Last Wednesday, we went to visit two primary schools in Savusavu, Khemendra and Buca (pronounced “bootha”). We were invited because two of our friends were graduating from the schools. December marks the end of the school year here in Fiji. While we go to school at home from September to June, kids here go from March until December so now it is their summer break. (Lucky!!) We still have to go to school though.
Classroom at Buca School, Savusavu
Primary schools here have an annual Prize Giving Day that takes place right before school ends. It was to this occasion that we were invited by our friends the Roadhouse's, whose son William was finishing Class Three, which is the same as grade 3. We were also invited by our caretakers Sunita and Subash, whose daughter was finishing the Class Two or the second grade at Khemendra.
Both ceremonies started off with a prayer, which is something that we would NEVER have happen in my school on Bainbridge Island. The principal or “Head Teacher” then gave a report in which he talked about the school year, test results for the kids and dreams for the future. The Buca Head Teacher talked about building a swimming pool and hosting the Olympics!
The teachers then gave prizes to the most accomplished students. The progress prize went to the person that made the most progress in that particular class. Then there was a perfect attendance prize, then third prize, second prize, and last but not least first prize for the person who did the best in the class. My friend William got second prize for his class. I was proud of him.
Then it was time for the “dance items.” Some of the dances were to Fijian music, while others were to Indian music. My favorite dance was a Fijian war dance, which is done by boys who pretend to fight with each other. There was also a Christmas play.
Even though the occasion was the same at both schools, the audiences were very different. At Khemendra, where there are 730 plus students, it was very loud. We were at the back of very long room so we could not hear what anyone was saying. The students at the back of the room and the parents too seems pretty disrespectful, talking during all the speeches.
At Buca, we had a chance to sit in front and it was quite nice. The kids were well behaved and if something went wrong, they didn’t get disappointed. For instance, a little guy walked onto the stage, looked around and then tore off the mask of one of the actors in the play who happened to be his brother. Then a stray dog walked onto the stage along with the three Wise Men during the Christmas Play. The narrator said “And a dog came to pay his respects.” It was pretty funny.
Buca School: Potluck lunch before the Ceremony
We were at the schools for 8 hours in total so when we got home we were very tired. Then we had dinner and went to bed after watching The Amazing Race.
These schools were very different. If I had to go to one of them I would probably want to go to Buca. The kids and teachers seem nice. They had good discipline because Fijian schools use corporal punishment. I would try not to get snapped on the wrist with a ruler. I still would rather go to Blakely because I have been there before, I have a lot of good friends there and it is hard to go to a new school where you don’t know anybody.