At long last graduation is over ! – done and dusted for another year ! I am sure that to everyone else the graduation is a source of great excitement and celebration and fun but for the teachers it is a nightmare ! – one continual worry of whether the children will remember all that they have been practising for weeks, running around as the performance is underway to get costumes off one pupil and onto another in the shortest period of time ( we can only afford a limited number of pieces of cloth in which we simply cut a hole in the top so that they can be whipped on and off with the greatest of ease ! ) and the unbelievable organisational skills to get 200 children the in line and ready to avoid gaps in the performance and possible loss of concentration from parents - however, when you look back on it now in the fading light and look at the photos of the excited faces of parents and children alike, you realise that the nightmare was all worth it !
The day before graduation it poured with very heavy rain. Rain in the daytime Nazret is a rare thing – even in the rainy season where there is a brilliant blue sky and continual sun all day and downpours at night – thus when there is even a sputtering of rain Nazret comes to a standstill. Children don’t bother to come to school, people don’t go to work and there is no expectation of any movement until the rain stops.
This made it even more shocking the day before graduation when it rained so heavily that some of the very poorly made mud houses collapsed under the pressure of the rain and there were numerous floods ! When the rain eventually stopped, the school play ground ( where we were to place the tent for the show ) was completely flooded with huge pools of water. The children who had come to school when the rains had stopped were thus supplied with containers of every shape and size and a water recovery system was set up with the children continually making a path from the sink to drain away the water to the pools on the playground.
After several hours of this, the water was gone but our nice grassy playground had been turned into a mud bath ! As a result, instead of having the tent in the middle of the playground with the stage area designated at the top end of the tent, we were forced to move the tent across to the driest part of the playground and make the small (but long) veranda the stage area since that was the only area in which people wouldn’t sink into the mud!
Due to the limited space, this meant that whereas we had practised for a shorter and much wider space, in actual fact, the children had to adapt to the longer and far narrower space of the veranda, with there being a constant worry that someone would overstep and fall off !
However, it was amazing that pupils simply walked onto the stage, where confused as to where to go since there wasn’t space then simply rearranged themselves as they saw appropriate, meaning that although the teachers knew that this wasn’t just as we practised, parents wouldn’t have been aware of a single thing !
The graduation show itself went marvellously – despite the rain problem and the fact that there was no electricity until the mid morning break which meant that the accompanying music was slightly quiet since the tape machine was working with batteries with limited speaker power . But everyone enjoyed themselves and the parents are now looking forward to next year ( although the same cannot be said for us and the teachers ! )