It was a nice and relaxing day. Some new volunteers had arrived in the morning and we all set off for Camps Bay which is a gorgeous beach just a few miles down the road. The sand down here is so soft and the water is so blue but unfortunately it’s still very cold. The air temp was in the 90’s though so every once in a while I’d jump in and freeze for a second. Directly behind the beach is the side of Table Mountain that we abseiled from. You can make out the building on top where the cable cars arrive but it’s too far away to see anything else. We stopped at Steers on the way home which is a fast food place down here. I got ribs… and for being fast food it wasn’t that bad. Once we got home it was close to 4pm and I hadn’t really figured out how I was getting back to Kayamandi. Isaac had mentioned that he may be able to give me a ride but he wouldn’t know till closer to 5. At around 4:45 I checked the train schedule and saw that the last train was departing at 17:04. It took me a second to realized that mean 5:04pm! I grabbed my stuff rushed out the door got the first minibus taxi into town and arrived at the train station at 5:03. I bought my ticket and ran to the rain and boarded it as the doors were closing. Unlike the States, safety and caution isn’t a priority here. I could have been hanging halfway out of the train and it would have taken off. I actually saw something like that happen Friday morning on the way to Cape Town. This was also my first time departing from Cape Town so I was lucky to find the right platform. I again bought the 3rd class seats and this time I sat in a completely different area that looked a lot different. I’m guessing it was the first class but I can’t be sure. Either way my ticket was once again never checked or collected or anything of the sort. I was a little concerned I wouldn’t know where to get off but some guy came up to me and told me he would let me know. I was pretty sure he was looking to take something of mine when I wasn’t paying attention but I’ve found myself thinking that about everyone. I’ve heard so many stories of muggings and what not that I’ve readied myself for combat in any given situation. I often go over in my head what I’d do if a problem occurred, and in my head I ALWAYS come out on top. I’m curious to see what would happen in the case of a real problem. I made it back to Kayamandi alright with no problems and just in time for dinner. After being in the sun all day I was dead tired and made my way to my room shortly after eating. I addressed some post cards (awesome ones) and ended up falling asleep very early.
Will Mondays always be hard to wake up for? It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get the night before I hate Monday mornings. I was even excited for today because I had bought a really neat book on how to sketch animated characters, for my students. The days have been pretty chaotic that I’ve found myself going to the back of the classroom rather than the front. In the back I can interact with the kids while in the front I end up just being around the teacher or teachers and paper grading. The learners’ new favorite thing is to have me read from their Xhosa books. I think they just like how stupid I sound… but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Much of Monday was actually all about teaching me Xhosa. I picked up a few more words and I’m starting to get the hang of the clicks but I still can’t understand any of the stuff they are saying. Mean while there isn’t really any teaching that is going on besides the occasional worksheet or test. I feel at least by interacting with me they are practicing their English and learning the skill have teaching their language. I boy told me today that when I go to America I will know Xhosa. I wish I was as confident as him. I did buy a book that teachers me Xhosa phrases but I forgot it! So I’ll be sure to bring that on Tuesday. I did have a brand new experience today, though. I’m not sure if I’d classify it as a Gym class, but they had something similar to one. Two guys around my age who are locals from Kayamandi volunteer their time to meet with the students once in a while and teach them about exercising. So, all 40 kids followed them to an area behind the classrooms, which is normally off limits, for a lesson on health. This location is a strip of grass, about 30 feet wide, between the classrooms and the perimeter wall. It’s covered in trash and is also the same location a boy from a previous post was able to find sewage. The lesson was all in Xhosa but I did talk to the one guy. He seemed like a nice guy with good intentions. All they did was take turns doing pushups for 20 seconds and then crunches for 20 seconds. After each group of students did this they would document it. I guess to check for improvements? What was interesting about this was that during the lesson a few boys just got up, walked a few steps away, and started peeing on the wall. I know the saying, if you gotta go you gotta go, but for this to be normal at school seemed unusual to me. Another odd thing that happened while out there was when one of the teachers came out to take a smoke break. Smoking right there in front of the kids. After the lesson I introduced the new book to the and explained some rules I had to go along. I also showed them a sheet they’ll be using for signing it out and borrowing it. I want them to get a lot of use out of it but I don’t want them to destroy it fighting over it. A bunch of kids signed up and things went well for the rest of the day, besides the fact they turned my ‘rules’ into a paper airplane. I was going to be ok with letting the person, who had the book signed out, take it home for the night and bring it back but he thought better of it. He told me he was worried his younger brother would draw on it. I thought that was very responsible of him. I had the students to myself for the rest of the day which was fine because it was basically just a teach Chris Xhosa kind of a day. I know it sounds like I’ve had a lot of practice but keep in mind it’s 10 year olds trying to teach a 23 year old a new language. The process is not a fast one. After school six kids walked me home. Three of them hadn’t seen where I live yet and wanted to check it out/ wanted a present like the first three had gotten. I really didn’t mind as I was intending on giving this group of kids stuff anyways since they were the ones primarily helping me with Xhosa. They took me home a different route today and at several points I think we just walked through some ones house. As we walk there are always people just staring at us, and I can’t help be assume some of them think negatively of me. Sometimes we’ll pass a group of guys and I think to myself I’m safe and glad I’m with these kids who know where they are going. I just hope they aren’t thinking the same thing because they’re with me. When we got to my house we hung out for a bit and I let them pick a few things out of my bag of stuff. After they left I took a nap but was woke up by Isaac calling me. He just wanted to confirm some things about our tour which is leaving this Saturday. I had dinner with the family and we had a few firsts! I had salad with my meal for the first time since I’ve been here and my favorite… mashed potatoes!! Things were great and Bucha had even brought out the gift I had gotten for Papa Zulu. It was a 500 piece puzzle of the Eagles stadium with the American flag in the middle. We spent the rest of the night putting that together. Mostly it was me putting it together and Bucha just jamming pieces together. It was a little counterproductive but still a nice time. I stayed up later then I wanted but we got a lot of the puzzle finished.