it everywhere I went. This card stood out as it was the only one with words. These words were truly special.

“God grant me the serenity

To accept the things

I cannot change

Courage

To change the things I can and

Wisdom to know the difference.”

A powerful prayer. I have since enjoyed using the word serenity and mentioned the prayer to my friends. I’m glad I can use the word to describe other calm settings where one feels soothed after the experience.

I wonder if that is what the prayer was meant to do.

#SOL #SOLSC

A Forest in the City

Since we moved to our new Elementary school storey building, I have noticed something, I had never appreciated in the past.

Being on the third floor and looking down at my world, I notice many tufts of dark green: tropical trees with, “afro hair.” Trees full of foliage donning dark green healthy leaves, “bushy fros.”

These trees must be over forty years old and pop up in the narrow interspaces between buildings, in the neighbourhood.

From where I stand, I also see an expansive forest about 10 kilometres away. A dense space that meets our eyes with a thick row of dark green, welcome foliage. A habitat for many species.

It seems a forest in the middle of a city is rare as it is surrounded by tarred roads and cement buildings.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

This Morning

I am:

Suffering because of the weight of possibilities

Satisfied as I believe I can seek support

Avoiding any negative thoughts or doubts

Tired although I know I can give off my best

Hungry and looking forward to a healthy breakfast

Grateful for the numerous opportunities

Concerned about the detail required

Ready to face my LIFE now

Thank you Ms. Victor for this format.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

An Ode to My Backpack

A true blessing

You have come

to save me

From trudging

all my belongings daily

to and fro and now 

up and down 

the steep stairs

A true blessing

You take the weight 

off me, it now feels

as light as a feather

as if 

nothing lives there

This makes me 

understand why

My African mothers 

swear

By carrying their 

hefty babies 

On their backs

You’re a Godsend,

I tell my colleagues

‘Get one, use it 

and you

Will attest to it’s benefits’

My dependable backpack

‘Experience it and see’

I brag to my colleagues

‘You will surely notice

The difference’

‘Drop that basket,’ I

announce,’and pick

up a backpack’

Why did I not 

meet you earlier?

They did not tell me you 

Could make my life so

Manageable

Now that I know this

We are going to be

Together for Good!

Thank you my hardy

Friend.

#SOL21 #SOLSC

Rising to the Occasion

Today is 64 years since Ghana gained independence. In celebration of the anniversary, I chose to read a book connected to Ghana to my Saturday reading group.

Ghana Flag

I tried to find a children’s story to read to the group of local children and could not find an appropriate one.
This made me spend all my free time yesterday crafting a story to read to them.

I’m very happy about the first draft. I made the story as authentic as possible, so they could relate to the main character and settings.

I believe, in our search for solutions ones’ creative spirit is heightened, this allows one to rise to the occasion and CREATE, in my case WRITE.

#SOL #SOLSC

Silence

Sometimes we want to be alone

To swim in the sea of peace

No sound, tranquility

Only the hum of whatever is humming

Sometimes we want silence

Quietness that allows you to think

To search for your own meaning and the

Understanding of the world

Sometimes there is too much

Noise around us

It does not give us time to reflect

Re-energise our thoughts

This steals time away

Sometimes we need to find moments of

solitude, of peace and quiet

to reflect on the here and now

Serving to face the future

A future of hope and love.

#SOL21 #SOLSC