Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quick trip to the store

So today after school and a small load of laundry I asked my roommate if she was going to town because I needed more bread. We set off on our quick trip and picked up another teacher on the way. The shopping itself took me all of 2 minutes and them at least 15 and as we headed back with a teenage boy and mother with a baby strapped on her back also piled into the car, our car died halfway between town and where we live. It turns out there was no gas and the car came to a shuddering halt. We let the two guests out and then sat… and sat.. and waited for someone to stop and help. Finally a truck from telecom, a big phone company here, pulled over and picked up my housemate and carted her off to get a gallon of gas. She returned 5 minutes later, filled up the tank, turned the key and…. Nothing. For the record, at this point I said, “I think it sounds like the battery is dead.” We pushed the car back down the slight incline towards town with me and the other teacher running behind, but the battery would not start so she pulled over into some shade on the side of the road where we waited some more. After a little while the principal happened to drive by and picked up the other teacher. I felt weird leaving my housemate alone since we were out for my shopping in the first place so I stayed behind. To wait. Eventually a mechanic showed up, fiddled with every single part of the engine, tied the car to his little car to tow it and declared “the battery is dead”. As we towed it back towards town, he was able to get it started and we returned home at about 4:15, two hours and forty-five minutes after we left. Quite the adventure.

And here are the other highlights from today:
I actually cried at school today. No one saw me but I discovered that despite my principal assuring me all the paperwork for me to get paid my meager stipend was complete on Monday, what she actually meant was it’s complete if I had sent in all the forms. I brought her the form she had given me, filled it out and handed it over to be faxed. She said, “great! This is all. I assume you already sent everything else to the regional office?” In my head I said, “Sent WHAT? WHERE is the regional office? HOW was I supposed to know to do this? WHY would you even think that I know what you’re talking about??” But out loud was just no. This combined with her not understanding why I wouldn’t want to wait the three months to get my paycheck from the automated system (despite my asking, “and how will I pay for food”) was what left me so frustrated I broke a little. After a call to Jocie, my field director, and a little more work I think I got it all sorted out but phew, it was a rough morning.
We got a visit from an organization called OYO today. They travel around 3 different regions in Namibia and teach about HIV and AIDS in schools through art, writing, and poetry and use what students produce to make a magazine that they pass out. The guys who taught were very nice and really enthusiastic and apparently come back once a month to talk about different topics (today’s topic was dating). Seems like a pretty cool organization.
My seventh graders got really into a textbook scavenger hunt I made to get them to learn about the different reference parts of a book, that was pretty cool.
And the big exciting news for today, I convinced my principal to give me the cupboard that is sitting in an unused classroom for the library. It is going to make SUCH a big difference organizationally, I can’t even believe it.
No classes tomorrow because we have our interhouse athletic competition, sounds like it could be fun but I have no doubt it will be an organizational nightmare. You can bet I’ll tell you how it goes!

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