Walking to school today, I saw no children outside- in their uniforms but not in class. Unusual, for sure.
There was no singing in the morning.
None of the teachers' cars were present as I rolled in.
There were no children hanging upside-down dangerously from already-bending-too-far-tree-branches.
There were no dogs sniffing around the grounds in search of spare bits the zero-nutrient snacks sold by the hawkers just outside the school grounds. Nor were there chickens.
There were no children playing around the water pump that only has water every once in a while.
There was no one working on the new pit toilets.
There were no teachers in the staff room singing as they grade their papers.
There were no classes left unattended and chaotic.
There were no children to still be slightly scared of me and greet me shyly ... even after I've been here for a year and a half.
No belts being used as weapons, and no need for me to scold little boys to put them back on properly.
No grocery store bags, rice or mealie bag backpacks.
No "hello, how are you?"s followed by bashful faces buried in hands.
No text messages returned, no one to answer my phonecalls ...
Why the heck wasn't there anyone at school today????