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Messages - Catherine Peace

Mbeya / lMbeya School
17 April, 2012, 02:22
Well, I am amazed.  I can remember loads about Mbeya school including the dinner drums, the forest, the maize plantations, the sick bay and the insistance on 5 days fever free and a jug a day of fluid intake, the dormitory (Washington house with the ghastly Irish matron who definitely enjoyed the tacky}, 2 to a bath, 4 to the same bath water...came out orange anyway, brushing your hair dry in the sun, bleaching afore mentioned tackies, Saturday airmail letter writing to parents, hanging dresses on mosquito nets, legs of beds in cans of water, kite flying. Saturday movies, collecting candy wappers and swapping "collectibles",  playing jacks, tending marigold and morning glory gardens, visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Morgan you seem to collectively admire.  I have a different recollection: he thought it proper to have me take the 11+ exam  with no prep at all on his packing cases and being sniffed at by his (Alstian?) dogs.  I do however remember Ms Harding who was kind and encouraging.
My strongest memories are the forest floor with owl pellets, clay that I formed into pots and dried in the sun, roasting maize on a fire (sounds improbable), but I think it must have involved "forbidden" contact with black people.  Actually this prohibition is what upsets me the most, hopefully it changed quickly after my departure.
Apart from very few instances, the education I got at Mbeya derived not from the institution, but from the relative freedom in the unsupervised time we enjoyed.
It is sobering -after a career in education -that I believe that that particular element is invaluable and barred from children in "the west" today.  Too may safety concerns and contact with nature  -ooohh.
Hey, Dini Abbink I thought you were great!
For context: I have since lived in Britain, France, Germany, U.S.A. and Canada.