Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ending the Week on a High Note

This was typed on Friday but forgot to upload it.

I woke up late today, only making it to school by 6:40am. What little did I know that the day would inspire me for the third term. There were some fireworks at the staff meeting. Teachers who weren't doing their job were called out (had their names mentioned at the meeting)! The staff loved my ideas for using the computer lab as a reward for learners who aren't behaviour problem, don't abscond and do their homework. I'm creating id cards with their picture if they meet the criteria. Hopefully it will make a much bigger impact next year. It was refreshing to see the teachers who care to start to speak out. Sometimes it feels like you're trying to bail out the Titanic with a thimble. By my observations, four of the ten teachers are passionate about teaching.

On my way back to the hostel, I broke up a fight between two primary learners. It was just a little pushing until one learner pulled out his uncapped pen and tried to stab the other (the one who was instigating things, swearing in Nama)! I kept my eye on the instigator after I broke things up and noticed that he was protecting his right pocket with his hand. I walked over and asked to see what was in his pocket (nobody pulls out a pen and tries to stab someone without a reason) and bingo, he was packing a knife! In fact, most learners have some sort of knife or weapon.

Caught a hike down to Keetmanshoop to drop off some pictures to Shoni for the health calendar next year. First, UNAM and unfettered internet access (quick check of yahoo and gmail). A walk to the train station for my ride back to Tses that evening (can't leave the cat along for too long). At the train station I met someone explaining a lot of math problems to the person working there. Turns out the gentleman was a retired mathematics teacher. It was fun to sit back and let him teach us some tricks to multiplication and what. He even raced the worker's calculator and won most of the time. I also got to talking to the other gentleman (grew up near Keetmanshoop) – at the age of 18 he was forced to join the South African Defence Force and fight against SWAPO during Namibia's struggle for independence. If he hadn't joined the SADF, he would've served six years in prison. His travels to England, Germany, Finland and finally back to Keetmanshoop. Both his grandmothers are still alive, at the ripe ages of 96 and 98 years old!

I talked to them for so long that I had barely enough time to purchase some groceries, walk to Jay & Shoni's in Tseiblaagte (opposite end of the town – a 35 minute walk one-way), talk and drop some things off and walk back to the train station. Somehow I pulled it off, with four minutes to spare. A bad science fiction move starring Nicholas Lea (played the backstabbing character Alex Krycek in The X-Files) titled Threshold. I only wish I had someone else with me so we could make fun of the movie. It was brutally bad with plot holes so big you could drive the state of Alaska through them.

Another note: every time I walk in the Tseiblaagte location, the children yell out, “Jay!” It's funny because while we both have long, dark hair (he has dreads now), but we don't look much alike. You know you're safe when you hear people yelling out your name however.

I may have a new career option after service – singer. The young woman behind the register at Spar said I have a very nice voice. It was then I realized I'd been singing Neil Diamond songs out loud.

The village council made a payment to NamPower, so we're fine for the moment.


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