The morning was a bit of a surprise because I woke up to three students at my door. They had been in my area because they were looking to print out pictures of the moon for a project they were working on. There is a community library type place not far from where I live and I guess having these print outs were essential. When they found that that the library didn’t open till 10am they decided it may be worth checking to see if I had any moon print outs. I didn’t but I still was able to help them in a way. On a normal day if you show up late to school you get beat. Since they were showing up late but were with me they were in the clear. They got yelled at but I at least helped them avoid the physical punishment. If only I could say the same for the rest of the day.
It was another day where their teacher was absent and it was just me in the classroom. When a new subject would start a teacher would sometimes come by and address them with something they were supposed to be doing. As soon as that teacher would leave chaos would commence. It was towards the end of the day and I had a little over half of the 40 kids actually doing what they were supposed to be doing (that’s an improvement from the normal teacher). There were a few students surrounding the desk I was at while I was helping someone. Basically Simamkele bumped heads with Mawande by accident but in this culture that’s enough for a full fledge fight. I don’t even think much happened post the accidental head bump but Mawande went back to his desk and put his head down and started crying. I wasn’t really too worried about the crying because I know nothing terrible happened and he was overreacting a bit. Mr. Dume (a teacher from Zimbabwe who is biased against South African children) decided he was going to take care of things. He asked Mawande why he was crying and a few other kids pointed out Simamkele. This was several minutes after the ‘accident’ and I don’t think Simamkele even knew why he was getting yelled out. I thought the teacher may just slap him on the hand with a stick but what actually happened surprised me. The teacher lost control. He started beating the hell out of him with that stick all over his body. Some of the kids were shocked but most of them just laughed. Simamkele handled himself better than I could have imagined possible. He sort of laughed it off and limped back to his chair. I felt terrible. I was so upset with myself that I just let that happened and didn’t do anything about it that I couldn’t even talk to the kids for the rest of the day. I just kept replaying it over again in my mind thinking what I should have done. As soon as the teacher finished his abuse he just left the classroom, left me with the classroom. If Mawande and Simamkele weren’t friends before, now they really were going to be mad with each other. I’m sure Simamkele was just thinking to himself how bad he was going to beat up Mawande later on to get him back. A very frustrating time and I never even got the chance to talk to Simamkele about it because he went straight home after school (Simamkele is also the boy I call Ski sometimes).
Mawande and a few other kids did follow me home and I introduced them to something I still find very fascinating. Google Maps is the coolest thing ever. I showed them a satellite image of Kayamandi, and Eagleville. It was really interesting to zoom in on our different neighborhoods and make comparisons. We did an aerial tour of our homelands and spent a lot of time and megabits but it was totally worth it.
In the evening Patrick and I went into Stellenbosch to meet up with his tour for dinner. We hung out and spent the night venting about our days. Poor Isaac had to drive all the way back to Cape Town so we didn’t want to keep him out too late. I was supposed to load music onto Isaac’s USB thing so he’d have music for the trip but I ended up falling asleep half way through.