Plotinus in the Jungle

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The Education of Ms. Hippopotamus


Anastasia, as I mentioned earlier, has started preschool!

Excited for her first day

There are some teachers for the deaf down at the Fatima school complex that we are acquainted with- their daughters came to Annie’s birthday party, and the husband showed Brandon the nearby river when we had just arrived. They decided, having just a few deaf children, to open up the preschool/kindergarten class to nearby families. Instruction is in English and Melanesian Sign Language simultaneously. Most of the children are a little older (4 and up) but English is their 2nd or 3rd language. So Annie, as a native English speaker, keeps up just fine, it seems. The teacher is interested in eventually developing an Early Intervention program but decided to run this preschool/kindergarden this year to gauge interest.

outside the one-room schoolhouse

They have story time, blocks and playdough time, recess, elementary catechetics,  and phonics drills– enculturated, of course. Annie now walks around repeating “C, ‘kuh’, curly cuscus. H, ‘hah’, happy hornbill, R,’rr’, running raskol.” This week they had a special sports day and played soccer. There is also the important social component of learning classroom etiquette and peer relations. Annie’s favorite quote from school is, “Teacher says ‘No Fighting!'”


I asked her teacher  after mass on Sunday what it meant that Annie was crowned Ms. Hippopotamus. Annie had described the classroom decorations of flowers and greenery for World Environment Day, but neglected to mention the discussion of animals, their environments, and the acting out of each individual’s animal that apparently ensued. I would have liked to see her impression of a hippo. (There aren’t many mammals here, so I guess they branched out to other continents.)

Some of the children’s names are Sonia, Janelouise, Sikline, Fireman, and Joyous.

Annie likes school and is proud to have a class to attend, surrounded as she is by the educational context. Her teacher also told me that when Miriam goes to pick her up, she often yells that she doesn’t want to go home!

We’re glad that Annie has this opportunity.

In other learning news, Tabitha is working on that whole neck control thing. She’s also trying out smiling and saying “Goo…”!

Tummy time while Mama takes the diapers off the line


  1. Doug Hanson says:

    Hi Brandon and Rebecca,

    We’ve been following your posts. It’s been fun to read about the birth of Tabitha, her baptism, and Annie’s pre-school opportunity.  Glad that things are going well for you all.

    We were in a game store recently and saw a board game based on FireFly! Have you seen it before?

    Doug hopes to be back in early July for the MATS conference. Jan is waiting for her visa, for the sale of our house, and for our son to get a job. Lord willing, she’ll be back in mid-late July.

    Thinking about you all, Jan and Doug



  2. […] of it by telling her we were going to go see some birds… and she was very excited to find a H, hah, happy hornbill at the Madang Resort Hotel.  We took our aforementioned PMV boat ride to Kranket Island, where a […]


  3. […] she is very happy to return to preschool, now that the roadblock is […]



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