MY FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL

Who am I?

Hi, my name is Jemery Kamau. I am living in the Soweto Slum together with my mom and my little brother. Since my dad left our family my mom has tu struggle a lot to provide for us. She barely is able to fed us, but there is no money for school education. We asked for help from UNDER Lea’s TRUST and guess what.

I am now going to school and with this story I want to tell you about my first day!

The day of the days

I found a wonderful godmother in Germany who will finally enable me to go to school today. A few weeks ago Bonface, from UNDER Lea’s TRUST, came to us and gave us the great news. I’m so excited!

SO EXCITED!

Last night I couldn’t sleep because of the excitement and my mom is super excited too (she packed her favorite novel in my school bag instead of my school book). It is 7:30 a.m. and it is still a little dark outside when we make our way to the organization, where we meet with Bonface and Lea. As we arrived there, I am allowed to put on my school uniform for the first time and my mom checks again whether we have packed everything.

A short time later we are on our way to school, which is only a few hundred meters away from my home. I take a seat in front of the school office with my mom and my little brother (still a baby), while Bonface and Lea go in and prepare my registration. We also have an appointment with the school director, as only she decides which class I will go to. Since I’m seven years old but have never attended school, she wants to test me a little (as I understand it). I have to admit, I feel a little nervous about that. While we are waiting for the headmistress, the schoolchildren run past us into the school courtyard. I know some of them and I happily wave to them. John, my best friend (grade 2) sits down with me for a few minutes before the school bell rings and all the children rush into the classrooms. Lea comes out of the office. We probably still have a little time before we can go to the headmistress, so let’s take a few more pictures outside for my godmother. I smile broadly at the camera and proudly show my new school uniform.

EXCITED PLUS A BIT SCARED! IS THAT GOOD?

Just as we are going back inside, the door to the school office opens and we are allowed into the headmaster’s office. I’ve heard a lot about her, she shouldn’t be particularly nice. We step in, me somewhat hidden behind my mom, and she points to four chairs in front of her desk. This is full of papers and documents, this woman must have a lot to do! First she tries to speak to me in English. It’s good that I understand a little about this and I know that she wants me to write my name on a piece of paper. HAH! Nothing easier than that! Oh no .. now comes maths. 7 + 8… hmm I’ve already learned a little math in the organization and scribble my answer (15) behind her question. She looks satisfied and writes a second equation on the paper. 4 x 6 … damn. I learned a great way to solve this in the organization, but I’m so excited and can’t remember! What was that again? I slide from one side of the chair to the other and look at the floor, embarrassed. The director looks at me and writes the answer “24” after the equation. Yeah, that looks like that might be correct. My mother takes my hand and wants to explain to the director that I am only excited when she raises her hand and means to her to be silent. Great, now mom and I look at the floor together. The director mumbles a little to herself and seems to think for a few minutes. Then she calls her assistant into the office and gives him instructions in English that I don’t quite understand. The assistant disappears again and the director looks at me with a smile.

She decided to put me in 1st grade because she thinks that with my level of knowledge I am in the best hands there. She admonishes me to study hard, to always come to school on time and to do my homework conscientiously. No problem! I’ve been waiting forever to be able to do all of this! There is a knock and when the director calls “Come in”, a slim, middle-aged woman with glasses comes in through the door. The principal introduces her to me as my new class teacher. She looks nice!

ON MY WAY TO THE CLASSROOM

We say goodbye and the five of us (Mama, Bonface, Lea, my class teacher and I) go to a classroom at the back of the school grounds. My class teacher apparently allowed her class to take a short break, because as I run infant of them I could hear the classroom and laughter from other children. I say quickly goodbye to my little brother and when we enter class it suddenly becomes very quiet.

Within seconds everyone scurries quickly to their seats and looks to the front. I see a few familiar faces and my teacher introduces me to the class. I quickly wave to my mom and sit down at a round table in the back corner, next to Naomi, a good friend of mine. Puhhhhhhh !!! Am I excited. I’ll take a few more photos for my godmother and then it’s off. Mama throws me a kiss and she, Bonface and Lea disappear from the classroom.

Class is starting and I couldn't be happier!

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