Last week I wrote a note at the end of each day. This week, I'll try to post one of those entries each day, just for a change.
Wednesday. April 10, 2013.
This morning I had to head back to the school. I was just there yesterday but when I left had forgotten to bring the infant formula from that health post to the main health post (it's not needed at the school health post right now). Anyway, the main post is nearly out of infant milk, and no one was going to town, so our only recourse was to fetch the formula that was at the school health post. That was how the day started. After devo's that addressed rehydration mix. After I woke at 5 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep again even though it was so pitch dark I had to push the Indiglo button on my Timex to see what time it was when I first woke up. And btw, I hate early mornings as long as I'm able to sleep, but when my mind starts racing at 5 a.m. and I get up at that crazy time, I really do love the solitude, silence, and the soft and gradual lightening of the sky as the sun slowly rises.
Anyway, back to having to drive for over an hour in order to obtain enough cans of baby milk to see us through another day or so. When I mentioned that I needed to go to the school, Dwight mentioned that maybe he and Tome needed to come along to do some work on the badly deteriorated road and whatnot. Then he disappeared and I had to get antimalarials for Simon to take to Sede health post, had to get laundry going (no power this morning cause something happened to our generator last night) and organize a few other things first-off. When I was ready to head out, Dwight was goodness knows where so I had to head out to find him to see if he and Tome were in fact coming along or if I could carry on by myself. It took a bit of hunting until I found him looking for someone else who wasn't at their house (so he could make progress on the power-outage thing). Anyway, long story short, he and Tome had their hands full with electricity woes so I was to go on my own. So off I went.
The school is always a busy place. As I approach on the BAD road by vehicle, kids always run out to greet me, waving with great enthusiasm. I pull in at the health post and as I climb out of the vehicle am instantly swarmed by my preschool, Grade 1 and 2 fans who are on free-time. They jabber to me in dialect, grab any hand/finger available that is not busy carting my bag/camera/glasses/pen/keys. Whatever it is I'm carrying, they want to relieve me of which is always very sweet and humbling to me. So in short order, my camera and miscellaneous bag are whisked ahead of me. My pen, glasses and keys I hold tight.
When I reach the health post, Ernesto is busy doing a student's health evaluation which makes me happy. I find the 6 cans of precious formula I've come for, go down to greet the school's cook and check that things are ok with him, greet the teachers, recover my camera and misc. bag and crawl back into the vehicle to head home. All this while attached to at least 5 kids/arm who are drilling me with words/questions in dialect which I don't understand. I answer them in Portuguese which they're too young to really understand, the whole time we're smiling at each other and enjoying the contact. They love adult attention and my own kids are grown up and pursuing their lives/careers far, far away. So this kid-adult-time works for us all.
Anyway, once I peel myself away from the hands were holding every available finger and probing buttons on my vehicle's remote control and smudging my reading glasses from all the grabbing, I climb in, wave frantically back at them in farewell, and drive off. As I climb up the hill away from the school yard, I discover that about 8 of the young boys have hurried ahead of me, broken off the branches of some nearby shrubs, and are are waving them "Palm-Sunday" style in front of my vehicle as I drive past, and they're smiling big as can be and singing as loudly as they can, "Beeeooootiful schoooooolooooo, schooooloooo! I shall never, never forget, beautiful schoolooooo!"
That song is their most rehearsed expression of appreciation and it really does touch my heart. I came to get powdered milk but I certainly received much more than that. The rest of the day can bring what it may :)
PS: On a separate note, April 10th is also my little brother's birthday. He passed away awhile back when he was 17 from complications from a ruptured appendix. The years have passed but I sure still miss him. We have a lot of catching up to do one day. When we were little, on Saturdays I used to make him play school. I was the teacher, he was the student. I know for a fact he didn't enjoy that particular "fun", but he cooperated for my sake. I need to remember to sing him "Beeeeooootiful schooloooo, schooloooo!"