Friday, January 18, 2008

Exam Fever!

Yes, it's that time again! The November 2007 IGCSE exam results have been processed by Cambridge and are available now (confidentially) to registered Exam Centres; the results will only be officially available and released to candidates on the 21st of this month. Pressure mounts... fingernails get bitten... nights are sleepless... yes, all of these things, for exam results are a big thing for we moderns. It might even be good for us :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Beautiful School Setting (Sifundzani High)

It's a beautiful day here in Swaziland and the sun is bringing out the beauty of Sifundzani High School's setting. This is a school nestled between rocks and boulders, with indigenous trees and cloud-dappled spaces, a wonderful place to work and live. The ambience is peaceful and uplifting. I'm sure the setting of the school supports the efforts of all who work in it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Schools are closed... but busy!

As far as much of the country is concerned, schools are currently closed and teachers are basking in the sun (or in the rain as it often is this year) but in actual fact the schools are very busy. Firstly, there are the myriad parents dragging their offspring from school-to-school in the desperate chase for places--mostly in Forms 1 and 4. Some of this could have been prevented by better planning, but for others it is because of good results in the exam results released last week that inspired the desire for a 'better' school. Secondly, there are the buildings to maintain--paint jobs, repairs, etc. Then there are the necessary admin jobs such as staffing and a new timetable to draft, and so on. And we must not forget all those who wrote the IGCSE exams last year and who are nervously awaiting their results. As the nerves fray, so they call or visit their schools, looking for news...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here Comes the Sun!


At five in the morning the sun was streaming through the curtains, caressing my bed and easing me gently into the new day. It gave me a buzz. The first music of the day? The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun? No. Haydn's Sunrise quartet? No. It was Groove Armada's Essential Summer Groove, a mix from 2004. A buzz morning.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Four Days of Rain

Do you know the third Flying Burritos album? There's a great Rick Roberts song there that begins, "Four days of rain and I'm feeling OK". He was obviously surprised. Well, we've had four days of rain andI'm not feeling OK--rainy days can get cold up here in the mountains (yes, even in Africa!). And anyway, I'm a sun sign: it's sky-blue days that give me a buzz. To make it worse, this is a rainy Friday of all days. Ah, esta a vida. Still, friends are rallying and I'm expecting amigas from Maputo to arrive later as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Swaziland Faces


I spent part of one morning checking the Swaziland faces on facebook--and it was great fun. I was meant to be looking for ex-Sifundzani High School students, to update our 'where-are-they-now' database, but I soon got immersed in the gameworld of 'which-picture-of-me-shall-I-post?': do I tell the truth? or do I post a joke picture or do I just leave the facespace empty? And then there are so many people... it's easy to see why facebook is so addictive and just why so many people spend so much time on it. (And I also see why some companies have blocked facebook use on their company computers [NERCHA, for one] :-).)

Facebook works because it's communication, not love, that makes the world go round; facebook is a communication event incorporating email, chatrooms and much else besides. As a literature teacher I love it, along with cellphone sms stories. And, of course, it's communication that ignites the spark that flames into the passions of love.

Nublado Economy

Back in Swaziland, back in school, two days of rain in this cold mountain town... what a life! Our weather right now matches our depressed economy. January is always a quiet month for shopkeepers and bar owners (spent too much at Christmas, school fees to pay, etc) but this year is even deader than usual: parts of the city are like a ghost town. And, like the rain, there's no sunshine in sight, just dark clouds, nublado. But there's still good music to listen to at least: the 2006 Lura album (Cabo Verde, reminds of the days when we did have some sun) and Pink Floyd's Pulse concert (England, music to suit the grey skies); and a fun but really crummy film coming your way soon--The Last Legion, starring some familiar faces and a gorgeous Bollywood heroine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Back again!


I'm blogging again. It's been a while but now I'm back. Ironically for a Swaziland-based blog, this first post is being written from Maputo, where I am visiting friends. It's a new year and I'm feeling upbeat about it--it's going to be good one.

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