Thursday was nice. I spent the day with 6e and we started creating an English to Xhosa dictionary for me. I practiced my clicks more but it’s just not easy to pick up. I basically had the class to myself for most of the day but I didn’t really realize it because I was in the back grading papers and helping everyone. I gave a spelling test which was interesting because it was the first time they’ve been given a spelling test with the tester speaking in an American accent. You would think it would help because we spell words phonically for the most part. I think they were confused though and it showed while grading their papers. Grades for stuff like this and all those work sheets they do haven’t really shown to matter really. They get marked with a red pen and then that’s the end of it. No documenting or anything.
We worked on the comic book some more and the newest problem was teaching them the meaning of a rough draft and a final copy. I thought I had explained it well because they knew they had to get the A-Okay on the rough draft before they were given the nice paper for the final draft. What ended up happening was they would show me their rough drafts, which looked great, and when I gave them the nice paper they would just draw a completely new scene. I didn’t realize this till it was too late… oh well. I’ll post more pictures of the comic stuff on the facebook page.
In Social Studies class they took another test and it again wasn’t that easy. It’s hard enough taking a test that is in a different language then your own, when the test is on information you know. When it’s on knew information that you probably haven’t actually learned it becomes impossible to take the test. The test was about world geography, climates, and important dates. It’s sad to look over their shoulders and see how far off from the correct answer they are but it’s also a little bit funny to see the words they right down. A lot of times it doesn’t matter what the question is asking because they are just going to right down the only English word they know that may have something to do with the answer. More times than now they are way off. I tried lending a hand and teaching, on the spot, some stuff to them but that Social Studies teacher is a rough guy and had the place on lock down. One question asked what the line was called that divided the two hemispheres. I know he was looking for the word Equator, but doesn’t the Prime Meridian also split the East and West hemisphere? (or is it not a perfectly straight line?) Either way, one student answer, “A rainbow”. As Bill Cosby made official years ago, Kids Say The Darndest Things. You really can’t even make it up, they just some how come up with some of the best answers or sentences. Ask any teacher and they’ll confirm that.
After school, as promised, some of the comic book writers showed me around Kayamandi. This was really interesting because we went many places where I absolutely wouldn’t have been allowed to go by myself. I didn’t take my camera out but picture a thin dirt road lined with people standing outside their shacks which are jam packed together. There is maybe 2 feet between one shack and another and that alleyway serves as a path to more shacks. Once you’re off the dirt ‘road’ it becomes a maze of twisting and turning all around these homes. This is where my students live, and we stopped at each of their homes. The shacks were about the size of a small shed, better yet, closer to the size of a small American bedroom. They are also very poorly made with tin walls and tin roofs. The Big Bad Wolf would have little to no problem with these homes. Most if not all of the shacks do have electricity but none of them have water. On the inside there was a tiny little kitchen which had a refrigerator and a microwave, and a tiny little bedroom separated by a sheet divider. The average family size is just over 5 people so you can easily see how crammed those quarters would get. Not all of Kayamandi looks like this though. This is considered Stage One housing and it’s what the majority of the population lives in. There is also Stage Two, Three, and Four housing now. Stage Four is the newest of them and looks like an abandoned apartment complex out of West Philly. Of course it’s not abandoned but the buildings are in such poor condition. When we finally got to my house which is on the nicer side of Kayamandi I had them wait outside while I got some things. I gave one boy a kite (Thanks to the Feasters), one boy a baseball glove, and one boy a small basketball. I feel so bad for these kids that I know I’m going to end up giving away everything I don’t need. They walked with me to the bus station where I left them to go in to Stellenbosch but I think next week they may come with me. If they do, I’m thinking about taking them to a book store and or a sports store and letting them pick something out. Time for Fun day Friday.