Our plan for Monday was to return to Ikaya Primary so Dan could reunite with a few teachers he worked with last year and see how much his students had grown. We arrived midway through their morning and went about finding which classroom Pam was in. Pam knew that Dan would be arriving back in South Africa but didn’t know when he’d be visiting the school. She was happily surprised to see us walk through her door! Meanwhile, the students were working on a discussion paper. The discussion was about why you should not smoke cigarettes. In groups the students had to first discus the questions being asked and then write down their agreed upon answer. It seemed as though most groups had one or two students who were doing most of the work but I was still impressed by how successfully they were completing the answers. Dan and I joined up with groups and helped prompt discussions. For me, it seemed that they all knew the correct answers but some had to have the questions explained a bit clearer.
At one point Mr. Dume entered the classroom and greeted us. I think Dan had just gotten his camera out and was getting ready to take a picture of some students. Without missing his chance Mr. Dume requested that he first must get a picture. Before taking the first shot, loads of students joined in and it made for great shot.
This week in school marks the last few days before the end of the term. Teachers are busy grading and turning in reports and students have little to no guidance. I asked a group of students what their next class was and they told me they didn’t have one. I was pretty shocked to hear this as it was just midway through the day. Dan and I would have to leave early but later this week we plan on going in and taking over one of these “nothing” classes.
Dan still hadn’t been to the Trust Center, where Eric is doing his voluntary work, and where most of us volunteers go to get free Wi-Fi. When we got there and settled in we both realized that it had been almost 3 days since we had last used the Wi-Fi. I used our modem to update the blog but that had really been it. Sometimes it’s nice being able to go periods of time with no internet. Dan was saying how he disliked always being connected while traveling throughout East Asia. He was excited to be back in Kayamandi and take a break from the constant connection to the interwebs.
With it being Monday, it meant we had Judo at 4. All of us volunteers piled into the truck along with 11 other students. Only Eric and I would be practicing but the rest were interested in coming along. Today’s class definitely proved to be a lot tougher. Both of us were paired up with older and more advanced students and were really put to the test. Even though I was bigger than my counterpart, he was far more skilled, agile, and flexible than I was. We worked for over an hour on holds, and throw downs, and by the end my arms dead. The assistant Judo master paired off with Eric to finish off the class and I was so glad he hadn’t chosen me. Theo has been training since 1979 and is a black belt in Judo. It made no difference that Eric was bigger and probably stronger because of the skill and technique that Theo was able to deliver. It was fun to watch but I don’t think I’m ready for that!
The practice ended at 6, or at least we thought it did. After we both got changed and we were all getting ready to leave, a few students informed us that our driver wasn’t coming till 7. This was not only an hour later than we were all anticipating but it was an hour later than what we had told Mama Zulu and our students from back in the Township. Being super hungry Dan decided to just venture off in hopes of finding something to eat. We helped the girls arrange a ride back to the township with one of the parents, and myself and Eric stayed behind with the remaining kids. Neither of us had any intention of suiting up again and I think we were both just interested in getting home but I tried to make the most of the hour. There was a trampoline and mat in the class and a few of the younger students were playing around on it. I taught a couple of them how to do a proper front flip. Or at least I tried to. They both could do the flip but neither of them understood the act of using their arms. I finally took of my shoes, removed the objects in my pockets and showed them how it was done. They go t it, but my camera didn’t take the best photos.
Finally, by 7 our ride had come and we were able to head back to Kayamandi. We were both very hungry at this point and were ready to dive right into supper. As soon as we walked onto the property we were flooded with screaming children. This isn’t that unusual but I still wasn’t expecting it. I totally forgot that we had told all those kids that we’d be home by 6. They had been waiting all this time! Luckily for them the girls had opened up their rooms to them and were playing games. Around this time one of the kids asked me were Dan was. He wasn’t home yet? It was almost 7:30 and he had left the practice on foot just after 6? I assumed he would have made it home by now but clearly he hadn’t. Part of me was concerned, because the sun had just gone down and Dan was out somewhere alone, but I knew he didn’t have anything of value on him and knew that he could take care of himself. After convincing the girls that they didn’t have to wait any longer to eat (they had been waiting for all of us to get home, but I knew Dan wouldn’t have wanted us to wait) everyone made their way to the dining room. Well, everyone but me. I transported all the kids from the girls room to our rooms so that we could eat without having to worry about them getting into trouble. When I finally made it to the dining room and walked in, the first person I see is Dan sitting at the head of the table. I guess he had just gotten back! Glad he was fine, and super hungry, I joined everyone and ate a much needed meal!