Elizabeth writes:

Where have the two years gone?
Yesterday was the end of the school year and time for Fusi Secondary School to hold its prizegiving and farewell ceremony.  Any excuse for a good day-long party.  Since I was a celebrity for the day I was not allowed to go early to help with preparations – I would be collected from home (with David and my friend Karen) at 10 o’clock.  In true African style, we were collected at 11 o’clock.
We arrived at school to an enormous cheer from the students ( I now know how it feels to be royalty) and to the wonderful sight of smoke coming from the chimneys of the new kitchen.

Eventually, the proceedings began and, of course, there were plenty of speeches to be got through.  I wrote my speech and had it translated into Sesotho, so when I spoke in their native tongue everyone was very impressed.  (David videoed it and I can’t say I was impressed by my abominable accent!).  You will notice the school principal giving me some hearty applause.

The boredom of continuous speeches was relieved by songs and traditional dances performed by the students.  They have been practising for weeks.

Eventually, we came to the distribution of prizes (generally exercise books and pens), and, of course, the giving of gifts (cue more speeches).  We said farewell to the Form Cs and if they have passed their exams most of them are hoping to proceed to high school for 2 more years of study.  Another teacher is also leaving to take up full-time teacher training (she is presently unqualified) so we made a bit of a fuss of her.
After this, I was completely overwhelmed.  I was given gifts by students, by the local primary school, by colleagues and by ex-students.  It is very humbling to receive such generosity from people who have so little themselves.  The pi├Ęce de resistance has to be an amazing weaving of the school, designed and made by our neighbours, a weaving cooperative.

I also love the traditional dress made especially for me, shown here with the school cook and her niece and son who were both students last year.

David has a theory that every Basotho occasion ends with food at 3 o’clock.  When he says this to the locals, they seem surprised, but at 3 o’clock yesterday, we all enjoyed an excellent meal. (The students were talking about it all last week as they would get MEAT!)

What a wonderful day, but a very emotional one too.  I hope and pray that the school will continue to grow, and help the children in the area who have so few opportunities.