On the Hunt

I had been hearing about it all year from the boys in my class. Each year, on the last day of the second term of the school year, the boys get to do an Easter egg hunt in the school. Each teacher is given two eggs for each of their boys to find in their classrooms and then the boys get to tear through the school, searching for their prizes. I had two boys who float around the school join my class for the activity, so I had to hide ten eggs in my classroom while the boys were across the orphanage eating lunch in the dining hall. There aren’t too many places in our classroom that anyone can hope to hide anything, so I did my best to hide the eggs well. I didn’t keep track of where I was putting the eggs because I figured the boys would easily be able to find all ten.

When lunch concluded, the boys filtered back into the school and, one at a time, each grade searched for their eggs. I did my best to snap a couple photos of the boys looking around their tiny classrooms. It was cute to watch the little ones search.

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When it was time for my class to begin searching, it took them far longer than I thought it would to find the eggs. After five minutes, the five boys had only found a total of three eggs. “You’re a good hider, Sir!” I think it was probably about fifteen minutes before nine of the eggs had been found. Some older boys had to come help my boys search after a while. The sad conclusion of the whole thing was that, one of the eggs was never found. I should have known to write down the location of each egg I hid. Alas, it is what it is. The student who missed out on his second egg was given another chance to look for an extra egg, so he didn’t miss out on any prizes.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the prizes in the eggs weren’t candy or something silly that the boys would just break. Inside half of the eggs were temporary tattoos, and the other half of the eggs had “tablets” which, when you put them in warm water, expand into fun shapes, like dinosaurs or elephants. I thought both prizes were original ideas. The boys wore their tattoos around on their arms and cheeks like badges of honor for the rest of the day.

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At the conclusion of the first term of this school year, I really struggled to make sense of how the Guyanese educational system does their testing for the students. Basically, for the last two weeks of school, I had no idea what was going on and really struggled to make sense of my time at school. Knowing that this confusing time period was approaching again this term, I buckled myself into a “go with the flow” attitude that worked out really, really well for me. I wasn’t stressed at all and, in a really cool way, I was able to see the situations in front of me and recognize that if I wasn’t “going with the flow”, I would be extremely stressed out. To be able to look at a situation and acknowledge that it’s stressful WITHOUT feeling that stress…I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced something like that before. It was really pleasing. Now, of course, I didn’t just ignore what was going on around me, but I was able to keep things in perspective and just managed my class and the chaos of an elementary school approaching a long break the best I could.

When the Easter eggs were done, I did my best to get all of my grading done and close up my classroom. The boys were so very ready to get out of school. I was too. What I didn’t realize was, after I locked up my room and stepped out into the driveway of the orphanage, that I was happily willing to hang around for a while and bask in the happiness of kids buzzing with excitement on a Friday afternoon. Some of the older boys were tricking in from school, too, so I made myself present for them for about two hours before actually packing up and heading home. I always enjoy spending time with the high school boys. Their lives are so different from the younger guys. They think and talk about totally different things. Sitting among a group of five of them that afternoon, I was able to eaves drop on some of the things that they spew off to one another. They certainly talk fast and mumble a lot, but I followed most of what they were saying. They love to watch girls walk by on the street in front of the orphanage. Also, they had a lengthy discussion about the Easter egg hunt being put on for them later on in the evening. Apparently, the eggs contain $100 bills (that’s about $0.50 US), but this year one of the eggs would contain a $500 bill. I left before their egg hunt, so I hope they didn’t kill each other while searching for the special egg.

It was getting dark when the bus dropped me off in downtown Georgetown. As I made my way toward home, one of the oldest boys from the orphanage crossed paths with me. He was heading for the bus, trying to get home quickly. “They haven’t started looking for eggs yet, have they?” I assured him he would make it on time. How funny, even the 17-year-olds look forward to searching for Easter eggs. It’s good to postpone growing up sometimes. Perhaps I’ll take a page out of the boys’ book.

About mattylife

"And no one is a stranger...for long."
This entry was posted in Guyana, South America. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On the Hunt

  1. Barbara Nicholas says:

    Matt, you brought me right into Guyana. I was the driver yesterday when you phoned Claudia, so she told me about your blogs and shared this one. I tend to agree that she is correct: you seem to have a great heart, are very articulate, full of compassion. Seems like a Loretto boy to me! All the best.

  2. Larry says:

    Brings back memories of the easter egg hunts we had for the kids every Easter at my brothers place. Great post.

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