Mango is one of my favourite fruits and going up the mountain to get a bucket of fruit felt great, although that wasn’t the primary reason to go up the mountain. The school term, which fell in the mango season was probably the best time of the school year. Occasions like that were definitely a highlight, being 100 miles from home and not allowed to go out of those gates once you entered except for official school business was restrictive. Seriously though, this was a lovely convent school, not perfect because there were things I didn’t agree with and voiced them and got in trouble for it. But then everyone will have their own reflections of their time there. My happiness there was also down to having a good interview. The Reverend Sister or Nun who interviewed me gave me the opportunity to carry on with the things I loved doing before I went the school. Conveniently for me, she was in charge of the school library and the prayer group too and she enrolled me into both. So that’s how I came to be in the school prayer group that went into the community to visit sick people at home or in the hospital and delivered gifts.
We made preparations for the trip by scrubbing our galvanised iron buckets clean and shiny. Pawpaw or papaya leaves made the best cleaning agent for this job and there were lots growing around. We packed the the buckets with the donations, and bottles of water to keep us hydrated.
Accompanied by the Nun and one of the school porters who acted as our Guide and Bodyguard we set off, singing as we went. The prayer group made their annual trip up the mountain to give the donations of the gifts of canned foods and clothes to the elderly and disadvantaged in that parish. The foothills of the mountain was probably 20 minutes away from the school. By the time we climbed up and came down the other side, we would have done an hour of walking. On the return journey we were allowed to pick as many mangoes as we could carry. These had fallen from the trees on their plantation, which was on their side of the mountain. The extra bags we took to fill up had the mangoes we would give to friends. You could say, we had a mango feast until there was none left.