School Week

            Every year, three days in the middle of February are given to celebrate the students here in Madagascar.  Each of these days has planned activities for the students to participate in to honor them, allow them to give back to the community, and to show of their skills in sports.  Although some of these events differ from year to year, many stay the same. For example the parade, assembly, and sport tournaments.

            On the first day of Student Week, Wednesday, the students of all seven schools in Vondrozo (all three levels of public school, the two private schools, the Lutheran school, and the Catholic school) meet at the Lycee (high school) early that day.  So walking out of my house early Wednesday morning I was greeted by a throng of hundreds of noisy children.  Once the Surveillant (supervisor) of the Lycee arrived she quickly whipped them into shape and divided them into their respected schools. The students then paraded from the Lycee through town and finally ending at the E.P.P (Elementary school).  The parade of students was split up by the different schools each wearing their school vest, colored differently depending on the school that they attended, and lead by a sign bearer for their school. The one exception to this were the Club Vintsy students (environment group at the Lycee), who were all dressed in costume as if it were Halloween and singing/dancing the whole way there.  Once at the E.P.P the students lined up in military fashion in front of the stage awaiting the assembly to start.  This was quickly thrown into confusion by the arrival of Club Vintsy who turned a section of the area into a dance circle.  But as soon as the leaders of the town showed up they were all back into line.  After a few speeches by prominent people in town a few students performed some dance routines and then all of the adults left for a teachers function in one of the nearby classrooms.  This, of course, was then followed by a teacher’s after party, borrowing the sound system from the earlier speeches. 
            On the second day the students went to their schools to clean the school grounds and plant in the gardens. At the Lycee this meant clearing the land of any living plant and transplanting plants from other areas into the gardens.  Like construction work in many places I think, many of the students stood around and watched as a few did most of the work.  In the evening most of the town meet at the soccer fields to watch the soccer finals between the different neighborhoods. 
The third day was attended by far fewer students then the two days before.  Meeting at the soccer field on an early misty morning to do work is not everyone’s cup of tea it seems.  Once enough of the students arrived, thinking they were there to plant trees, and the teachers overseeing the event arrived, to tell them they were not planting trees, the event finally started.  Since there seemed to be no saplings to plant in the area surrounding the soccer field the teachers turned the students to clearing the overgrown track that looped the soccer field.  This was divvied up into parcels for each school to clean.  In the evening were three basketball games at the Lycee; a girls game and a boys game between the Lycee and Sucess (private school), which were both won by the Lycee, and a game between the teachers and the Gendarme (military police), which was barely won by the Gendarme.  

For a post on the previous years school week click here.

Day 1: Parade and Assembly
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Club Vintsy: High School environment group

Day 2: School Clean Up

Day 3: Track Clean Up and Basketball Tournaments

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