Today in school we spent some time learning about the planets. All they really learn is the name and order of the planets. I was able to teach them a bit more about the makeup of the planets, the temperatures, and what I knew about their moons and orbits. We made it fun by using playdoh to shape planets and then putting them on paper in the correct order. I tried to tell them a bit about scale and how if the sun was ‘this’ big then the rest of the planets would be ‘this’ big. At least I tried haha. I made a deal with Atha today that if he did well in school and promised to look after Mawande when I was gone that I’d give him a soccer ball. We shook hands and made the pact.
During their Social Studies class their teacher handed back to them a test. The test was out of 40 points and the average score was 6 (not including the major outliers). I think I would have maybe gotten a 50% on the test had I taken it. The test covered 4 major topics; religion, health, important dates, and African culture. The entire test was fill in the blank with no word bank and several of the questions were worded very difficultly. In the states if the class average was that low it would be no one’s fault but the teachers. Here the kids are lucky if they don’t get beat. I mentioned before there was an outlier in the group that that belong to Aphiwe. He scored 32 out of 40! It makes me sad to think that even though he stands out among his peers, he gives effort and works hard to be successful, in what has to be one of the most difficult learning environments, his chances of making it out of the township and into the rest of the world are slim to none.
Aphiwe also told me that his mom wouldn’t be home till 5 so we’d have some time after school. I decided to take the opportunity to get a haircut in Stellenbosch. I must say from my last haircut I got here, I liked the overall cut better but the service wasn’t nearly as good. You win some you lose some. When I told my students that I was getting a haircut they were all very concerned that I’d come back with a shaved head. They are very jealous of my hair. The reason they like my hair so much is because when they hold it up in the front they think I look like a Super Saiyan, from Dragon Ball Z. It’s one of the most flattering look-alikes I’ve heard in a while. Of course when I got my haircut the final option was if I wanted to spike it up in the front. I had to do it for the sheer reaction of the kids when I got home.
Most of them saw me on the minibus and were at my home before I even got there. They told me my hair looked beautiful haha. In turn I let them watch an episode of Dragon Ball Z. We watched this up till the point it was time for Aphiwe and I to head to his house. So Aphiwe, Mawande, and I all walked halfway across Kayamandi and when we got to his home his mother wasn’t quite home yet. We waited outside where I met a few of his neighbors and relatives. His little sister was there and she was extremely cute. It’s still crazy to see 2-3 year olds walking around with no adults and just going wherever they want. When his mother arrived she invited me in and we talked for a while. I also got the chance to meet his father but according to his mother he was a little drunk. Overall they were very nice and I don’t think they had much of an idea of how smart their son was. Aphiwe regularly performs the best in his class in almost every subject and I was sure to inform them of his success. If anyone back home is interested in sponsoring some kids to get a better education outside of the township let me know because I know a few great candidates that are more than deserving. I’m pretty sure Mawande also documented most of the meeting on my camera, or at least until my battery ran out.
The walk back to my house acquired 6 more kids that were all from Aphiwe’s neck of the woods. Of course when we arrived at my house there were 5 kids already waiting for us. I was more than willing to let them do what they want but at that very moment Patrick arrived and informed me that there was a party down the street and there was a lot of extra food. He told me that I was allowed to bring 4 kids along with me but we had to head over just then! Haha. It sounds mean but there were 4 kids I had in mind and sent them along with Patrick. I took the other kids and told them that I’d show them my house and give them some candy but that it was very important not to tell the other kids. They probably knew they were missing out on the “secret party” but at least they were getting some sweets out of it. Afterwards I sent them on their way and met up with the rest of the kids (now 5) at the party location. It was so much fun and there was music for them to dance to and lots of food for them to eat. I got a lot of pictures and videos of them dancing to traditional Xhosa music and having a great time.
My night was short from over though because I had a video chat date with Nick. I’m now 7 hours ahead of you guys back home so Nick got out of class around 5 which meant it was midnight on my end. He also had some problems with his computer and wasn’t able to see me, but I could certainly see him haha. Still a great time talking to him.