First days of school

Before school started the boys were scheduled to do an entry test in their respective grades to see whether it was the appropriate level. Nicolas (9) did not have any challenges, understanding most of the English and showing relative good reading skills, even though he has not read a significant amount of English book. The teacher was pleased and gave us the thumbs up for standard four, putting him into the appropriate grade for his age. Robin (6) struggled a bit with the language, but the teacher thought he was good enough for standard one. Relieved that both boys had a spot in their respective grade we then had to get uniforms sorted. School uniforms being new to the boys they found it quite exciting. When getting uniforms they were informed of the dress code and the consequences should they not abide. Forgetting your cap at home means sitting in the shade outside the headmaster’s office at break time! Luckily they are very lenient on the foot wear and may even go barefoot, which is quite the relief when temperatures are way above 30C. The excitement of the first day of school was big and when the day finally arrived the boys were ready. A mixed feeling of excitement and fear was easily visible. Of course we, the parents, were excited too on how their first days would go and how they would handle the new challenges ahead. School bags packed, cool boxes ready and the uniform in place we headed off to school. Arriving at the school with hundreds of other cars and kids scurrying into the school premises.

When the bell rang they all lined up in front of their class rooms to greet their teacher, before the girls marched in first.

We left the boys in the hands of their teacher and fellow students while we dropped Matilda (3) off in kindergarten. I spent the rest of the day getting papers sorted, certifying documents and finding out what else needs to be done before I can submit our application for work and residence permits. We picked up the boys early with great anticipation and were relieved to hear that they had had fun and were looking forward to the next day.

At the parents’ meeting we were informed how things worked here. We were a bit stunned by the strictness and competition, but it seemed to be handled in a fair manner. The teachers informed us of the consequences of not listening or misbehaving and that there were prizes for the best students at the end of the year. Coming from Norway we are not used to academic competition from first grade. In addition the kids need to qualify for the school’s team by going through trials. This was different from what we are used to. In Norway, by law everyone is included in teams, whereas here you have to show yourself worthy. First graders do not join in this, but Nicolas had swimming trials with the whole school watching and cheering. Though he was quite nervous in the morning we were very happy to hear hat he had made the school team when we picked them up, representing the under 10 team. The first zonal gala being in two weeks, where he can qualify for the northern Botswana schools team. Nicolas being a sportsman and loving competition has been training every day on his own before and after the trials. It seems he is motivated and determined to make the northern team!

Friday came and as is custom here there is an assembly for the whole school. National anthem and school song to be sung. The week’s birthday kids receiving a lollypop and the headmaster sharing information.

With the weekend here we are looking forward to spending the days together and recharging the batteries for a new week. Hoping to get the application done and submitted by the end of next week. Exciting weeks ahead. May we stay or will we leave again? The uncertainty definitely adding some spice to everyday life!