Arthur Scott Fund Travel Scholarship

AWARDED a Travel Scholarship from the Arthur Scott Fund in 2015, Charlie Bawden (MM 2010-15) has recently spent time volunteering at Springvale House in Zimbabwe, which serves as the preparatory school within the Peterhouse Group of Schools. She writes:

Having spent the first five years of my life on the campus of the Boys’ School, it was a real pleasure to return to the place that I have always remembered so fondly.

As a Junior Mistress (JM), I mainly spent my time looking after the 12 infant boarders (Grade 1 and 2) who were five or six years old. The day started at 6.00am when I woke them up and made sure they were dressed having brushed their teeth and made their beds (with pyjamas perfectly folded under their pillows!) before we went to breakfast.

After serving breakfast to my table and attending assembly (which even in the middle of winter occurred outside), I spent the morning listening to the Grade 1, 2, 3 and 4s read. This was very important for the younger pupils as I had to make sure that each child had the right book and words to read to the Grade 7 monitors, teachers or parents later on in the day. I found the reading so rewarding. To see the children, especially the ones who struggled, make huge improvements with their words was lovely.

Every afternoon, after taking the day scholars siesta for an hour, I coached sport whether it was Grade 3 girls hockey and netball or Grade 4 boys rugby! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent in the sun coaching the children and was very fortunate to have four other JM’s whom I spent much of my time with. Three of whom were also extremely keen cricketers! My evenings consisted of making sure the infants had polished their shoes and then properly showered and dried themselves before getting dressed for supper. I then put the infants to bed at 7pm usually after a story and a prayer.

I was also lucky enough to get the opportunity to accompany the Grade 7s (equivalent of Year 8) on their week long residential trip to Rifa Educational Camp, North Zimbabwe. I found this week particularly enjoyable as our accomodation was in the middle of the bush and I had to supervise many activities that I myself have never done and might never do again. On three occasions I was part of a group which canoed up the croc and hippo infested Zambezi River and was responsible for two children within my canoe. This was quite nerve-racking as a small deviation into a current could lead to a confrontation with crocodile or hippo. However, the week was thoroughly enjoyable and the children were a pleasure to look after.

Although I did not myself attend a boarding preparatory school, there were many differences between Marlborough and Springvale. Imagine if every pupil at Marlborough had to polish their shoes every day to be inspected and then remember to take their serviettes to and from the dining hall! It really was a different world but I really enjoyed the teaching experience. It was so interesting spending time with children who were from completely different backgrounds All of the pupils were so polite and I soon felt so at home as the staff were so welcoming. I made some incredible friends and I plan to return back soon.