As we near the end of the year and the end of the term, our school has started to host all of their closing events. This started Thursday night with the Christmas pageant/ pre-primary graduation and awards ceremony. While most of the evening was spent with the pre-primary teacher yelling at everyone to be quiet (now I know where my kids get it—the parents couldn’t shut up) there was a very cute mini-skit of the birth of Jesus put on by grade 4. There was also an awards ceremony for the top performers in the pre-primary class and let me tell you, it gets the award for cutest ceremony ever. There was a lot of chaos and it’s a good thing it was held in a church because it is a miracle no one’s hair got lit on fire (who give 4 year olds candles?!) Then there was a costume change and all of the kids appeared in the smallest caps and gowns I have ever seen.
My job for the night was to take pictures in case the parents wanted some but there were about three other people with cameras/camera phones and after about 30 minutes of having people step right in front of me as I was shooting it or getting so close to the kids that they blocked out everyone else’s picture, it was a relief to hand my camera over to one of my high school friends who was not afraid to push and shove for a picture. It’s interesting how since widespread access to cameras is a relatively new phenomenon, no one knows the “camera etiquette” that we all take for granted.
Then last night (Friday) was another event- the miss brandberg/ miss pre-primary pageant. The event was… painful, but very much a cultural experience since beauty contests are so popular here. The event was scheduled to start at 5, but I showed up to discover it had been rescheduled for an hour and a half later (somehow everyone in town knew except me, typical!). I re-appeared at 6:30 but could have waited since it didn’t actually begin until 8. Then over a lot of shouting and noise from the crowd, the contestants paraded. It was almost a relief that my camera battery was dead from the night before so I didn’t have to explain “in my culture we don’t take pictures of strange children in their bathing suits…”. There was a swimwear round, traditional clothing, and evening wear. It was, of course, adorable to see the little ones waltz with all of the attitude they could muster and the older contestants were my learners who walked like pros, even if the crowd was too loud for you to hear their mini-speeches. It was a long, but interesting evening.