Another school year is over and this Christmas I’ll be in Melbourne with my cousin, hopefully having had a few days prior to that in Devonport catching up with relatives and friends in my homeplace.
My new home is lovely; right on the edge of the lagoon, with magnificent views of sunrise and sunset, and I don’t miss too many of them either! I have my favourite spot outside for my early morning cuppa, watching each new day light up. And the moon over the lagoon at night is a sight to behold. At low tide at night I see people out in the shallows with their torches, catching small octopus or digging up shellfish. Daytime sees dozens of people collecting shellfish as they follow the tide out. And of course we see the fishermen, nets slung over their shoulders, wading out in pairs into the deeper water, spreading their nets and slapping the water to drive the fish in. This year I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see more seabirds than in previous years. We can always tell when there’s a shoal of fish in the lagoon as we watch flocks of birds circling overhead.
I’m so close to the lagoon that the only traffic that passes me is the occasional boat – fishing ones or ones bringing people from North Tarawa over for the market.
The school year has finished, with national exams for Forms 5, 6 and 7, while Form 4 had in-school exams. We have to wait now for national results to come out and selection of next year’s classes to be made. It’s been a hard year in some aspects, especiatlly frustrating a lot of the time with cultural differences in attitude more than anything else making life difficult at work. It’s been hard to get our students to atend school regularly and work hard, with some exceptions of course.
Independence Day was celebrated in style as usual in July, with a whole week’s national holiday and activities on every day. It was preceded by three days of inter-school sports events. The problem with holidays here is that some people need a holiday to get over the holiday, so they don’t return to school on the given day, some of them not returning till the next week! I’m afraid the word “frustrating” is one I overuse, but with good reason as you can see.
My very best wishes to all for Christmas and New Year, 2011.