It’s Monday morning coffee at the kids’ school, a privileged school if for no other reason than it sits in the middle of Africa’s sunshine and offers parents morning coffee.
I wonder aloud about sending the kids to Washington.
Snow, you know, is healthy for kids, and so is the bitter cold, and the snowier and colder the better – I have science to back me up on this one – and what could be more convenient than getting in such outdoor health while on an educational trip in D.C.?
One parent sitting across from me is from Washington, that is snow-covered Washington, when he’s not in Uganda sipping Monday morning coffee and lamenting these sorts of challenges, that is being a dad to a couple of young girls in above-noted privileged school in, strangely enough, the poorest of the developing world.
(To be fair, there are few other schooling options in Uganda for expatriates because the local-yocal schools, like any public services here, have issues in terms of buildings (which may or may not be fully standing), quality of teachers (who may or may not ever get paid), and a general inability to keep up even a façade of competiveness in today’s educational world.
(This despite the fact that local-yocal-school-day might begin before sunrise and end well into the African dark.)
In either case, this Washington dad’s daughter had informed him that she planned to join the school’s recent skiing trip to Switzerland (for somewhere around a cool $2K per kid, that is per 10-year-old-kid).
To which dad responded something along the line that the chances of this trip happening for her were about the same as a snowball surviving in Dante’s Inferno.
As this astute and wise dad aptly noted, when he gets to go to Mt. Kilimanjaro (I really have to get their myself, someday), his girls can go skiing in Switzerland and forego skiing where he learned — “In Ohio!”
Next up for some of these kids from this school is a flight to Zanzibar and its turquoise beaches and fine sand: this to get away from, you know, the stresses of skiing in Switzerland.
While slightly cheaper than the skiing option, Zanzibar, according to my research, still doesn’t rival the cost-effectiveness (and advantages) of making snow angels in the back-yard, which, unfortunately for those of us in Africa, is not easy to tempt the kids with.
No, something is just not right about this, not any more than, say, treating (and naming) your kid like he (yes he) was some Greek goddess. (Hey, it happens.)
In truth, the Children’s Mother and I can tell you that our kids, in fact, do not do all that bad with it all; that is they have learned to not only learn, but to give, while in this sort of school bubble.
And in their African home, more than back in Canada, kids do have the chance to be kids, to simply have fun running in their bare-feet, something we’re profoundly grateful for.
Even so, they have their moments. A few years ago, Liz, who has a rather full passport, had a friend from her Canadian school who had just been in Paris, where, we, at the time, had never been.
“Oh Daddy,” Liz lamented. “We never get to go anywhere!”
Go to the backyard snow-pile.
In our dreams.