Sea School

School continues, of course, it must. As it has continued on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and in the bush between one place and someplace else.  Our school calendar is dictated by that of Hat’s older siblings, not by geography.

So – school goes on, albeit in a warmer, sandier and sometimes more watery shape than it would ordinarily.

Hat’s education this week has included a swim beyond the reef with her father. I watched, anxiously, flanked by two equally anxious dogs, as the piled off the coral and into the deep blue; Hat’s small pale hand clutching tightly and determinedly to her dad’s broad sunburned shoulder. She told me later, when she clambered out of the water, that she had seen a ‘Finding Nemo’ fish, that she had dived to the bottom and touched the sand, that she had been a little afraid, but not for long, not with her dad there. Her underwater adventures have continued with the spotting of puffer fish, a venomous stone fish and tiny, decorative ‘magic carpets’ floating their colourful way through the depths.

Our marine biology lessons have even extended into our dining: lunch out at a Japanese restaurant and Hat experienced her first taste of sushi and sashimi. It arrived at the table in an ornate boat, garnished with beetroot roses, carrot flowers and string-thin ribbons of onion and cucumber.  ‘How beautiful!’ exclaimed Hat. She gamely tried the tuna and the salmon and the octopus, she daringly dipped morsels into wasabi and dunked it into soy sauce. She did her best. But I think she learned, from her oriental seafood lesson, that she perhaps wouldn’t be ordering sushi again for a while. Handy given that the Outpost offers little in the way of culinary excursion and even less of the raw fish variety.

She is articulating an argument this morning in her science book about why the seas mustn’t be overfished. She keeps gazing out towards the beach and the distant breakers rolling lazily over the submerged reef.

I know where she’d rather be.

Soon, Hat, soon.


8 Responses to “Sea School”

  1. Irene Says:

    It must be extraordinary to be taught school in such an environment. I suppose she is experiencing things that she will never forget, being planted in her mind like little seeds. What an adventure it must be to be your daughter, but of course, it is a more “normal” life to her. Still, it will shape the way she sees and experiences the world around her when she is a grown up and her take on events and people will always be different than that of an “ordinary” adult. She will be used to a very colorful world and a very silent world when you compare it to that of a western child. I think that, given a choice, a child would choose to live in the bush, but I may be mistaken about that and view it way too romantically and imagine it too much through my own child’s eyes.

  2. Roberta Says:

    I can not express how gratifying it is to me to sit down with my morning coffee and read about your adventures with Hat.

    Thank you for allowing us to share your world.

  3. maggie may Says:

    As usual, your descriptive writing takes me to a beautiful place where I can stop a while & visualize the scene. Glad you are enjoying the break!

  4. Mom de Plume Says:

    I would love to give my children the life that Hat has! I am sure she will cherish the momories forever. I thought my own nomadic childhood was exciting, but school on the beach wins hands down!

  5. Mom de Plume Says:

    That should read ‘memories’ – I am typing one handed with a baby on my lap! 🙂

  6. Tash Says:

    Finally! Memsabu, finally… I have caught up with all the posts I’ve missed since last August, when I left France, and internet access and went home to Kenya. Now, I’m back here – have been two weeks already, and just itching to talk to you. I’ll send a long email, but wanted to say how enriching your blog is – it was already, but it is even more so now. In particular, your posts on our beloved Kenya – saying things that need to be said – and evidently, so widely read these days – you’ve drawn a following akin to that of the Pied Piper – though, not – fortunately – with long tails and whiskers… Honestly, you are So Good at this – your writing really humbles me – I’ve been reading masses of posts out to Dad and Dave, both with me at the moment, and we’ve laughed, and shared lumps in our throats at them all… Really looking forward to catching up – drop me a line if you’ve time, but I’ll also be writing you a long one…

  7. Iota Says:

    Tash, you’re making assumptions here. Maybe I do have whiskers and a tail…

  8. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks all. my responses sporadic as i duck into and out of tiny internet cafes on the beach armed with the necessary in fiscal and flash disks.

    Irene – I hope she will remember it as a precious memory. It will be to me.

    Thank you Roberta. It’s all thanks to Hat, really. She makes it all much more interesting for me. I’m very lucky.

    maggie may: I am, enjoying the break. a different kind of peaceful. it will be nice to get home though, after more than three weeks: nothing like one’s own bed is there?

    mom de plume – pretty cool isn’t it: school on the beach. today our art class was a sandcastle on a sand island … not because I’m disciplined but because by 10 am maths inside was quite enough: the water and the sky and the beach beckoned.

    dearest tash: how lovely to hear from you. I was wondering where you were. i shall write an epistle when home. with love xx

    And I think she might have – whiskers and a tail … pied piper that is.

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