Today we set off to do field work with the mother of Simeon, Waverley’s sponsored pupil. We discovered that we faced a grim hour and fifteen minute walk to the field. However our mood was lightened when we successfully forced Japhet, the Head Teacher of Mihabura, to come with us. Unfortunately though he is quite the skiver as the amount of time he worked totalled up to a paltry five minutes, although he did take lots of pictures.

The walk to the fields was beautiful. We trekked upriver beside the Rusizi and the view of the mountains was breathtaking. The field was unlike any field I’d ever seen. It was placed on a very steep hill with many massive, strange alien egg vegetables which made it very difficult. It was so difficult that I broke my hoe.

On the walk back a boy called Eric, who had helped us in the fields, decided he had had enough of simply walking back so he stripped off his t-shirt and jumped in the river. We watched him float gracefully down the raging torrent of the Rusizi and met him again at the end. We were dying to follow suit but Mrs Hunter pulled rank.

After that we went to visit Simeon at his school. He was such a nice, confident guy and he remembered the names of all the people who visited last year. He was so grateful for his sponsorship and was shocked that all the gifts we had were for him. We then met Drocelle, a girl who is sponsored by Catriona Young. She emotionally expressed her thanks to Catriona for her help and promised that she will study hard.

Tomorrow we are getting a long lie with breakfast at 8am, so we are going to particularly enjoy this evening. We are helping at the malnourished baby clinic in the afternoon, so it will be another emotional day.

Love Callum, Jack, Meave and Shannon


(And Mrs Hunter and Ms Rigby)




17 thoughts on “Simeon

  1. I am so proud of you all. You look like you are really enjoying the experience. Photo’s are great. You all know how much I love your DofE photo’s up on the wall. I will be making a space for them all. Enjoying reading your stories every day. Keep them coming. However, like Mrs H I will have to stock up on the tissues!

    Love to all.

    Mrs C.


  2. Good to hear Japhet knows the priorities – it is very important that the Head Teacher (a) develops the skills of their team and (b) captures evidence of activity eg photos. Folks, your blog is really wonderful at conveying a sense of the place, the people and the emotions you are all experiencing – thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You did not comment on Jack’s suggestion that, like the Gihundwe Head Boy and Girl, he and Katy have an office. He also asked if Harlaw would consider rearing pigs. I told him he couldn’t have an office AND pigs so he should be prepared to negotiate with you on his return – Jack says he has yet to hear you say no to any good idea..
      I have been especially proud of the team by the way they are developing as Confident Individuals. At every opportunity they have all individually spoken in public without showing signs of nervousness or embarrassment – they are fantastic ambassadors for Harlaw Academy.
      I visited Kibangira primary school today on behalf of Inverurie Academy and during my brief presentation the teachers asked me to sing, which I could not refuse to do. I wished I’d been able to perform with the poise and confidence of our pupils as I’m sure my rendition of Amazing Grace was barely recognizable. They clapped enthusiastically regardless.
      Best Wishes to all staff and pupils at Harlaw.
      Mrs Hunter

      Liked by 2 people

    • Great to hear from you Michael. Sorry about looking so dippy in my sun-hat but it was an essential part of my outfit for the day. My hands are aching with blisters from the hoeing in the fields – you’re right to be proud of me!
      I start my journey back on Sunday and will be back in Aberdeen on Monday so hopefully I’ll see you soon.
      Big hugs to you, Anita and Lourdes


  3. A few transferable learning points if I may:
    1. “Never giving up”: Simeon’s mother, out of huge gratitude for the help received from HARLAW, insisted she had no field initially as a way of “saving HARLAW students” from a walk & work she felt was far too much for Muzungus (please note Wikipedia definition is wrong!).

    She eventually but very reluctantly agreed to allow the team to track her daily walk to work. Each few yards she murmured very apologetic words and liked behind to see whether HARLAW students haven’t made a u turn yet!

    I reassured her and the local team it’s not the “British” thing to give up.

    Predictions were if they do make it, then surely they won’t do any work (they will be too tired to do any work); if they reach the field & do some work then they won’t manage to walk back; and if they did surely they will not manage “to wake up the next morning”!

    All those were whispered & murmured in my ears all day long. And guess what? The team still declined the option to have a morning off today.

    That’s what cultural exchanges bring- some stereotype ideas are proven wrong. Equally, some authors who equate poverty to laziness should come and see Simeon’s mother working routine: wakes up 5.30am daily, with no breakfast she walks one hour and fifteen minute to work each way, returns from field carrying a load on the head, and finds no lunch at home. Same routine until seasonal work is complete (single mother raising up 6 children). Yet graceful, happy and more importantly “not depressed”!

    Rwandans don’t give up; Simeon’s mother certainly doesn’t and the local team learned this is also true of Scots.

    Great cultural exchange!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I like the idea if keeping pigs at Harlaw, I volunteer to help out! Great to see you guys meeting Simeon. I wish we had helped out in the field last year, reading this is making me very nostalgic!


  5. Firstly on the subject of an office for the Head Boy and Head Girl – I thought they had moved into my one and I am just keeping the seat warm for Jack when he is away.
    And on the subject of pigs …… there is an unused quadrangle beside biology.


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