School holidays in Ghana began on 6 April, but some schools were scheduled to have 4 weeks’ holiday, while others had only 2 or 3. I was told the orphanage school would be resuming on Tuesday 24th April, but when that day came, only a handful of students (and teachers) turned up. I was delayed in Togo (that’s another story!) so didn’t arrive until the Wednesday, when I was surprised to see hardly any kids around and none of them in uniform. School simply did not happen. Instead Madame Rose’s family (2 of whom are teachers) had gathered at the orphanage and sat around in classrooms cooking meals and chatting, while I ran around trying to look after the orphanage children.
Madame told me that school hadn’t started because “the children couldn’t be bothered coming to school” so they would be starting on Monday 30th instead. This made absolutely no sense to me and seemed like a ruse for Madam’s daughters to get paid (saying they’d turned up for work) without having to do any work and without Madam having to pay any of the other teachers.
Monday 30th came and a smattering of children turned up for assembly. Madame’s daughter righteously told them off for not coming to school the week before, and then they were ushered into Religious and Moral Education, which means prayers and singing, led by one of the senior students. Then it was break time, after which nothing happened. No bell for lessons; kids wandered around playing all day while the teachers sat around talking. Once again, there were no teachers present other than Madame’s daughters. And so it was all week.
My young friend Enoch told me earnestly, “We’re going to seriously start studying next week.” I can only hope that was the case.