One of the most amazing experiences any teenager might have is a boarding school since it comes with mixed feelings of excitement and worries.
Students, mostly girls, shared with KT Press their experience when they first went to boarding school.
Kennie Ineza Ruzindana, a 13-year-old girl who started her senior two at College du Christ-Roi de Nyanza this year, shared what her first year in boarding school looked like.
“It was worrisome leaving home because it meant losing one’s comfort and venturing into a new land. Going away from my mother and siblings was troublesome,” she said.
“I was obliged to do all things by myself without my parents’ support or without being reminded. The food was very challenging, and I missed my family so much.”
As far as relationship is concerned, she said that in senior one, boys were also new and struggling to fit in at school as girls were doing the same.
For Grace Mutabazi, a 17-year-old girl, now in senior six at College ASPESKA, “At first, when we were approaching the end of the holidays, I was excited. I tried to be positive about the situation, but as my first day of boarding school was approaching, anxiety stole my courage,”Mutabazi said.
“When I reached the school, it was very challenging. In evening my new friend told me that I needed to fetch water late at night if I wanted to bathe the following morning. The reason was that getting water was survivor of the fittest in the morning,” she said.
Mutabazi told KT Press that she first had her menstruation when she was in Senior two but her mother had briefed her even before starting the first year.
“My mother taught me everything before joining secondary school, she even packed the pad for me,” she narrated.
Menwhile, Mary Nyirinkindi, a mother of three teenage girls who are in High school shared the story of how she used to send her girls to boarding school.
“I tell my girls that a boarding school is an amazing place for making new friends which is true. I tell them that they are in safe hands. I always tell them that they should be disciplined and obey the school authorities. I promise to be there for them, and visit them, which I do. They do understand and the excitement they always have to join secondary school makes them comfortable,” Nyirinkindi said.
In the case of Ines Ghislaine Nyinawumuntu, a mother of two young girls now in Primary six said she is doing her level best to prepare them to join boarding school.
“ I wish to have my daughters in a boarding school. I know how this comes with a stress reason why I prepare her thoroughly,” she said.
Nyinawumuntu added that parents should be friend with their daughters to be able to communicate sexual reproductive health.
“She already knows that she will have her menstrual period, she knows how to use pads, and I have told her how to deal with her boyfriends. We share almost everything,” she said.
Nyinawumuntu emphasized that parents should give accurate information before they are misled by peers.
A mother who preferred to remain anonymous told us that she waited for her girl to be somehow mature to join a boarding school to make sure that she watches her at a very delicate stage of life.
“I waited for her to grow up, at least to be sure that I can tell her everything and she understands. I advise parents not to send children in boarding when they are still too young, but, in the end a child should get the boarding school experience,” she said.
“I warned her that in boarding school some students misbehave, and can be engaged in drug abuse, sexual activities, and stealing, among other bad vices. By the time she went to boarding school, she was aware of everything,” the mother said.
This mother discusses with daughter her sexual reproductive life and her boyfriends.
“Parents should be friends with their daughters, instead of being harsh to them,” she said.
Attending a boarding school is a good experience but may be a cause for alarm if parents are absent minded.
Parents must be the prime source of all information the Children need. They should provide natural information known in Kinyarwanda as “Ubwenge bwo ku ishyiga.”