Friday, September 2, 2011


Today was graduation for Form 4 at Ngara Secondary School, where I teach.  I don't quite understand how they graduate 3 weeks before they take the final examinations, but it was explained to me that they are celebrating being in school for four years.  Not all of them will pass the test, so at least they get to enjoy the party.

Some of the 150 Form 4 students waiting to graduate

Teachers waiting for the ceremony:  Academic headmaster, two swahili teachers, assistant headmaster, headmaster, and chairman of language department (my boss)

I got there about 8:30 a.m. and took a lot of pictures of the graduates, my teachers, preparation of the meal, etc.  About an hour in I was outside of the assembly hall talking to one of the science teachers, answering his questions about why one side of the heart is bigger than the other.  It was warm but not hot.  I started feeling a little nausea, then grayed vision, then the next thing I knew I was lying of the ground looking up at him.  I didn't think to ask him, but I think I was only unconscious for a few seconds.  He and a student helped me inside and I felt better after sitting down and drinking some water.  Classic symptoms of dehydration.  Rob keeps telling me not to try to conserve the water when it is out, and I think I will at least have to apply this to drinking water.

Meanwhile, the "show" was in progress.  Students had signed up to perform singing, rap, kickboxing demonstrations, acrobatics, dancing, and a fashion show.  Two of the teachers acted as MC's and kept things moving.  There were intermittent speeches from staff and guests.  Bree and I were both asked to speak to the graduates and gave them brief congratulations and best wishes.

I left around 1 p.m. because I was still feeling a bit woozy.  Bree left at 2:45 because the show was still going on and no sign of lunch in sight.  It has been scheduled for 1 so the students could take a break and come back for the disco from 4 to 7.

Swahili teacher Juliana cries as she peels onions for graduation dinner

Students peel and mash garlic


Students preparing plantains for frying

When Bree got home, I showed her how to do the malaria test, which I did to make sure there was nothing more serious going on with me.  It is kind of like a blood glucose test, and many "lay" people are squeamish about the needle stick.  My test was negative, which was a relief.  A lot of drinking water and napping, and hopefully I will be recovered tomorrow.

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