Reaching Out 2 The World

Freedom Writers

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So blogs are gonna be a bit different now. During the week I can only get into town to use the internet around 4pm. So anything that happens after that, that’s worth mentioning, will have to be in the following days blog. With that, I can chillax a little on the blogs too. It’s very easy to keep a journal and write a lot when you’re surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people that you can’t speak to. my personal journal will certainly continue, its just a matter of if you or anyone would be interested in continuing to read about my day to day dealings. It’s a completely different culture here so the smallest things seem very interesting to me. Like riding the bus for instance. Not only am I the only white person in the town but I can’t really talk to the driver. These mini busses pack about 20 of us into a van. I just hope I get on one that is heading the right way and then hope I get off at the right spot. I almost got off to early today and the boy next to me asked me if I knew where I was. I told him I had no clue and he made it clear that I DID NOT want to get off there. I’m learning though. As far as school goes, I feel like the women in the movie freedom writers, but I’m pretty sure she aint got nothin on me. I’m gonna lay low and do mostly just observing this week before I get into real teacher mode. I think I’m going to start drinking coffee too. Any suggestions on how a non-coffee drinker oughta start taking their coffee? Tonight at dinner I asked papa zulu what he did today. He told me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I feel bad but I think I would feel worse asking him to repeat himself over and over again. We watched some really, and I mean really, terrible soap operas after dinner. It was all in Xhosa which meant I could really focus on how terrible the acting and camera work really was. I’m already bored of the sports here. They replay the Springbok game non-stop and it’s the only thing they talk about on most sports stations. They do actually talk about American sports once in a while but it’s really just a tease because it’s basically impossible to watch anything because of the time difference even if they did air it. Monday Night Football is soccer, which is not MNF where I come from. Bucha drew a lot of picture in my journal today. He’s actually a really amazing artist for being just 3. We watched south africa’s version of wrestling. Like the big scary guys plus costumes and fake hitting kind of wrestling. I think it’s his favorite show. We also watched yesterdays tennis match with the Williams sister. She lost. Mama Zulu asked how close I lived to the Williams Sisters. Maybe I should just play if off like I really do know all these famous people… Jamie Fox has a commercial over here where he is advertising alcohol. The brand is Ben Franklin haha. It’s also odd to see, ‘must be 18 years or older to make purchase’ at the bottom of the screen. I’m thinking about trying to find that Frisbee team that gets together on Wednesdays. I read Erics letter. He’s awesome. But the numbskull forgot to leave his address. If someone reads this that knows Eric Helm, please ask him to message me his mailing address. Danka

So that was the end of Monday. This next part is Tuesday… Following?

I had to be at school at 8am On Tuesday morning. I ran into a few of the students I had met the day before on the walk. Some know my name but most just call me teacher. It basically rained all Tuesday which made the walks kinda dreadful. It still gets me every time I walk past a young child they just look at me like i’m a mythical creature and walk up to me whispering, “A teacha”. Then they grab on to me and basically just follow me where ever I’m heading. I picked up 6 followers on the way home from school today. They followed me for like half a mile haha. I thought for a second I was going to have to explain to Mama Zulu that we had company but they did follow me into the house. It’s also worth noting that besides kids everywhere, there are tons of stray dogs wondering the streets. Some are cute, but a lot are old and look roughed up. A few started barking like crazy when I walked by. I thought dogs were color blind? When I got to school they students were singing their morning prayer. This goes on for a while and I’m going to try and get it on film one of these days. The teacher handed me an English book and asked to help fill in the worksheets. Only problem was that this book was from 1975 and I haven’t heard any of the sayings they were talking about. I’ve heard of “touch and go, and ways and means… but who says; fits and firsts, or hammer and tongs? I tried to explain to her that no one uses those anymore. The next part was  putting the verb with the adverb. She wanted me to connect the “right” verb with the “right” adverb. But you could argue that almost any adverb could come after a verb. You can drive: frantically, sleepily, cautiously, purposefully, ect. She was looking for just one answer though… I tried to match them the best I could. Another section was all about adding ‘ly’ onto the end of words that ended in y. basically they were just taking every word that ended in ‘y’ and changing it to ‘ily’. This works in some cases but there were a lot of situations where it just didn’t sound like anything I’ve been taught. I saw some kids making paper airplanes and that made me happy. but it was short lived because they got in trouble right afterwards. I have to remember that these kids love Dragon Ball Z. In fact that refer to themselves as the characters from the show. So I don’t yet know their real names, but I do know which student Goku is. I talked to a teacher from Zimbabwe about education and capital punishment. His name is Dume and his response may be a little bias because the first thing he said was South Africans are spoiled. He did make some good points though. The law protects the students from getting beat in school. But when the students are home they are grown and raised to be whipped or thrashed if they misbehave. As a result of that, the students take advantage of being “free” when they are in school. They know they can’t get punished anymore then a pinch. The majority of students are pretty out of control and basically do whatever they want. Some teachers carry bamboo sticks around with them to help keep order. The next English class I went to was all about past, present, and future tense. Some got it and some just didn’t care much. I had a wet walk home and made it back into town earlier then on Monday. I bought a bunch of school supplies and some snacks for myself. I made it to the cafe to find out that my free time was up and I was only able to check emails (that’s why I’m a day late on the blog). I made it home earlier then planned and had a spaghetti dinner. Not exactly the kind you’re thinking of though. It was pasta with ketchup, and minced me. I don’t even what to know what was in the meat. I bought Bucha some crayons and paper to write on so he doesn’t have to use my journal anymore. I was going to go out with some people into Stellenbosch around 8 but I actually ended up falling asleep! Crazy right?! Anyway that’s all for Tuesday. Wait till you hear about today, Wednesday. It was/is crazy so far. Happy, sad, all sorts of things.  I’ll post the rest of the pictures this weekend when I’m back at the hostel 🙂

This is the mailing address you can use if you wanna send me anything.
Chris O’Sullivan
P O Box 1381
Cape Town, 8000
South Africa


One thought on “Freedom Writers

  1. 2 things:

    1) I love it that the little kids follow you
    2) I literally cracked up in my office when I read this – “I thought dogs were color blind?”

    Good luck at frisbee!

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