Highnam Church Of England Primary Academy

Inspiring Everyone to Shine

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Miss Read's Trip to Mozambique

7 March 2018 (by admin)

Updates from Mozambique

Africa has time Sitting in the car for an hour and a half, traffic not moving anywhere, would usually frustrate me and make me feel angry towards what was stopping me from continuing on my route. (Angrier than someone not returning my sellotape dispenser to me would you believe!) This anger towards traffic, I would say, would be a mutual feeling shared by other drivers in the UK. But not here. Not in Africa. On our journey back from our quick visit to Zimbabwe (where I had to sort visa document things), standstill traffic greeted us when we approached a closed bridge. In order to get front row seats to understand what was happening, we meandered the car (size of a jeep – although I felt like I was driving a 60 seater coach!) through the side streets which were crammed full of people moving in all directions. After thanking God that I didn’t run over anyone’s foot, child or mangoes, we somehow made it to the front of the queue to discover a crane lifting up a crashed trailer from below the bridge. We were sat there for an hour and a half, but it felt more like a brief 10 minutes. No drivers were getting angry, me included, no drivers were getting impatient, me included and no drivers had their engines on, me included. I seemed very happy to wait. To wait, and to watch. Puzzled to why I wasn’t feeling a sense of road rage, I, with the help of a new friend, soon realised why… Africa has time. And that’s what I am understanding that I have more of here. In the UK, I might have had more ‘things’: a television, a car, bags of skittles, a shower cap, a sellotape dispenser etc. But here, I am realising I have more time. Time which I am able to decide what to do with. Rather than a routine that decides for me what I am doing with my time. I’m not trying to convince you that an African clock has more hours on it. Definitely not. But I am realising that I came here from a daily rhythm which was crammed full, as crammed as those streets I drove through! So initially, it felt abnormal and frustrating to have time because I wanted to ‘do’ more, as that was what I am used to. But I’m learning that this time is fairly precious! I can manage the time, rather than time managing me. I have time. Time to learn. Time to watch. Time to talk. Time to listen. Time to read. Time to cook. Time to walk. Time to be thankful. Time to write. Time to talk to my mum. Time to bake avocado brownies. Time to call friends back in the UK. Time to be annoyed at the cat. Time to sit with the new puppy. Time to watch the incredible lightning storm. Time to shower 3 times in a day because of the 32 degree heat. So like I said, one thing I can and have been using my time to do is to learn. I’m continuing to learn Portuguese. There has been small steps of success such as: explaining to the new teacher that we have a new timetable for the week, understanding the youth volunteer tell me she starts school at 6.30am and leading a dance club in which when I said ‘step forward’ the children did so. Hurrah! Of course I won’t forget to mention the not so victorious times with my Portuguese…which has involved many awkward conversations where I COULD NOT understand one word! I’ll confess, I just pretended that I understood. (Let’s hope no one told me anyone died!) My time has also been spent learning other skills, some more useful than others perhaps… learning how to drive on the Mozambican roads, learning directions around the town, learning how to hold a live chicken, learning how to whisk cream at the same time as keeping it cool in the 32 degree heat and learning how to tempt the pesky cat out of my bedroom (is it too obvious how I feel towards the cat!?). Other ways I am using my time… I am beginning to manage two programs currently running here: ‘the Graduate Program’ and the weekly kids club, called ‘Mingo, Mingo’. The graduate program is for primary aged children to voluntarily attend once they have finished at the local primary school. Children only go to school for half days here, so they have the other half ‘free’ and many seem very willing to come and learn more! I’m not the one teaching, like I used to teach you. There is a teacher from the local community who teaches the literacy lessons. I’ll be working with him to give him ideas, feedback and observe his teaching. I’m yet to observe anything as of yet – apart from his very shiny shoes! Teaching and learning looks very different here compared to what you and I are used to. There are no iPads, no computers, no interactive whiteboard, no laminated resources, not many books. So I’m sure it will take me time to adjust – here’s to hoping I have some ideas to develop the teaching and learning! As I finish writing to you, I must report on the avocados which have also been a highlight for me this month. I entered the kitchen one day to see a sack (the size of Santa’s) completely ram jam full of avocados! It felt like Christmas really had come early! After a quick celebration and a google search, inspiration took off and triggered the avocado creations: smoothies, brownies, guacamole and crushed avo. As I go into my third month of living here, I’m planning to have more Portuguese tutoring, teach some more dance clubs and work with the local teacher, oh and spend more time with this pup, Winston. There is a right time for everything. Everything on earth has its special season.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1