Monday 5th December 2016
Many of the children in the PNG islands go to boarding school. Their families pack up their belongings, load a canoe with food, and off they go, for many weeks at a time.
|packing the sailau|
They have to take their own food with them – huge hands of plantain, sacks of taro, dried fish, yams – and they cook for themselves.
Nobody supervises them in their dormitories; they organise themselves and get to sleep when it is dark. The big kids look after the little ones and it all seems to work well.
I don’t know what happens if they run out of food; I suppose the teachers feed them…
We went into one of the dormitory huts. There were two small rooms and an annexe. In each room there were ten rolled up woven mats made from dried pandani leaves. Each child had a hook to hang their bag. In their bags was…nothing much!
The children do a lot of maintenance and building work around the school, as do the teachers. I am not going to say Oh how happy they are, with their simple lives. Because how would I know??
The children are certainly very bright and friendly and I never heard anyone say “I hate school” …
The lessons are all in English – this seems to be the unifying language in multi-lingual PNG. I suppose there aren’t many resources in Pidgin, which is their other unifying language.
|Stairs built by schoolkids|