Every primary student (up to Grade 5) at the school is required to wear a hat when outside for lunch or recess. If they don’t, they are restricted to a small shaded area. The Zambian sun is very hot mid-day and kids could easily get sunstroke. Copious water-drinking is also encouraged. Most teachers also don a hat and carry a water bottle when outside.
When I was on a break the other day, the array of hats on the playground was so colourful that I thought I’d snap a few pictures. Some of the kids were happy to pose for me, showing off their chapeaus.
The older kids have no such restrictions – presumably they have enough brains to stay hydrated and out of the sun on their own. And for the most part, they do! The campus is open and there are plenty of ready-made places to sit for lunch, or study or a giggle with your friends.
It is a very different lunch-time scene than ones I am used to, with all the kids crammed into a cafeteria, sitting at long tables and making a racket. Somehow, being able to find a shady nook to sit and eat with a small group of friends seems much more civilised…