Friday, January 30, 2015

The rush for exams

The wonderful news here is that the little girl who was missing has now returned. No one is sure exactly where she went but she suddenly appeared back at the orphanage and although having a few behavioural problems now at school, she seems to have been safe whilst she was missing. We are so happy at her return as it was a very stressful time for everyone.
At school  as usual it is all go and we are currently in the middle of yet another set of exams ! Although I like to plan as much as possible, we have had a problem with trying to get the official  school calendar from  the government and despite sending the school secretary to the office once a week since September, we still haven’t got it  - a mere 5 months since the beginning of the school year !
Working hard
      As a result, we were forced to simply guess when we thought the official end of semester exams would be and of course, we got it wrong ! – by a week . Somehow, all of the other schools got it right,  meaning that there was a sudden rush to try and get exams finished !
Relief at finishing !
 We didn’t  quite made it, having exams Thursday to Tuesday instead of Monday to Friday – but that was the best we would could do and all of us now definitely need the end of semester break after all those late night sessions !   



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy Ethiopian Christmas !

At school everyone is now busy getting ready for Ethiopian Christmas ( 7th January ) ! This really is the biggest celebration of the year - and although it isnt huge in Western terms ( i.e. preperations start about a week before the holiday instead of September / October ) it is huge in Ethiopian terms.


All classes are busy making Father Christmas pictures ( even though he doesn't come and bring anyone any presents ! ) and everyone is looking forward to the Christmas party when pupils will get their one and only fizzy drink of the year as well as cake and sweets !

But this Christmas, the schools biggest gift would be the safe return of one little 9 year old girl. She comes to the school from the local orphanage and although 9, she hadn't previously been to school so is the class with the 4 year olds, where she seems very happy.

Having lived on the streets for many years, she is very independent and when she becomes annoyed or frustrated she simply walks out on her own. Previously she has always returned within a few hours, however this week she had a huge argument with staff and walked out and has simply never returned.

She has now been missing for four days and despite all efforts being made, she has not yet been found. The Ethiopian police force simply doesn't have the resources to carry out a huge search so we are simply hoping for the best and doing all we can on our side.

Things like this really expose you to the harshness of life in Ethiopia.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Great Exhibition and a wonderful Christmas present



The exhibition opening band

We managed to have the best Christmas ever, with the amazing success of our Big Give challenge ! Although inflation is amazing high, with land properties rising dramatically, we are hoping that we are now lucky enough to find some land that we can afford! This would be amazing, since it would give the school an added sense of stability.
It was all rush this week with the sudden announcement of a school exhibition. In May time we had working hard for a month to produce all the necessary items for an exhibition – posters, banners and explanations of our different school materials.
Our stall
However, this time, the authorities phoned two days before the event to inform us ! This resulted in an enormous panic as we searched for all the things and made new items. The exhibition lasted for three days in the end (including a weekend) and was an enormous success - so we will now make sure that we keep all banners and posters together in case of another emergency exhibition!



Fascinated !

Pupils explaining to visitors

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Double your donation with The Big Give

Laurens from Voluntary Worldwide visiting the school

Don't forget you can double your  donations by donating at :
10 am GMT on the morning of the 4th, 5th and 6th December at:

This week saw a visit from Laurens from the Dutch organization “Voluntary Worldwide.“ We have been in communication with this organization for a while, with the idea being to work with them in receiving volunteers.  In this way, we would hopefully have a steady stream of volunteers thereby enabling the children and teachers to have even more exposure to different techniques and English speakers.
All has gone very well – so we are hoping to formalize it all in the very near future and start receiving volunteers mid March.
In addition, this week saw the proper start of the nursery Oormifa class – previously, due to a lack of a separate teacher, the Amharic and Oromifa class have simply learnt in the same classroom , with those who want to learn in Ooromifa being taught in that language. 

