Oh Mondays, so bitter sweet. I was so glad to be back at school with my students but that never changes the fact that it’s still Monday. Still have the whole week ahead of us. After being away for a week the kids were a bit distant a first. That lasted all of 10 minutes though and things were right back to how they were before. I taught them a couple very important things today. The first was Bear, Ninja, Cowboy game and the second was the ninja hand slap game. They both went over well and we played it every chance we got. We had an odd lesson today. They students spent an hour or so learning braille. I’m not really sure the relevance but it was interesting to see. The lesson was in Xhosa so was more lost then usual but I’ll post a picture of the lesson.
I think the grace period is over for me. The teachers are hitting the students a lot more. Today she hit the girls in the head with chalk erasers. The purpose was to cover their heads with white powder and embarrass them. One thing I noticed was that this teacher in particular gets a long really well with the students. She does hit them, and pinch them, and of course they don’t like it… but no one takes it personally and you’d be surprised how fast they are smiling and have forgotten about the punishment. I’m not going to start hitting them but it’s becoming clearer as to why the teachers here do hit them. Fighting is a part of their lives. I can’t even count how many fights I see on a daily basis. It’s not really my place to step in either. I found that the students usually solve the problems on their own. Like I said, often just seconds after the fight the two kids are best friends again. I do step in when it gets out of control or when weapons are involved. As you’ve learned from pervious posts, my students are resourceful and can make a weapon out of anything. So to sum this up; I don’t like repeating myself in every blog but you should know that fighting is a daily occurrence and I still really enjoy mini buses.
After school today the plan was to take Chestah and Aphiwe into town. Even though Mawande was supposed to wait and go with me on Tuesday he still walked back to my place after school. It was then I found out that I can in fact fit Mawande into my back pack and I might have to take him back to the states. When we were getting ready to head into town Mawande put on display the saddest puppy dog eyes I’ve seen in a while. He ended up joining us and all four of us took the mini bus into town. If it’s not hard enough making sure I don’t get hit by a car it’s going to be a miracle for at least one of us not to get hit by a car one of these days.
We went to the book store first and spent some time there. Mawande and Aphiwe were very considerate when choosing their books. They were very worried about the price and didn’t want me to spend too much. After we got our books we headed to the café where I introduced them to the internet and had them write a post card. We wrote a post card to Nina today and each of them helped out. Actually, they even picked out the post card. Spur was again the highlight of the day with the food and video games. Kids are obsessive about their video games! Generally, when you go out to a meal on South Africa tipping is not something most people do. I’d find it too weird if I didn’t tip though so I tend to do the normal 10-20% still. After my got dinner for all of us at Spur I purposefully left a big tip hoping that in the future (because I’ll be coming back often) they’ll remember. We’ll see how that works haha. Once we got back to my house we were hanging out in my room and I was showing them some of the pictures from my trip. Chestah saw a game on the bed and asked me if he could have it. This kid (and really only him) has been driving me nuts. All the other kids are so thankful and grateful for everything. They never ask for anything and are very happy when they receive something. After taking him out, buying him a book and dinner he still asks me for more. One of the African Tales I purchased was called the Fisherman’s brother. The basic gist of it was that the fisherman’s brother was greedy and kept asking for more and more. Even when he was president and had everything he could possibly need he still wanted to be in control of the moon and the sun. He ended up with nothing at all and the moral was to be thankful for what you have and don’t push your luck. I’ll be reading that story to him as soon as he stops annoying me long enough to do so.
Later that evening I got a visit from Mawande and his brother because he had forgotten his book. The book he picked out was about Nelson Mandela’s steps to freedom. It’s a fantastic children’s book and I was really glad to see one of them pick it out. He’s planning on coming over Wednesday so I can read it to him. I met up with some of the other volunteers at Amazink (a restaurant they opened in Kayamandi to bring in outsiders). It was like a private party. Good times and I got to meet a lot of cool new people. A few more volunteers moved in with host families throughout Kayamandi.