Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday 20th September – first full day in Ed Damer

I woke in the courtyard before dawn, after a very refreshing night’s sleep in the breeze, to find that everyone else was already up, including the students, all smoothly and silently getting ready for the day, doing their teeth, washing, carrying their beds back indoors etc.  I copied everyone else.  Later I was told that everyone wakes at 2am to pray.  I slept through this completely.  At 7.30am school started with assembly.  Assembly included a team quiz of Islamic knowledge and a speech from the headmaster.  I was asked to give a brief introductory speech to the school, which I did.  Some pupils arrived late, but this is not treated as naughtiness, as it would be in the UK, because it is understood that they are day students who have a very long journey to school each morning.

I met lots of teachers, including several English language teachers.  It is going to take me some time to sort out their names.  One of the English teachers invited me to come to her first lesson of the day.  The lesson was on direct and reported speech.  The enthusiasm of the students was very noticeable, although their language is extremely limited.  Instead of putting up their hands, they click their fingers.  There was a great deal of clicking during the lesson.  Again, I spoke to the class briefly at the end of the lesson.  Like the teachers, the students are all very welcoming and smile at me a lot.
Teachers' offices
After the class I was taken to the English teachers’ office, where I spent the rest of the morning talking to other teachers.  They are very keen to have English Clubs both for themselves and for the students.  We all ate in the office from a shared dish and talked about many subjects, comparing UK and Sudan.  Various tiny children poked their faces round the door with their eyes on stalks, clearly never having seen a European before.  Many teachers bring their babies and small children to school with them because of a lack of childcare in Ed Damer.  This doesn’t seem to interfere with teaching, which is interesting given the debate on the pros and cons of taking children to work in the UK. 
The school day ended early because it is the long weekend that happens every fortnight.  In the afternoon I was invited to the headmaster’s house for the weekend.  I have had a quiet afternoon, helping prepare vegetables and reading my various English text books for inspiration for exciting ideas for the English Club and first lessons.


  1. Wow Rebecca. You are having a very interesting experience and I can't wait to see how it will unfold. I hope you will not feel too isolated there, but I guess you will have a very strong incentive to be learning arabic!

    The long weekends every fortnight will be a good opportunity to get away and do some visiting as at least you have a day extra to allow for long travelling times. We are only 2 1/2 hours the other side of Khartoum and you are welcome to visit any time.

    Ring me, facebook chat any time Rebecca for your sanity lol.

    Let's see some pictures!

  2. You need to update the layout of your blog to include a follow by email gadget so people will know when you have updated your blog automatically.