Getting Ready for School || a day in the life

by Phoebe Giffey-Brohaugh

Njabulo was up by 4:30 this morning, because his dad went to work. When his father works, he gets up early to say goodbye. When we arrive at 6, his niece, Mbali, is unusually quiet, because she has just gotten out of bed. Njabulo is busy with trying to find his belt and putting on his shoes. The hens are looking for seeds and bugs, and the roosters are beginning to crow. There is thick fog covering the hill the house is on.

His mother, Silvia, has been up since 4:30 as well. She’s been busy cleaning, washing dishes, and helping Njabulo find clean school clothes. He has been sick the past couple of days, so he’s moving a little slow. Njabulo sits in the doorway and watches cartoons while he wakes up. His mother is busy in the other room making him breakfast: tea and toast. “He likes toast very much. He eats it every morning,” she says as she spreads butter on the freshly sliced brown bread.

Mbali sets out a cold drink case upside down so Njabulo can put his plate and cup on it. Rex the dog is still sleeping. His mother hands him some coins to buy snacks at school.

Usually Njabulo walks almost one kilometer (0.62 miles) to school. Today, in exchange for taking pictures, we are driving him there. Usually he brings his bookbag, but today at school they are getting the classrooms ready for testing. The children aren’t required to attend on these days, but many of them do, so they can eat their free lunch.

Along the drive, all the other kids are piling into taxis to take to school or walking in small groups on the road. When we arrive at Embonisweni Primary School around 7:15 am, he seems a bit shy. He doesn’t want to be seen getting his pictures taken, so we sit in the car.

Thank you for following along Njabulo’s journey as he gets ready for school. Tune in next week for Part 2!