Today was pretty similar to yesterday only their English teach wasn’t there to have me work on typing up their examination. It was another wild day though and at one point I got another tattoo. It was supposed to say TRUE but in actual fact it said TURE and was spelled backwards.
At one point the teacher all the kids are terrified came in to teach a lesson on conduct. It was both hypocritical and encouraging. He started using examples how it’s against conduct for a teacher to come to school drunk or to drink in class. However I’ve seen him several times light up a cigarette in the classroom. Seems like they’d both be against any code of conduct you’d find for a primary school. The next thing he said was really surprising. He spoke for a good bit on the benefits of education and talked to them about how they shouldn’t be attending school because they have to, or because their friends are doing it, but rather they should be attending because they want to better themselves. He talked about how beneficial school can be if you focus and give your best effort. He even referenced me and told them that if they ever want to make it out of here and visit the USA they’re going to have to work for it and continue on with their education. He spoke in English and Xhosa so I think everyone followed along. The final thing he said was, “You must first respect yourself before you can expect anyone to respect you.” Like I said, this was sounding encouraging! He left shortly after this leaving me stranded with in the classroom. I didn’t even know what subject we were supposed to be in.
I was with another class for the afternoon showed a few of them the maps my dad had sent me. It makes it a lot easier to explain about Pennsylvania and Philadelphia when I have a map to go along with it. The same class I spent the afternoon with accompanied me on the way home and was very interested in seeing their wedding pictures from a month ago. Of course my normal crew of students still came back with us which meant the total number of kids was well over the previous record. RiRi had my camera for the majority of the walk and filmed about 50% of himself and 50% of the ground around him. If you have a tendency for motion sickness then I don’t recommend watching his video. Bonginkosi is a boy from another class and is very bright. He was able to speak very good English. He also lives pretty close to Mama Zulu’s house so I’m sure I’ll be seeing him and his classmates more often. My students from 6e are with me now as I write this and when I asked them about the different guys that were over yesterday their first description was that Zolani was the black boy. Really? Haha I looked at them like they were joking, they are ALL black boys. But no, they were dead set on their flawless description. I suppose there are a lot of different shades of skin color and Zolani is particularly dark while Bonginkosi is of a lighter skin tone.
Patrick and I went into town to steal some internet and take care of a few errands. I bought another beach towel as I was the only one that had one the last time we went to the pool. Being the only one that brought a towel meant everyone except me got to use a towel. The things I do for these guys 😉 haha. I also sent a few more post cards out and didn’t get stuck with the last women who ‘helped’ me with postage.
During dinner Mawande and Chester showed up looking for me. They had a soccer ball that needed inflating. I just gave them the key to my room and told them I’d be over after I finished eating. Leave it to Chester to brake the needle on my air pump. All things considered I could have just waited and done it myself. He did tell me he’d buy me a new one but I respectfully declined. Could you imagine if I sent him home so he could ask his parents for R60 so that I could buy a new needle to fix the air pump he had broke. He’d have been beaten into next week! Turns out he ball he had brought over had a hole in it anyways and wouldn’t have even taken air if the pump was in one piece. Don’t tell Chester but he isn’t on the lucky list of kids getting soccer balls from me. If you’re wondering why I don’t just give the balls to the school or to a group of kids rather than individuals it’s for a couple reasons. I don’t trust the kids will actually get use out of them if I give them to the school. The school has a sketchy way of distributing things. Reason number two is because many fights would arise if I told them they’d be sharing these inflated gems. Who’d get to take it home at night? By naming one person in charge of one ball it actually puts the ball in better hands and will be treated and valued in higher regards. That basically just means it’ll be taken care of better and not be destroyed like so much of the rest of the township. There isn’t a perfect way to go about distributing gifts but this way seems to be working pretty well. Right now I have them all behaving to the “best of their ability” so I know who to give the next ball to.
A couple volunteers came over to meet Patrick and myself and I want to quickly share a story with you guys that Mirelle told us. I’ll try to put it in fewer words that she used but it’s pretty interesting. So Mirelle purchased a bike when she first arrived to South Africa so she could get back and forth from the township and Stellenbosch easier. The other night she heard some noises outside her house and woke up to see what was going on. Her host mother also woke up to investigate and when they turned the outside light on they saw an individual running away. The person was in the process of hacking away at the bike like with an axe to try and steal the bike. They had actually done quite a bit of damage to the rest of the bike as well, making it unusable and also impossible to unlock even with the key. The only way for Mirelle to retrieve the bike was to cut the lock with bolt cutters but she decided she’d wait till the next day to do that. Longer story short her bike finished getting stolen and her host mother went into overdrive launching her own personal investigation. She went door to door all around the area asking if anyone had seen anything and letting herself inside peoples’ homes so she could check for herself. A few days had gone by and she hadn’t yet found who had stolen it but on a few occasions random neighbors came over to say hi to Mirelle and inform her that it wasn’t them that stole the bike and that if she’d like to she could search their homes. Of course she didn’t actually suspect them and wasn’t even caught up in this ‘investigation’. A few more days went by and Mirelle arrived back to Kayamandi after being away for the morning. Her host mother was up in arms because he had missed the beating. She was so excited because they had found the person who had stolen the bike, brought the guy over to her house and had been beating him all morning. Her host mother was even more upset that the police were there and therefore they couldn’t kill him. I guess the guy had be connected to a lot of other theft throughout the township, stealing for drug money, and they take that stuff very seriously. Like I mentioned a while back, this township is like a huge family and everyone knows everyone. If there is an infection within the community they remove it as best as they can. So they beat this guy all morning long and then took him to a more secluded place so they could continue beating him. I suppose this was setting an example to anyone else that may be considering the life of a thief. Oh and she never got the bike back… I guess he had already sold it for drug money.
In the evening Isaac picked us up and we all went into town to hang out for some time and get some drinks. I also read a new letter today. Enkosi kakhulu Jay Unrath. Your letter was not only very well written but it was heartfelt. I hope your job back home is still going well and you’re still enjoying it. Have you made it back up to Ship this semester?! You gotta email me sometime and give me an update from when I last saw you before I took off. Also, I just realized I can’t place your address! Sorry dude!I really do appreciate you support and look forward to seeing you when I get back. If someone happens to know to Jay Unrath’s mailing address please let me know.
Hopefully this doesn’t come off sounding awkward but if you donated to me and have not yet received a post card you should contact me and let me know. I assure you there’s a good chance I sent you one a while ago and if you haven’t received it yet then I may need to send you a new one… please don’t hesitate! Also, if you haven’t yet received one and would like one I’d love to send one your way but more than likely just need an address… There’s a place in town that I can make up my own post cards using my pictures I’m looking to try out if I get the time so you’d in fact you’d be helping me out if you said something.