Happy first day of school! Today at the farm, we did something new! A few weeks ago, Nico brought up the point that it would be good for the eggplants if we trimmed off the leaves that are damaged or close to the ground or aren’t really capturing any sunlight. Apparently then the plant can put more energy into growing bigger eggplants rather than wasting it on growing leaves that aren’t contributing anything.
This morning, he showed Amber and me which leaves we should be cutting, and we went through one whole eggplant field. I’m just hoping I didn’t kill any of the plants… When in doubt, I left more leaves (and then Nico trailed behind me saying, “why did you leave this one? It’s worthless!” and cutting off all the additional ones he thought should go).
After breakfast, we headed over to EP, the primary school where we held summer school, to have a meeting with the principal and see the kids cleaning. The meeting was mostly just a formality. Joe introduced us to the principal, who we’d mostly already met because of summer school, and he welcomed us to the school. That’s basically it. Meanwhile, the kids were all sweeping and moving desks and getting the classrooms ready. Everyone went to their rooms from last year, and the principal went one classroom at a time to relocate the kids who were moving up a grade. It might seem like that’s weird and that all of the kids should just move, but there are quite a few who don’t advance each year for one reason or another.
To give you a better idea of the school situation here, there are three public primary schools in Frankadua (EP, Baptist, and Roman Catholic) and two public junior highs (Roman Catholic and I don’t know what the other one is called). We don’t work with Roman Catholic, so we’re just in the other two primary schools and junior high. There isn’t a senior high school in town. Any kids who go to high school have to travel to Juapong. I talked to one of the girls and she said she walks every day, it takes about two hours to get there, and you get caned if you’re late. It would be 1 GHC (a little more than 25 cents) each way to take a tro to school. Can you imagine having to wake up at 5AM to walk 2 hours to school, spend the whole day learning, walk 2 hours home, and do your homework before going to sleep and waking up the next day to do it all again?
There are a lot of things with the school system that blow my mind. At home, teachers usually have to go back at least a week early to get their rooms ready and have teacher meetings and such. Here, during the first week, the teachers may not have their classes assigned yet, the class schedules aren’t made, and most kids don’t show up because they know nothing is going on. At EP, they’re having the teacher meeting on Friday… during school… to finalize everything. So that means an entire week of school will have gone by, and all of the kids will be sitting in their classrooms with nothing to do on Friday during the meeting. Like what?