Minipost 21 – What No TV? What to do with Kids in the Middle of Nowhere.

 

July has kicked in and with it the refreshing storms. School is out and – for once – we’re not going anywhere. This time last year, we were back in the UK and most years we seem to have been somewhere other than at LAMB for the summer vacation. It’s great not rushing around but now we have the opposite problem – what to do with the kids?

Dad, I’m BORED. Who cares I’m in the Sundarbans with tigers and snakes. I’m still bored….

Bangladesh isn’t a land full of educational opportunity, nor one where many are able to pursue hobbies. For the majority here, life is too much of a daily struggle for such things. We don’t have quite that struggle ourselves but we do have the issue of there being nothing for the kids to do. No clubs, parks, or activity schemes. Nothing.

TV would be one wonderful answer but ours broke recently after lightning came through the aerial cable and fried it. We’re still waiting to see if it will ever live again but the dokan outside LAMB has had it for weeks with little progress. But then, reading other blogs around the world, it would seem that TV, computer games and the like aren’t the answer anyway. Kids still get bored. Maybe it’s just as well then, that we’ve never encouraged that to be the answer and have always limited the amount of  “screen time”.

Our Pukur – complete with snakes and shrimp which nibble you if you stay still too long!

LAMB may be in the middle of nowhere, but it does a have a pukur, a pool to swim in (along with the snakes, fish and shrimp that live there too) but it is still a little shallow and needs a bit more rain before we can make use. Maybe at the end of the month.

Both son and daughter have music practice to do each day, so that takes up an hour. My daughter and I have completed our third day of writing our novels and have about 6,000 words done so far but, again, that’s just another hour. I read some Horrible Histories magazines with them some of the time, which is great fun AND educational and we all have Bangla lessons at least once a week. After that though, it’s a struggle. Ki Korbo? What to do?

I can’t spend all my time with them as I have work to do for school and 20,000 words of MA essays to write – plus my three book projects which are long overdue. Isn’t ADHD wonderful?! My long-suffering wife works full time at Rehab so, she can’t do much but she gives special time to each kid when she gets home.

He may look angelic but don’t be deceived…

Our most successful trick, however, is that we’ve given my fellow ADHD boy a timetable each day which has helped tremendously. He sticks to the list and does nothing for more than an hour so he doesn’t lose concentration…much.  That’s good. Saves me from killing him.

We’ll muddle through – but give us a thought next time you’re complaining about summer vacations and how your own kids sit around with nothing to do. I bet they have really.

Waddya mean I have a cheesy grin?! I’m on holiday! I’m allowed to look stoopid…

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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6 Responses to Minipost 21 – What No TV? What to do with Kids in the Middle of Nowhere.

  1. Coming East says:

    They could write a little play and perform it for you. It doesn’t have to be original. They could use a story they already know. They can spend time making costumes and rehearsing, and then plan a performance night, complete with popcorn. If there are other children they know, they can include them in the performance. Our kids used to do this when they were little, and it was great summer fun.

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    • Funny you should say that! My daughter just wrote a play based on the story called ‘Holes’ and her class presented it at the end of year concert. She did very well with it I thought!

      Popcorn and dressing up materials are a bit harder to get hold of. There is not much here and foreign things like popcorn are only really available in dhaka – 12 hours away.

      The lack of other children – whose parents tend to take them off to see relatives far away during the summer break is a big problem for us. All of my son’s friends have gone so he is feeling very lonely. A few of my daughter’s are still here but they are all much more into make up and dancing than doing plays!

      Still, we seem to be getting by. My son is enjoying learning to use tools at the workshop here and even came back with two proper working door hinges he had made the other day! He is sooo likely to become an engineer! 🙂

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      • Coming East says:

        Doesn’t have to be popcorn. Any little snack would do. As for “costumes,” you would be amazed at what kids can dream up with next to nothing. That’s the fun of it. Since your daughter’s class just did this, she has some experience now.

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