I walked through the doors of Abadir Institute, my elementary school, and immediately felt like a giant. The wide outdoor where the boys played soccer, and the girls ran around playing “abarosh” (tag), now felt too small.
We used to line up in a queue with our classmates every morning at 8 or 8:30 in this once-really-huge yard. I remember when I used to line up in the far left side, being the youngest of them all-1st grade. Then I remembered the rush we felt as we moved to the right-2nd grade, when other younger kids lined up to our left.
Each step I took into the rest of the school came with years and years of unforgettable memories. During recess, the popular kids or the upperclassmen would sit on the bench looking stone behind the two trees and mingle. Of course, I don’t think I ever sat there. But I do remember that’s also where the principal used to punish misbehaving students in the morning during line up in front of everyone.
I walked up the stairs and to my left where I saw the stairs to the classrooms. Right next to it stood the large stone which everyone used as a slide. I was too scared of that, only slid down once.
I went up to the classrooms but they were locked for the weekend. I looked through the window of one of my old classrooms. The desks were lined up as they used to. I remember, whenever we forgot to bring our books or homework to class, we hid under one of the desk tables for the entire class. Since we sat 3 or 4 people to a desk, there was no way the teacher would catch us. And if we did get caught we would just say that we dropped something. Ahh, kids.
So I turned back down the stairs and remembered when I tumbled all the way down those steps. I remember my skirt was covering my face and felt so humiliated that everyone just stood there and watched. Someone picked me up, but I forgot who that was.
Again, I walked back and to the right side of the school where the restrooms stood. The upper side (left) was the girls and the right
side was for the boys.
Because the bathrooms didn’t have doors to them, we always went with a friend. When I would go in to use, she would stand in front of me (facing outside of course) and being as a door, hold her skirt to cover for me. We used to say “keleyegn” to say cover for me. Lol
In the open space right above the restroom, the girls played a lot of different games that I don’t remember to mention right now. We played jump rope; we tied 5 or 6 jump ropes (or torn up t-shirts) and jumped in and out as two girls held from opposite sides. Anyway, we played a lot of fun games.
Then I walked all the way up to the last part of the school where the open space is now filled with desks. We used that space to eat lunch. (OHH, I think this is their lunch room; they eat on desks now; we used to sit on the floor, used our books as stools.)
I remember I used to trade my pasta and macaroni to old fashion shiro. (I don’t know why people hate on shiro; it’s the best stuff ever. [It’s a traditional Ethiopian dish, just awesome.])
Then I went to the back classrooms, my last classroom, 6th grade. We had an end of the year party for our teachers. (Unsuccessful). Other classes brought all kinds of cookies and soda, had awesome music and they danced all day.
My disorganized class was just as bad as its name. People would give enough money, so we didn’t have enough cookies. The guy, who promised to bring music, didn’t. So we just had a full day of no classes, just spent the day like that.
As I finished taking pictures, the cleaning lady followed me back and asked me if I remember her. I didn’t. (Shame on me.) Her name was Etagey Menber. She’s been working there since 1990 E.C. or 1998 G.C.
She hugged me and asked me to come back soon to meet the other ladies who also have been working for that long. I also met Ato Teka, the guard who stood at the gate everyday.
When he saw my dad, he asked, “Where is that little girl that you used to bring? Is that her?!” lol Yea, that was me.