Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Going To School While on Vacation

Prior to leaving the United States, I sent emails regarding our visit to Cook Islands and our interest in visiting schools (at one point I looked into a teaching position which was one of the reasons we were in Cook Islands to begin with). Mona from Avarua Primary was one of the first to contact us. We arrived at the school at 11:00 am just in time for the lunch break. The school is the largest primary school on the island with between 400-500 students, preschool to year 6 so the entire population was on the playground. We learned that an “ice block” was a popsicle and, because it was hot, they were distributed throughout the population.

Soccer

Volleyball

Just cute!

Soon a gentleman was banging on a large drum. All the children scrambled at the sound of the drum. One of the students told us that recess was over and they were headed back to their classrooms.

When they came back out, students were lining up with, of all things, toothbrushes in their hands. It was teeth brushing time! When they were finished, they went back to their classrooms.

Shortly after students went to their classroom, they started emerging from doorways with chairs in their hands. In an orderly fashion, they set them down under a large tree. From there, the entire school population appeared and Easter Service rehearsal had begun.

I can’t tell you what a joy it was to hear songs about God being sung in school. In the United States any talk of God is prohibited in public school. Here in the Cook Islands, God is King and they revel in the fact. Easter is not just Sunday; it is Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, making it a four day holiday.

After rehearsal, we went into a year six classroom and did a question and answer session.

They were fascinated by the blonde hair/blue eyed teenager

It was a fantastic experience; one we would repeat three times in our short stay.

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