The Binary Monday April 25th: What school taught me.

The Binary Monday April 25th: What school taught me.

Monday, April 25th 2000

6am – Clang, Clang, Clang. Darn it, there goes the morning bell. Time to jump out of bed, hurriedly make it up, run outside grab a bucket full of water, hurry to the shower stalls, quickly rush back to get ready and do morning chores.

7am – Clang, Clang, Clang. I grab my bag as I run down to the refectory, cup in hand, and margarine on a spoon for the morning sermon and breakfast.

7:30am – Clang, Clang, Clang. Darn it, it’s my turn to clean the table, wash the kettle, my cup and run up the hill to class.

8am – Clang, Clang, Clang. Class time. English, then History, then Home Economics then…*yawn* I’m so tired, my butt will soon leave a print on this chair.

11am –Clang, Clang, Clang. It’s visiting time, there’s my sister waiting, I wonder what goodies she managed to smuggle in for me. Maybe some biscuits, or even some chicken if I’m lucky.

1pm – Clang, Clang, Clang. I’d better run down the hill for lunch, I dare not be late.

2pm – Clang, Clang, Clang. Siesta time, as I stare at the ceiling and plan how best to get out of afternoon chores.

7pm – Breathing fast while running up the hill for evening prep, I hope my name isn’t listed for being late – I don’t feel like extra chores as punishment this weekend. At least it wasn’t my turn to clean the dinner table today. Oh there’s my butt print on the seat – told you that would happen.

9pm – Clang, Clang, Clang. Finally time to head back to the dorm for bedtime.

In between I’ve managed (somehow!!!) to gossip a little with the girls about our evil dorm prefects, about the poor new girl who fainted upon seeing the toilets, and remembering the fragile looking one who ran away after a couple of days. Oh and there’s that boy from the all-male boarding school who’s been writing sweet notes. Can’t wait for summer holidays.

6am – Clang, Clang, C**** – Whhatt? Alreadddyy? I wanna sleep some more L

Graduation Day 2000 – Finally, after all those afternoon and evening preps, and study groups I have my O’Levels. Look at us all looking swanky in our gowns, wish my family could stay longer, at least we get to go out to town for a couple of hours after this. I’m so done with boarding school, all those rules and regulations, not getting to wear my own clothes, eating crappy food, all the extra chores – cleaning, clearing, mopping, sweeping – Cinderella would have had it good here….Discipline, Discipline, Discipline. Structure, Structure, Structure….I’m moving back home and starting a new school, some American/International thing. Hope they’re nice.

Monday April 25th, 2001

6am – I can hear my Mom shuffling in to come wake me up to get ready for school, 5 more minutes please.

7am – What’s for breakfast?

7:30am – Honk, Honk, Honk. Hurry there’s traffic; I need to drop you off at school and head to work.

8am – As we goof around the foosball table while waiting for morning assembly. I think Cassandra’s mom packed some extra brownies for her to share with us at break time, can’t wait.

9am – Right, I think my first class is French. How many study halls do I have today?

10am – Reading time at the library before the morning break, there’s this new novel by Bose Maposa I’ve been meaning to check out.

10:30am – Brownies :D

11 am – Oh dear, it’s Advanced Placement Economics time, I need to concentrate, if I don’t pass this I’ll have to take Economics 101 in college. Gcobani, stop writing funny notes, I’m trying to pay attention.

1pm – Let’s see, what did my Mom pack for lunch today…ah wait a minute, looks like Thoko brought enough umngqusho to share.

2pm – Chemistry class, hope I don’t blow anything up in the lab…

4pm – Oh great, there’s a Basketball game with the other international school this afternoon, can’t wait to watch. Go Lions, Go Lions, Go Lions – we’re sooo gonna kick their asses.

5pm – Time to go home already, we have a fundraising bake sale tomorrow, my Mom needs to help me bake some cookies and sign this permission slip. Hope she’ll still let me go to the school retreat at the beach next month…

8pm – As I do practice SATs and TOEFLs, daydreaming about college. Next year will be hectic with all my Advanced Placement Exams. Oh and my senior Prom….can’t wait.

10pm – That’s it, time to stop homework for tonight and head to bed.

Graduation Day 2003 – We made it, we made it, we made it!!! Even my Grand-dad is here for this. And the goodbye grad party afterwards, I’m so sad to be saying good bye to everyone. Next year, college, here I come J 

What school taught me.

It’s often said that we’re the products of our environment. I think that’s especially true for our experiences at school and how these nurture the skills we need to succeed.  I had opportunities for change, many don’t…My formative years both at a predominantly English/African only girls boarding school, and at an American High School, have taught me a number of things: A thirst to learn, and a passion for education are easier to develop in circumstances that make learning fun, as opposed to those that make it a hardship. Though structure and discipline are important to learning, remaining a child throughout the process is what makes it enjoyable and appealing to the young. The manner in which we learn and the environment that surrounds our learning is as important as what we learn.

Nadia Ahmadou

Nadia Ahmadou is a young African scholar who has published widely on peace and conflict related events in Africa.

One Response to The Binary Monday April 25th: What school taught me.

  1. Siphokazi Magadla says:

    Gloriously written! Thank you for this beautifully written reflection, Nadia. The words jump off the pages! Clang, Clang, Clang!

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