Reaching Out 2 The World

Pool Day #2


So the family didn’t realize I was going to be back Friday night so Mzmassie (the guy that lives in the bedroom across from me) had left the door unlocked in the morning (not a big deal because when I’m not home I lock my door separately). I’m in my room sleeping when into my room comes Avela and Chester. It wasn’t quite half past eight yet and I had no intentions of getting up. They were nice though and tried to be quiet as they raided my room. Actually they cleaned my room for me. I think they saw some of the soccer balls my dad had sent me and were trying to do whatever they could to ‘earn’ them. Since I was up I decided to do some writing and worked with Avela a bit on my computer. He wrote a letter to Ndidi on my computer and we added some pictures to it. Not long after 9 Mawande showed up with his younger brother and they were followed by about seven other kids. The plan was to go to the pool, but we weren’t going to go till 2pm! I’m not sure what was said but Mawande told the seven other kids to leave and before long it was just me, Mawande, Avela, Chester, and Mawande’s friend Siyasanga. We looked through pictures, and listened to music until it was just before 1. The five of us headed to the pool, which I found out opens right at 1. When we got there we had the place to ourselves and I was thinking how lucky we were. A few minutes later Simankele and Rethabile arrived, and maybe 10 minutes after that Aphiwe, Kwanele, another boy from my class showed up. Every time someone new came the lifeguard would start shouting my name so I’d come over and pay for the new kids to come in. It’s only R5 for each of them so I wasn’t worried about paying. What was interesting about today was that the lifeguards were colored and spoke Afrikaans while last week they were black and spoke Xhosa. I’m wondering if they work on different days on purpose… a lot of kids ended up coming to the pool but I didn’t have to pay for anymore of them. It was a really good but a bit cold. The sun was out but it was really windy which made it almost impossibly to have a Frisbee catch or pass a beach ball around. The kids pick on each other a lot and it’s hard for me to do something about it when I don’t know what’s being said. I’ll ask Mawande or someone that speaks better English and find out that they are threatening to beat each other for such stupid things. A few of the younger kids kicked the beach ball over the fence which meant it was gone but also meant the older kids were going to torment them. The younger ones were crying and I found out it was because certain kids told them they were going to beat them for losing the ball. You’d have no idea what was going on just by listening to them. I brought my camera today as I felt a bit safer having already visited the pool once. Luckily most of the kids had some sort of shorts on but the quality was less then something you’d find at a crappy thift store in Philly. They ended up challenging a few colored kids to a soccer match and it went pretty well. I was actually really surprised there was no fighting! After the pool we headed back to my place and I put on the movie, Kung Fu Panda, for them. I LOVE how much a child changes when you sit them in front of a movie. It was so peaceful to see them sitting and engaged in something. I periodically wondered how much they actually understood from the movie but I think they got enough out of the gestures and animation. Movies will just be for special occasions and today was a bit cold and very windy outside. After the movie I sent them all on their way and I finally relaxed for a little. Maybe an hour later Avela showed back up. Avela is a really sweet kid and has really started opening up to me. He’s by far one of the smartest kids in the class and hardly ever misbehaves. I asked him a bit about his family and found out that he lives with his mom, his sister, and his sister’s son. I asked him about his father and he told me that he’s gone. He died in 2008 and I avoided asking how, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was AIDS related. I was recently told that about 40% of the people in the community are HIV positive and many of them are kids that are born into it. Talk about an unfair life. I left Avela in my room with a movie while I went to eat dinner and afterwards Patrick and I played Yahtzee with him. The little man rolled five 2’s in the first came we played! I sent him on his way around 8 and Pat and I watched the movie Paul. It was better than I thought it was going to be and I actually liked it quite a bit.


3 thoughts on “Pool Day #2

  1. Hi Sully,
    Please excuse my ignorance, but can you please explain the difference between ‘colored’ and ‘black’. I’m sure there is an obvious answer. At first I thought you were being ‘politically incorrect’ by calling the black children ‘colored’, but after reading about the ‘colored’ lifeguards and the ‘black’ lifeguards I think it must be a regional description of different ethnic groups.

  2. No worries. Colored is generally referring to anyone having lighter skin color than black. Before the Apartheid you were classified as either White, Black, or Colored. Being colored means there is someone in your genetics of a lighter/white skin tone, and it also means you probably speak Afrikaans. Afrikaans is more Dutch/German sounding while Xhosa (the language spoken by the blacks in my township) using more clicks and sounds more “African”. Back when there was much more segregation you had more rights as a colored person than a black person and if you spoke Afrikaans you were considered of a higher intellect. This actually caused a bit of controversy between the Blacks and the Coloreds and is why there is still a bit of distance between the two. Interestingly enough in the States we would say Colored or African American to be politically correct while in Europe the term Colored is actually very offensive. My friend Ndidi is a black girl from England and brought up the question as to what she would be classified as if she came to America. You can’t call call a European an African American and no one uses the term African European. Any thoughts?! haha
    Hope all is well with you!!

  3. hmmm, interesting. I refer to my students as ‘African-American’ but consider ‘Black’ as an acceptable description also. I thought ‘Colored’ was no longer appropriated (at least in the North). We were talking about ‘Heritage’ today and most ‘African-Americans’ have no idea what nationality there are except ‘African-American’…I never thought about what they would be called in Europe.

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