I miss my iraqi classmates.
I did spend almost all of my secondary education in the UK, and it wouldn't really be interesting to tell you about it- it was stereotypically normal, with funny times, bad times, and times when i wanted to scream.
However going back and experiencing education in Iraq, was surreal. As you know, I stopped going to a certain school, not because i got kicked out, not because i was a menace, but because simply the education system was failing, and still is.
Being tutored was not fun. Not fun at all. But time goes by suprisingly quickly, and i now find myself facing the last high school exams. Then university. 'wooh'.
At first, I tried hanging out with my cousin's friends...they even took some time off university to try and help me intergrate into the class, and i am forever grateful. I got a thousand questions asked, although they all comprised of the same 'Why?'. It was different being in an all girls school, and seeing their attitude to society and life scared me out of my skin.
But despite my lack of being able to converse with any girl, i had deep respect for all of them.
In their short lifetime, they had experienced and done so much more than some 90 year olds i had met.
They would look after younger siblings, clean the whole house, revise until late into the night, put up with war after gunfire after explosion, and they had the guts to have dreams and ambitions in such as a place like Iraq.
Here is my class, they have stereotypical groups as well as defined personalities, and as i visited more schools and universities, it was clear that any stayed in their respective groups.
The baby sitters-
these girls were supergirls. Seriously, they had more skillz than a football player on steroids. If you had any younger siblings who would not shut up, hand the screaming kid to them, and within seconds they were turned into gurgling angels by the baby sitters. Their manners often puts ghandi to shame, although i occasionally found their excessive patience and niceness scary.
this group were constantly told off for wearing hair bands that were too colourful, or socks that were too bright. They would walk around in high heels, although you could tell by their swaying walk that these 'heels' were only a recent addition. They were the first girls to talk to me, although after finding out that my interests resembled conversation other than about what colours go with green, i was duly abandoned.
this was the next group to take me in after the fashionistas realised i liked books. These girls were funny, but at the same time were rebels without a cause. They didn't speak out against anything, rather they didn't always do their homework, wore lipstick, and generally looked moody at all times. Though underneath that exterior they were all girls which were lost amongst the craziness that is life. They would have 'relationships' with boys- i.e. texting, secret calls and small gift giving to each other. Made me realise that the reason they were like this, is they had no idea what life was about and needed a purpose.
the group that weasled me out of the rebel group. These made me smile with their optimistic outlook, but at the same time infuriated me by their overly motherly personalities. They spoke like my mother and aunt do, rather than teenagers, and generally would never leave me for a second, out of fear and worry that i might get lost in the three rooms and courtyard that was the school. I kind of worried that they had had no childhood to turn out this way.Had the view that girls should never speak, approach or look at any males. It was funny watching them during physics lessons, where their heads would never actually look at the male teacher.
I just sat there. I tried to contribute to class discussions, until i realised that schools in iraq, had no such thing as 'class discussions'. In iraq, its called speaking in class, and you get told off for it.
I realised that many girls had no idea what i was talking about half the time, because they weren't used to sarcasm. I got many lectures about slowing down (I really had no idea what they meant by that, but i've decided perhaps they meant i talked too quickly?).
At the end of my time, i was planning to make a CD, but many girls didn't use computers that much, and i ended up printing photos of the year and giving them to my clasmates. It was fun, and quite touching. Girls that had been warring with each other for years hugged each other while sobbing their apologies, and i sat on the steps while smiling to myself. I may never see any one of these girls again, and i can't help but wonder about the lives each one of them will lead.
All in all, I would like to thank these girls for teaching me about optimism, humour, persistence, and i have to admit, that the so called 'worst' girl in the class was an archangel compared to me, as each girl would tell me the 'horrendous' reputation of N and S and L, i couldn't help but smile, and tell them that they were angels. Because they all were.
It only saddens me that they had never realised their own strength and value, until i told them story after story about how other girls live their lives, and how they would never revise for 7 hours straight, or spend 3 hours cleaning after sand storms.
And this is the impression I got after spending less than 3 months with them. And you all know what a harsh judge i am...
So girls of Iraq, congratulations on your lives, and i hope the rest of your days brings you hope, happiness and health.
The weather is quite sunny with a breeze, and i have managed to convince my class to play volleyball. There's no net, and i had to borrow the football from my neighbours, because i have managed to accidently throw my sisters ball into the road (where we witnessed its demise as a hummer flattened it), and i lost my brother's basketball in that big rubbish tip down the road (don't ask how).
They know the rules, and the game comprises of just laughter and arguments amongst the class-its not actually a game. Half my school clothes is covered in dirt, because there's no grass-its mud, and i keep accidently hitting people when i serve. The result being is that everyone thinks i have an anger problem (I SAID I DON'T HAVE AN ANGER PROBLEM!! :D).
We're all tired, and we end up trying to play football instead, because naturally its much easier. Goals are made from whatever is to hand, although the goals are ridiculously small. We laugh at the goal size for five minutes.Photos are taken by mobiles, and the ball rarely moves, as it stays in the middle as every girl tries to tackle it off each other. I leave the game and try to referee after i realise all i am doing is laughing and falling over. I'm an exceedingly harsh referee, so harsh that i interrupt the game almost every five minutes and find faults. I am sacked as referee, and have to act as a center player. I kick the ball and the game goes quite as we all watch my purple trainers fly off into the distance.
Two goals and three flying shoes later ( one belonged to S, one to Y and one to D), the game ends.