Thursday, May 31, 2012
With exams looming large on the horizon things have been somewhat frantic of late. In addition to attending the many extra curricular activities, we have both been spending a great deal of time in the evenings writing the 2 exams for each level we teach. The number one concern is actually finishing the curriculum before the time runs out and that is a challenge in a society where classes can be abandoned and adhoc meetings called for some very obscure reasons. To say nothing of the constant stream of additional duties that simply take over one’s life at a moment’s notice.
Just as my school was beginning to gear up for the cluster sports meeting which we were pretty sure we would be asked to host and were imagining a May deadline, the District Athletics’ Meet was announced. We had completed all the inter-house competitions for every known sport and were selecting the most likely competitors for the school teams when all that activity was put on hold and the athletics took over.
With only a week’s notice, the logistics involved in successfully completing the diverse variety of tasks that needed preparation, was a real challenge. This event did however give us the welcome pleasure of having a perfect reason to invite the most influential guest in the Dzongkhag (district) the Dasho Dzongda ( goverernor) to formally and officially open the new grandstand that has been erected and painted in the spectacular traditional style on my school campus. Pomp and ceremony is something that is taken very seriously here and this occasion was no exception.
With 8 schools involved and all of the competitors and their supervising teachers as well as other officials spending at least one night sleeping on the floor in our classrooms, there were plenty of jobs to be attended to.
There is always a class XII student for the job
Of course the new grand stand required bunting to be put up, as did the entire circumference of the playing field.
Pits had to be dug and sand hauled bag by bag from the nearby riverbanks.
get a dozen or so girls to do it
The tracks had to be marked. First Aid teams had to prepare necessary supplies. Cleanup teams were employed scouring the campus.
Catering had to be organised to feed a hundred odd extra mouths and the refreshment team had to ensure that snacks were available for sale,
and liquids provided to all with the correct etiquette and protocol.
Pine needles had to be collected and scattered on any path that the Dasho would walk on.
Scoreboards, prizes and certificates and writers had to be found.
And another million other tasks were also required and all this and more, fell into place with the usual level creative and resourceful engagement of the whole school cohort, coordinated by teaching and non-teaching staff in the scant time available after classes finished on Friday afternoon.
tying rose petals into the ceremonial scarf!
As has become the norm I was allocated the responsibility of capturing the event for prosperity and I began by getting myself a team of proven, keen photographers, armed with cameras and newly purchased spare batteries, as assistants.
On Saturday morning while eating breakfast at home I could hear the whistles blowing and cheering and instantly knew that the events had already begun a good hour and a half before the scheduled time. I hustled myself off to school as quickly as possible.
It was a sunny morning and many of the field events had been rescheduled to the earlier cooler part of the day, and on arrival I was astounded at how smoothly the whole event had got underway.
We stopped for breakfast, (my second) at about 9am, as by then we knew our chief guest had been delayed.
As usual the RHSS mess did itself proud and the students and staff, from elsewhere were impressed with the food.
The fiercely competitive but friendly atmosphere changed to joviality, while completing students stood in the blazing sun in full school uniform awaiting the arrival of Dasho and the start of the official opening ceremonies. I did not hear a single complaint about the heat or inconvenience and all readily engaged in the role allocated them, much to my amazement.
Soon I was able to see the real splendor of the ceremonial procedures and watch the students do themselves proud, while positively overheating myself in my traditional attire.
Once lunchtime approached I managed to slip home and and leave the remainder of the recording of the events to my ever ready, willing and able assistants,
while we implemented our prior plan to visit Ashley in Kanglung .
But that is another story.....