It is always odd for me that the year in England ends in July. So there were many celebrations to say farewell to students (and us volunteers and apprentices) that were leaving Ruskin Mill.
First was the end of year student party, where the graduates walked the land for the last time, and came down the Hill to an awaiting clapping crowd of tutors, support workers and staff with a staff of fire, to light a special fire that symbolizes their going forward into the future. It was very emotional. One student had to wear sun glasses as he was supposed to be cool.
We had spent the morning setting up archways of flowers through which they walked.
Then some of the students played music for us..some of which they composed themselves. We were in tears at that point.
The tension was broken by games of tug of war and slippery pole pillow fights.
We then had a delicious lunch of roast lamb on the spit (one of our own dear sheep) and a vegetarian patty option roasted on a barbecue.
At the end of the week we had a ceremony where the students received their certificates , displayed their creations and gave speeches to their parents and care givers.
Again an emotional time. It made me realize how special is this opportunity to be at Ruskin Mill and see how much they have learnt along the way. Many of the students do not live with their families, who often live far away. Those who are leaving are also given gifts. These are quite substantial and well thought out to further their careers in some way. These are a few photos of the many crafts they had created.
This was a wobbly photo of a whole lot of dinosaurs made during pottery lessons by Will, who had a fascination for them as well as knowing every kind of aeroplane that flies.
This is a chair started by a student who was from a traveler family (previously called gypsies) who committed suicide a few months previously and was finished by other students and her tutors, to remain at the college in memory of her.
STAFF CELEBRATIONS AND OUR FAREWELL LUNCH
There was no official staff party because of low funds, so the staff decided to do their own. We all brought drinks and eats, had a roaring fire and persuaded our one staff member who has a band to play for us. Well it was reggae all the way, and despite he generation differences, we all had a good time..some more than others. the poor band was not allowed to stop even for a break.
APPRENTICE AND VOLUNTEER FAREWELL
Then it was time for our own farewell lunch. Most people had gone away for the holidays, but we invited anyone who was still around. Aaron from the fish farm brought some ready harvested trout and we braaied it over coals from the woodlands. This is Jess, our dear co-ordinator and Aaron at the braai (barbecue), scuse the finger. Our glasses were honey jars,
and we made fresh salads picked from the garden.
I was sad to leave Ruskin mill, as I have met such good people and learnt so much, but I was also happy to be going back to Africa and home. Although I did not go immediately, but had a few more events to post up..one was a very strange fashion show, and the other was another 4 days in London (see first post)