Into School Finally
On my first day in the local high school here I was introduced to Grade 3 A teacher Miss Fareesha. I will be assisting her for the next 3 weeks. As a class teacher, she handles most of the subjects the children are taught, except Islamic studies and Dhivehi – the local language. As the children walked into class and found me there, hushed whispers started till the first one of them asked me my name & then all the remaining 28 of them followed. I kept answering them till Miss Fareesha wrote my name down in a corner of the white board that seemed to satisfy them.
Momentarily sated, their questions were not yet done, and they cropped up anytime Miss Fareesha stopped talking. What is my father’s name? What is my mother’s name? Am I muslim? Why am I not muslim? Am I single? Answering their unending barrage of questions made up most of my first two hours in the class.
I sat in on my first lesson on Time – where the children were learning to tell time in words & numbers. A combination of lots of graphic drawing along with simple, short explanations. Miss Fareesha is a lovely lady, with lots of patience & a calm personality well suited to handling 8 year olds who run amok with curiosity, and so much energy all day. The second lesson was on Environmental Science where the kids learnt about corals & how to preserve the reefs around their Island. This had me listening in as quietly as the kids. While the children had their language class, the teachers & I grabbed a quick break in the cafeteria opposite the school. The entire island is dotted with cafes where the locals like to hang out.
Then we came back in the afternoon where the kids had to learn questions & answers and write them down in their books. Next was a quick session of mental maths !! The teacher divided the entire class into 6 groups and points were awarded for right answers. The kids enjoyed some great competition among themselves trying to outdo each other. Ms.Fareesha put me onto grading some mathematics books as well. The last hour of school was free drawing where all of them could sit and draw anything they wanted on a full page A3 paper.
I had one little girl – Almaas gift me a nice restaurant menu which she titled with my favorite restaurants name & she asked me write down all my favorite dishes on the inside page. I was very touched and loved it instantly. School gave over at 5:30 and all the kids were lined up in the courtyard where their parents came to pick them up.
The Pre-Ramadan feast.
Yesterday being the day before Ramadan/ Ramazan, we were invited by the Juvenile team to attend a Pre-Ramadan feast at night. This annual celebration is a huge community affair. The shops are all open until late night, the houses are bustling with guests walking in & out, some of the locals were even barbequing fish on the streets in large barbeque stands using coconut shells for fuel. The intermittent rains that fell in the evening had no effect on dampening anyone’s moods. The feast was an assortment of all kinds of dishes – fish curries, fish fry, the local roshi (rotis), sweet rice pudding which reminded me of payasam back home, dates & chopped coconut with lots and lots of tender coconut water to drink.
By the time we finished and got back to our rooms, it was with very full stomachs. Even though the days are hot & humid, the evenings are generally overcast and windy with temperatures cooling down significantly. Ideal to walk around and enjoy the Island in.