I am getting into an early morning routine of letting my porridge cook whilst I fill the water filter and unlock the rather tricky padlock on the front door. It's actually a gate. All the windows and doors have metal bars. We are sure we don't actually need them but it is the security provided and is therefore reassuring. Most houses don't have doors, but then they don't have laptops, cameras, Kindles and cash either.
I'm beginning to look forward to the Morning Devotion outside the office at 8am. It is a very civilised way to start the day with all the staff. A short bible reading and the others all sing. I can't imagine ever knowing the words. Little bits of news & notices follow.
I was reading handbooks for headteachers and supervisors with fascination when a little face appeared at the door. We never did discover his name but a small boy spent most of the morning sitting at one of the vacant desks in our office, drawing with a borrowed pen on a piece of A4 paper that is issued out of a locked cabinet as if it were gold leaf. Our new friend has Special Needs which was not difficult to ascertain and also he wore a blue shirt that was confirmation of his SEN, apparently. He smiled broadly and didn't answer any questions he was asked in English or Dagaare. After a couple of hours and a sachet of drinking water, he hopped off his seat, took his drawing and left. There used to be a Special Unit attached to one of the schools I visited yesterday across the field. It is no longer staffed so the children in blue shirts visit classrooms in other schools..............or our office!
All the children are wonderfully polite, interested and cheerful. having visited many of them in school yesterday, I am now greeted in English "Good Afternoon, how are you?" instead of "Mansala,", yelled from any distance. Mansala means Master as well as White Person, so this development is extremely welcome.
At the end of the school day - 2pm, ALL the children walk home in groups or alone, whatever their age. None are met by adults. A whole gaggle of very young Kindergarten in pink passed me in the market, heading home. When I asked them how they were, they all answered "I am fine". This must be the first lesson of English in all schools and they love to test it live on us.
Bean & veg stew for lunch .....and dinner......and probably lunch tomorrow too. Actually, it is very tasty. I hope I shall be able to find the same beans when I get home. The market only really has tomatoes, onions, beans, rice and a few peppers at this time of year. mangoes will be ripe soon and then the rainy season will allow more variety to our diet. We really do eat in season.
I am attending some Headteacher INSET next week as well as a meeting on Friday. It's all getting more interesting the more I see, hear and read. I'm still not sure where to begin, but SEN children wandering the neighbourhood could be a start.