However, it has appeared that this is unsatisfactory for the regulations and as a result, we have been forced to separate the classes, with the assistant teacher going across to teach Ooromifa leaving the teacher alone in the class of 25 which is a little too much for one as the pupils are only young.
We are on the lookout for a new assistant teacher, but it is difficult at this time of year to find someone – so fingers crossed!
The very start of the new nursery Oromifa classroom
On December 4th – 6th, we are trying to raise donations for our planned school building. We are lucky enough to have been chosen for one of the projects for the Big Give Christmas Challenge where there will be matched funding- effectively doubling donations!
Every little bit helps – lots of £ 2 or £ 5 can really make a difference!  - so please try to make your donations at:
10 am GMT on the morning of the 4th, 5th and 6th December at:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Exams and the PTA



This week has been all go yet again with exam week. To get the exams typed was a nightmare – there were just too many and next time we will take some of them to the local typing place, since it was an overload of work for the school secretary and me !
However, the end result was very pleasing, with the children all enjoying the exams ( and the days holiday on Friday ! ) and on the whole doing very well. The quality of the exams has risen every year and every year we are amazed at the increasing academic level – which gives everyone – teachers, pupils and parents – a real boost !
An apprehensive pair before the race
This week also saw our first whole school meeting of the year at the far school, with the voting for the PTA  ( parent teacher association ) . Amazingly, many parents were very keen on joining and thus we now have a PTA , with chairperson, vice chairperson  and secretary ! We hope that the PTA will enable us to improve even further and come up with new and exciting suggestions !
My children manage to finish the Great Ethiopian Run ! – It was a little disorganised, with there being much confusion as to which race was running at which time ( it was supposed to be divided into boys / girls as well as according to age ). As a result, all children over the age of 5 ended up running as one giant pack and then found to their great disappointment that at the end the race was void !
This meant the poor children had to run it all again ! – this time , according to their age and gender  - which was a bit difficult – but they were duly rewarded with a medal, bottle of water and a banana at the end  !


An exhausted but jubilant Iyosious

Just finished !

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Our new PTA

Apprehensive before the race
 This week has been all go yet again with exam week. To get the exams typed was a nightmare – there were just too many and next time we will take some of them to the local typing place, since it was an overload of work for the school secretary and me !
With their medals
However, the end result was very pleasing, with the children all enjoying the exams ( and the days holiday on Friday ! ) and on the whole doing very well. The quality of the exams has risen every year and every year we are amazed at the increasing academic level – which gives everyone – teachers, pupils and parents – a real boost !
This week also saw our first whole school meeting of the year at the far school, with the voting for the PTA  ( parent teacher association ) . Amazingly, many parents were very keen on joining and thus we now have a PTA , with chairperson, vice chairperson  and secretary ! We hope that the PTA will enable us to improve even further and come up with new and exciting suggestions !
My children manage to finish the Great Ethiopian Run ! – It was a little disorganized, with there being much confusion as to which race was running at which time ( it was supposed to be divided into boys / girls as well as according to age ). As a result, all children over the age of 5 ended up running as one giant pack and then found to their great disappointment that at the end the race was void !
This meant the poor children had to run it all again ! – this time , according to their age and gender  - which was a bit difficult – but they were duly rewarded with a medal, bottle of water and a banana at the end  !

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Exams and the Great Ethiopian Run

Our busy KG 1 classroom
At work in KG 1


This week we are getting ready for exams – and now with the new classes there will be a total of 57 different exams to check, type and photocopy ! Exams feature heavily in the Ethiopian educational system, with even the nursery pupils ( three year olds ) having exams in English, maths, science, Amharic – and for some Oromifa !
Typically, exams are multiple choice , but since we want them to be as meaningful as possible, then we have actual questions involving drawing and colouring and finding the odd one out etc. This has proved difficult for our new teachers – of which year there is a lot – the new Oromofia teacher for nursery ,  KG 1 ( as Weinshet – the previous teacher left to have a baby and although prior to leaving planned to return, when it actually came to it, she decided to stay with her new born ) new Oromifa grade 1 teacher and grade 3 ( as previously there were only a few students for grade 3 and 4 so they were combined ) – but eventually, with the guidance of the old teachers, meaningful exams have been compiled.
The Great Ethiopian Run is on the 23rd November – with the 2 kilometre race the day before. This year, our two children have decided to enter with the aim of raising funds for the school. Having studied at the school three years, they know only too well how some of the pupils struggle for food on a daily basis  and how simple things like shoes and clothes should not be taken for granted.
If you wish to sponsor them in the race, please visit :
Every little bit helps !