Bokamoso/Lossiemouth High Partnership – The Journey to Global Citizenship

This partnership initially started several years ago following a visit to the school while I was doing some work for SQA in Botswana. I later applied for a Reciprical Grant from the British Council which allowed me to revisit (with an ex pupil) & for the Head Teacher of Bokamoso to visit us.

We then moved into a year of fundraising to take some staff & pupils to Botswana. We planned to take 4 members of staff & 6 pupils, however 8 teachers came forward so we interviewed pupils who were interested in joining us. The pupil interviews were amazing – showing an incredible desire to become involved – in the end we selected 12 pupils.

8 staff & 12 pupils – the fundraising had to start in earnest. All staff & pupils paid £600 into the fund raising pot. During the year we raised funds in a number of ways such as: Hells Kitchen Night; Auction; Car Boot Sale; Sponsored Darts Match; Donations from Dick Bequest; Donations from Mary Salmond Trust; Donation from Sir Tom Farmer; Donation from Rotary Club; Numerous bag packs; Money made from recycling boxes; staff/parents/pupils/friends dance.

This fund raising was hard work. As we were raising the funds the value of the Pula and the Pound were falling in relation to the pound, this therefore added to the strain of raising the full sum needed.

The best thing about this part of the journey was the relationships building between staff, pupils & parents. To say we had a laugh is an understatement, I feel the success of this partnership is based on these relationships and the relationships we developed whilst in Botswana.

Our school values are:

RESPECT EXCELLENCE TEAMWORK HUMOUR

You will see these values reflected throughout the trip.

Arrival in Botswana

I was delayed at immigration as I had to ensure that all the staff and pupils had got through with the correct documentation. We were then to be picked up by bus so I sent the rest of the team through to look for a guy with a sign with my name on it. Well, when I got through to join the rest of the group they were in tears – the sight that had met their eyes was a group of 40 teachers & pupils all with Scottish flags & banners welcoming us to their country – Incredibly heartwarming.

Our First Day at School

We were made to feel really at home (except for the heat!) – staff and pupils starting to make friendships and making specific departmental contacts. Our Art teacher set up home within the Art Dept, our Home Economist made plans for a weeks cookery, our PE specialist took part in PE lessons and started preparations for a Basketball match to be played between the pupils. Our music specialist met their music specialist and the Scotwana choir was born (more about this later). Coaching workshops were arranged where our coaches worked with our teaching colleagues from Botswana – to allow this to happen the remainder of our teachers and pupils covered classes teaching maths, social subjects and our “Lets find out about Scotland & Botswana Topic”. All of the activities grew as the week progressed.

The joint Art Projects were a great success. The Home Economics was a little more basic than what we are used to. We got beat in the basketball match – “it was the heat!”. The Scotswana Choir made up of staff and pupils from both countries practised songs from both countries and performed their opening gig at the school assembly at the end of the week. When we return next year we will take proper recording equipment and make a CD of our songs – X Factor here we come!

Every day we debriefed on our work & feelings encountered during the day. Our first debrief at the end of day 1 was the most important in my mind. This was a group of experienced teachers I had with me and a group of eager pupils. I had been to Botswana before so I therefore knew what this partnership meant to the people of Bokamoso – would my colleagues experience the same enthusiasm for the project as I had? The answer was a most certain yes – that debrief was one of the most poignant moments on the trip. All 20 of us expressed our feelings now that we had met our colleagues and their pupils. Some of the statements made reduced colleagues to tears. I knew then that this wonderful group would start a relationship that would make a difference and we would become global citizens.

Look at the photos included with this story – they capture the true essence of the partnership.

“Our week in Botswana was amazing. I learnt so much in such a short amount of time.The people we met were so inspiring. I’m starting to see life from a new perspective! -

Samantha McKendrick

“It gave me the opportunity to experience a completely different culture and way of life, while realising just how fortunate we are here at home”. – Kirsty McKenzie

“Going into school that first morning I didn’t know what to expect. However, as the day progressed I got a real insight into their school life” – Kim Slee

“It was really eye-opening to see how much the children appreciate school, and it made me realise how much we take for granted in our own lives. Even though we were there for a limited amount of time I feel that we made a difference”. – Charlotte Wilson

Our last day was interrupted by a General Election in Botswana – the school was closed. Some Bokamoso staff took our group on a tour of the pupil catchment area. Yes, there were lots of happy smiling faces even though they lived in great poverty. A real thought provoking end to our time in Botswana.

We finished our lunch with a few days in Cape Town where we visited Cape Point, stopping off to watch a group of whales and visited Boulders Beach to see the resident penguin colony. We toured Robben Island and went up Table Mountain. We also visited 2 townships within Cape Town.

We have brought back many memories – I hope this gives you a flavour of the Respect, Excellence, Teamwork & Humour that was evident throughout our trip.