Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Day the Golden Eagles Ate Ketchup

Every year our family looks forward to the annual whole school Track and Field Day at Sahel. I am usually somewhat involved in planning or coaching before hand. For several years, Ian has been the starter through out the day. The kids run and jump and throw, and generally have a fabulous time cheering for their team mates and classmates. This year was no different; Mom presided at high jump, Dad made the rounds of the starting lines with his whistle, and Heidi, Kay, and Tom jumped, ran, and threw with enthusiasm. At the end of the day we were sweaty, sunburned, muscle sore and full of fun memories!

Each year the entire school is broken up into four teams. Each team then chooses a color and a name. They create a banner and a team cheer which is performed at the opening "ceremonies" of our Field day. Points are given for team banners, cheers, participation, and placing in the various events. This year Kay and Tom were both on the Ketchup (red) Team, Heidi was a Golden Eagle (brown and gold). Also competing were the Green Greek Fire and the Blue Angels. The morning is spent at the national stadium where we are able to use their track and field facilities. This year morning events included the hula hoop roll (K-2), softball throw (K-6), frisbee throw (K-6), shot put (7-12), discus (7-12), broad jump (K-4), long jump (3-12), high jump (5-12), 50m (K-4), 100m (3-12), 200m (K-12), 400m (5-12), 800m (5-12), 1500m (5-12), 4x100m relay (7-12), and 4x400m relay (7-12). We return to school for lunch, and after lunch have lots of fun team games which ranged this year from water relays to tug of war.
Silliness is never an event, but with such a great expanse of grass and a flexible schedule, you can always find a dog pile or two,
lines of cheering fans slurping slushies, or just friends quietly pestering one another.
This year was the first year we have had the privilege of an official PE teacher to help in the planning and organizing. Of course there is a PE teacher every year, but Coach Winsor is trained as a PE teacher and coach. Experienced or not, a traditional activity of this magnitude is a huge task for a new arrival to take on. We were thankful for his enthusiasm and expertise! He did a great job!

This is the house that Kay built...

Tonight, I will take you on a tour of a welcoming little town that gives a new meaning to recycling. Located on the edge of the shady Sahel playground, this town sprang up almost overnight. Though relatively new, it has a working bank, several stores, multiple residences(This is Kay's house. Note the generator to the far left as well as the tv antenna on the roof. She has several room mates!), an army base, and a highly organized infrastructure which includes a its own monetary system, an elected mayor, rigid driving laws, a police force, and town trash collection. Its residents are largely law abiding citizens whose goals include improving their property and working together to contribute to the ever widening community in which they live. Come for a visit! You just might move in...

For the last month or so the elementary students, and even a few middle schoolers from time to time, have used all available recess and after school play time creating and cleaning, collecting valuable junk to create "Town." In the last week, I have noticed a decrease in residents. Just as it sprang up overnight, just as suddenly it seems the children have moved on to something else, but I thought I should take the time to document the town of 2010.Two years ago there was a similar creation, both times it has spontaneously grown out of bark and broken tile, old bricks and dried leaves, and a significant number of bottle caps (the town's currency). It is funny to note that as a result of the frequent power cuts we lived through a month ago, most of the houses have "generators" on their property! Wishful building, I suppose?! The kindergarten's set of dump trucks were also strong participants in this year's town patrolling for trash and requiring a town driver's license program complete with speeding fines. I love to see our kids creating and playing in different ways! Move over Toys R Us, we have imagination! It seems the newest craze involves chairs on the lawn... we shall see!

Somewhere in outerspace....

Greetings Earthlings!
Last weekend the student council put on a community space fair. It was lots of fun with a space themed meal (alien rice and beans or moon cake anyone?), a space vehicle competition, booths of carnival games, and lots of space creatures trying to earn their astronaut status. One of the biggest hits was this space simulator. The SIMAIR guys were asked for lots of old dials and gadgets which used to transform this box into a fun ride. The astronaut could wear the headset, watch the multiple dials, and "steer" the control the yoke all the while hearing real take off sounds and feeling the vibrations as they were shaken through the outer reaches of the atmosphere. (The box was on a cart that was tipped back and shaken around on stacked tires.) The really fun part, though, was the video system set up to let the outside observers see the crew inside! Tom spent his entire ride making face at the camera... reminicent of his usual skype calls!
Tom and Heidi enthusiastically dressed up for the event. Tom, remembering his recent success as the pea during Spirit Week went as "a big, fat, green alien," his favorite part is stuffing pillows in his green shirt. Heidi decided on being a black hole. Kay decided she didn't want to dress up, but spent time masquerading as an alien at the sponge throw where she was an enthusiastic target.
With aliens there of all shapes and sizes, Tom was happy to find someone from his "home planet." Funny how she looked an awful lot like his teacher, Miss Botheras... Their class must be out of this world! :)