24 Jul 2011

Diary of Ale, Abugida 2, 6 July

 Today my ex babies changed classrooms, they will move up to the “melon class” which is where our room is located. So we are now neighbours. You should have seen them, they are such a scream! I hope my new pupils give me a morning off so that I can spend a day with them.  

The day has got off to a good start as Jonás, who looks after the storeroom, has decided to take care of us. He turned up in the classroom with hot water for tea or coffee and bread rolls. Very enjoyable!

Anyway, finally the NEW LITTLE TODDLERS ARRIVED!! As it was the first day I didn’t expect many would come, not until the news got around. However there was only one missing! A total of FORTY THREE sweet little children!
When I saw so many mothers with so many children I nearly fainted. We hadn’t thought about using the new classroom as we didn’t think many would turn up and we had to urgently relocate to our former “operations office” which just about says it all.  Zeri took the register at the entrance and the mothers left their children with their teachers.
Then the bawling started! Bawling multiplied by forty three. They were extremely dirty, the poor things. And they were dressed in rags. Hygiene was our first priority and we bathed them ALL. What an ordeal! They were completely scared but they gradually calmed down bit by bit. Warm bath, cream, massage with oil and clean clothes. You can imagine how good they started to look and smell.

I just could have done with a bottle of Nenuco cologne! I instantly fell in love with one of those children who attach themselves to you as if they were pieces in a game of Tetris and cry if you leave them. I almost tied her onto my back! I don’t know her name yet. Nobody knows what anybody is called! We had clothes for about 80 children so you can imagine the chaos. I kept hearing “GIRL SMALL!!, BOY BIG!!”. And if it was Carol who was asking, I would hear “GIVE ME CLOTHES FOR A PRINCESS!” Ha ha! We distributed clothes amongst the children, trying to get things to match, putting nappies on, dressing them and... mission accomplished! They looked gorgeous and really smart! 

Afterwards we gave them food and most of them wolfed it down. We didn’t do anything else with them that day, they are still in the settling in period. The mothers were delighted to find them so clean and fresh smelling, well fed and happy (they had stopped crying by then!).  I have really enjoyed seeing such lively and efficient carers who were really absorbed in their work. Of course there were some mistakes but we all make them and we will correct them as we go along. It was nothing like last year. Nobody felt stressed out, they all know that the crying only lasts for three days. They sort out the bathroom, the food, they help one another. The cleaners and cooks also came to the babies’ classroom to help out as we were carrying two little ones at a time and we couldn’t manage to hold three.

Then we had a meeting of the teaching team with Zeri and all the carers.  The day was given a positive evaluation and they all said that the time had flown by.  Good to hear! They are asking us for nappies, cups, curtains for the classroom, waste paper baskets, buckets for the bathroom, socks... We will buy what is necessary and will ensure that our little babies grow healthy and happy in the safe haven of Abugida. We have told the carers that they must attend a compulsory training course for nursery school helpers in Ethiopia every afternoon until we leave. And the response has been... can other school teachers come along too? I am amazed! Where have they got so much enthusiasm from this year? We have promised to give them a certificate in exchange. Ha ha!

When everything was finished one of the carers of the new babies (Kebebuch) went to see the melons (my little ones from last year, who have been her pupils this year). They showered her with kisses! It’s such a lovely thing to see and just shows that the little ones feel happy and secure and are growing up healthy and happy in this delightful little school.

A shower is an absolute necessity (after getting covered in so much baby pee) with cool water (the water heater is broken) and then we have to wash our clothes. It’s now raining, what a nuisance. It means that we haven’t been out, it was getting late (more than late, night time, the night falls early here), everywhere was muddy... We fancied getting some fresh air but it wasn’t possible. We stayed in and used the time to plan our duties, shopping lists and to organise the classes.

Apart from that, we’re healthy, the bugs have started biting me again so I sprayed myself with insect repellant (the bugs don’t even go near Carol ...once they’ve finished with me they’re not hungry anymore), we have a good meal, we sleep well and we are well looked after... and we know that the time, money and effort invested last summer and this summer really is productive.
Sweet kisses to you all

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