Friday, March 14, 2008

Your Grandpa is growing up here

I think it’s about time I wrote something about school, seeing as I’m now about 2 months in. Get this: some of these kids walk 7 km or more to get to school, and where grandpa did it in piles of snow these kids do it in sweltering mid-day tropical heat.
And before Grandpa can matriculate, he has to work in the schoolyard and clean the school grounds of the high grass that has accumulated over the summer break. They show up with a hoe and then have to turn the grass over with a hoe in order to kill because the school doesn’t have a lawnmower. Once the grass is dry it is gathered in put into heaps, again by students, and burned at night by the night-watchman, Sr. Joao. I have some photos to explain the process and will try to post.
The results is a surprisingly beautiful landscape where lush green grass grows up in the place where tall weeds used to be, as though Dr. Greenthumb had been used. Since I had to get used to giving orders to these kids, I was one of the overseers of this task during matricula. I did alright as a boss, but one day I was giving particularly large portions of grass per student and I swear there were about 15 kids all leaning on their hoes eyeing me and thinking of mutiny, I just barely managed to keep control and get them to go back to work.

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