Well, I didn’t really go anywhere – except for the dark depths of S3/4 prelims and reports. As I have four classes at this level it’s been an interesting couple of weeks! At least I can get back to the normal workload – plus S5 prelims of course.
Unfortunately, I received some bad news towards the end of last week. A colleague of mine from when I was working in Namibia has passed away. When I arrived as a regional advisory teacher in the Caprivi I had very little idea what I was going to do – I had only been teaching three years and I was going to have to train experienced teachers. There wasn’t even anyone doing the job already.
Many of the Namibian advisory teachers were understandably quite wary of this young white fellow coming out to tell them what to do and as a result, I was left very much to get on with it on my own. The one encouraging and helpful face I had for my first few months in post is no longer with us.
He always did his best to help me anyway he could and he was clearly a very intelligent and enthusiastic educator who had become trapped in the straight jacket of Namibian bureaucracy.
About 2/3 of the way through my year, he began to have a lot of time off work. He looked sicker and sicker each time I saw him and I assumed that he must have been HIV positive and had now developed AIDS. This is not an incredible assumption to make in the Caprivi as the infection rate is estimated to be 40%. This was explained to us during our induction as almost every second person you pass in the supermarket could be infected. A very sobering thought.
It was actually only last week when I wondered how this colleague was getting on. To be perfectly honest, I was wondering how long it would be until I received an email saying that he had passed away. And then the email arrived on Friday.
Very sad. My thoughts are with his family. Especially his beautiful kids, whom I’ve never met, but seen many times pictured all over the walls of his office.