Student Week

Wednesday, 1/18/15 – Saturday, 1/21/15
Every year the schools in Madagascar have a week off to celebrate the students. This week was that week.  Although there was an assembly and then scheduled classes afterwards on Monday, most students and teachers did not actually have class.  Tuesday was also spent with no classes in preparation for the festivities the rest of the week.  Wednesday morning is when the actual Student Week started.  All the students from all three levels of the public school (EPP, CEG, and Lycee) and from all four of the private schools (Success, Light School, Lutheran School, and Catholic School) meet at the Lycee, outside my house, to begin their march through town to the CEG.  Each school took its turn, with all the students wearing their uniforms and carrying their school sign, in the
parade. Once at the CEG the teachers took their seats on the stage and the students formed a semi-circle around the stage or in any shade they could find.  It was another scorching day; leading to many of the school’s banana trees losing their leaves in the production of fans by the students.  At the CEG there were many speeches given by many of the important people in the town, for instance the PDS (interim mayor) and Chef de CISCO (leader of the school system in Vondrozo). After the speeches were done many of the students gave performances of different dances.  Before this could happen though, there had to be a little crowd control to make room for the dancers.  This was accomplished by the teachers walking around the inside perimeter and hitting the students feet with thin sticks.  The start of the dances was the teachers cue to duck out and go into one of the classrooms where there were drinks and snacks waiting.  A short speech was given to the teachers and then the teachers proceeded to mingle amongst themselves till the drinks and snacks were gone. 
The following morning, Thursday, the students went to their schools to clean up the campus grounds.  This is usually done by the students on Wednesday evenings, but was pushed back a day due to the celebrations.  The evening had both basketball and handball games scheduled, but due to the rain that came in, the basketball games were cancelled.  Surprisingly the handball games still went on in the rain.  There were two games; a girls only game and a guys game (each guys team had one girl on it).  This was my first time to see a handball game and it was great!  It was really fun to watch and I do not know why Americans have never got on board with it.  For those that have never seen it, the best way I can think of describing it would be a mixture of basketball and soccer.  You can Youtube it to see what it really looks like. 
Friday, tree planting day, was the day I had been hearing about for months.  On this day, across Madagascar, the students of the public schools go out together and each plant a sapling.  In Vondrozo all of the public school students, from all three levels, meet at the EPP Friday morning before starting their short march out of town to what I call Catholic Hill (a large hill just outside of Vondrozo which is owned by the Catholic Church and on top of which they will sometimes have services).  Once at its base the students, each class at a time, filed up a trail to where a few of the teachers and older students handed each of them a sapling, then made their way upwards to the top of the hill.  Once everyone had their sapling and had made it to the top, there was a short demonstration done by Club Vintsy (the Lycee environment group) on how to plant the sapling.  After that we all made it single file down the other side of the hill; the lead person cutting a path in the fern bush as we went.  When we had finally made it to the tree planting location the students spread out, sapling and shovel in hand, to plant their new tree. 
            This ended the student week for the public schools but on the following day, Saturday, some of the private schools had their own fety (party).  I was invited by Donald (principle of the Light School) to attend his fety, so in the pouring rain I made the walk down to his school.  Due to the rain the fety was moved inside the school and all of the students were jammed into a small room, now dance floor, on the bottom level of the school.  Maneuvering my way through the throng of students, I made my way to the stairs to the top floor where the teachers were visiting.  Here we all hung out, drank, snacked, and then ate an amazing meal of rice and goose.  After the dinner and drinks were finished all of the teachers made their way back down the stairs to join the students in the dance party they were having.  Although this would be a little hafahafa (weird) in America, this is not looked at as something different in Madagascar.
For a post about the following years Student week click here.

1 comment:

  1. I recognize that foot! Looks a little thin. Hope you are feeling better. Love having new info and pictures to see what is going on.


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