Jiggers My Foot!
In January 1968, I joined a new primary school to begin Classin January 1968, I joined a new primary school to begin Class Three. Weeks earlier, my family had moved from our ancestral home to take up ownership of a farm we had been allocated in a government settlement scheme. Being one of many families that had moved into the area, we were basically beginning a new community. Some families had moved in before us while others were yet to relocate because their homes were still under construction.
When we turned up at school that January morning, the school building was half done. The roofing was complete but nothing else. Every inch of wall was no more than upright poles, a couple of yards apart, propping up the roof. Rafters needed to be nailed on to those poles after which the walls would be plastered with mud. But school had to start that morning.
The school was situated next to a run-down former settler compound and there were many loose bricks lying about. We each grabbed a brick, set it on the yellowing grass, sat down and began learning, using our laps as tables. As we walked in and out of that class day after day, the yellow grass soon withered and dried up leaving behind a thin, fine film of dust. And with that began a hitherto unknown experience for us.
Where we'd previously sat quietly on our bricks, one hand holding an exercise book and the other trying to write on it, this latter hand soon began to find it necessary to - every so often - delegate its pencil-holding duties to the mouth, before reaching out to the toes of our feet to administer an urgently needed scratch. Our little minds just could not figure out what was happening to us and our feet.