Throwing It "Back" To School

I'm an 80s child who grew up in Kingston, Jamaica.This means that Back To School was dreaded. If there are any Jamaicans reading this, you must have a slight clue! Come on, do the phrases "wash out," "herb tea," or "worm medicine" ring a bell? I know you remember it like it was yesterday.

I laugh and cringe as I remember the orange/ brown coloured package that would be left on the kitchen counter in mid to late August. Insert *deep breath* here.

So, after the administering of this awful substance (that I had to sip while covering my nose) you'd think that was it?! That's a negative ghost rider. You stayed at home for about 3 days. And when I write stayed at home, I mean you stayed at home. My sister and I weren't even blessed with a drive out to the foot of the hill; we barely made it to the gate with our bicycles. Everything that needed to come out of our systems did so.

Today, Zentel does the trick at any time in the year. There's nothing auspicious about August anymore. Lucky children of today!

Around the same time you got the tea, you were sent to bed early to "practice" the back to school bedtime routine. This was usually at 8:00 p.m. promptly in our house and took place after a cup of Mom's Milo Milkshake (that was also important before each Sports Day because that along with the "track shoes" made you win your race, forget skills).

This was the official end to Summer along with your parents supervising you and the wrapping of school books in that lovely brown paper. Double double sigh. Where did my parents even buy this? All I see today is the plastic sticky wrap in neon colours. Clearly kids can't wrap their own books because it is awfully hard for even me to use with a masters degree in education. Anyway, we were involved in Back To School a lot.

Back to the "worm medicine." I'm beginning to think that it may have done more than it claimed, because I can't remember getting sick a lot or even missing school that often. Older folk did believe that a good "wash out" would keep you healthier for school. Makes you wonder if some good old fashioned Jamaican style "wash outs" may do the trick for our children today? What do you think?

- written by Fundaciones director, Rachael McDonald

We'd love to read of some of your own back to school memories. Join the conversation online #LearnTheFun

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