It is still dark, but I am awake and excited. Today is National Examination Day and I have waited a long time for this moment. I did well in my mock exams and now I hope to do even better in the real ones! I am always near the top of the class and hope to get either an A or a B. Most children in Tanzania manage a C or a D.
Every child in Tanzania takes these exams after seven years at Primary School. I am lucky to go to Lifewaylight school where we are taught in English. There are only 18 children in my class so the teachers have a lot of time for us. Unfortunately, the local government school has 150 children in a class so not all of them will pass. I was really happy when Baba James told me I would be transferring to Lifewaylight. The night before I started class there was a very long one for me.
As dawn breaks Baba James comes to see us to wish us well in the exams. 5 of us Malaika Kids are taking the exam today from the village. It is multiple choice so everyone can persuade themselves that they did well but I know that some of the questions are really tricky.
I came to Malaika Kids 6 years ago. For a while I was held in a police station. There was not enough to eat and sometimes we were beaten with a stick. Then a Welfare Officer came to see me one day and told me I would be going to a Children’s Village. I was afraid to hear this. I had met a boy who had run away from a Centre. He told me there was lots of fighting there and he was always hungry. I was worried Malaika would be the same.
But truly I was happy to arrive at our Children’s Village. There was lots of room to play and plenty to eat! Two of the things I really enjoy are debating in the hall and playing football. “Is a teacher or a doctor more valuable to society?” was one of our recent debates. I want to be a doctor when I grow up so the answer was very obvious to me! Although I am small I am quick with my feet so am good at soccer. My favourite team is Real Madrid, or maybe Manchester City. When Alan last came to visit he tried to teach me how to play rugby and how to tackle. I was not convinced. It seemed like fighting to me.
Next year I am looking forward to secondary school, where I will take O and A levels and then hopefully go to medical school. One of my friends at Malaika is already training to be a medical officer so he can give me useful tips as to what to expect. I want to go to St Matthew’s school, a boarding school midway between Dar es Salaam and Mkuranga. 3 Malaika children already study there. They tell me there is a lot of hard work but I know they are doing well. Their English is very good and they are able to have complicated discussions when people from Europe visit us.
Tonight we will have an especially good supper at the Village to celebrate the end of the exams. Tomorrow I will help Julius with the farm. There is a lot of weeding to do at this time of year. And recently we received 100 new books. I have not read all of them yet so that is something else to look forward to…