Friday, July 30, 2010

Two quick things:

1. The pre-primary and first grade learners have just started figuring out that it’s ok to hug me. Adorable. Today one of my little friends from grade 1 ran from the other side of the building to give me a hug and knocked the wind out of me and two pre-prim. girls dangled from my arms as I walked back to class. They are too funny!
2. Today we said goodbye to a principal who has been visiting our school for two weeks to help us get through the adjustment period after bringing ‘Jane Doe’ back. We had a little mini party in the staff room (celebrated with meat, as no Namibian party would be complete without it…) and I had to take pictures of each member of the staff with this man. Then the kids started moving desks and chairs in preparation for the sundowner cup (people are renting out the classrooms to sleep in) even though we still had three periods left. So school ended two hours early today (something that would have been so frustrating to me at the beginning of the year, given that I had all my lessons planned, but alas Namibia has been changing me ;) ). I hung out and took some pictures of kids clowning around for a bit but hooray for a short Friday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Status quo?

Last Wednesday, "Jane Doe" came back to school. The first day, a lot of the kids were pulled out of the school, but the next day most classes had at least 2/3 of their learners, so we all let our hopes get up that the parents had just accepted the situation. Unfortunately, the father of one of the learners who was the most... involved in the possessions is a Counselor (government position) for the town and called a meeting encouraging parents to keep their kids out of school. So today I had 7 grade 6 learners and there were 9 in grade 7. There is a parents meeting again tonight and each parent received a letter telling them that if their kids are absent for three more consecutive days from school that the director of the ministry of education will be dealing with the responsible parents directly (who knows what 'dealing with' means).
Anyway, the point is that the saga continues. My classes grow and shrink from day-to-day and I often have two or three girls sitting in the back of my class who are avoiding the teacher in question's classes. Fortunately, I am back to teaching my normal number of classes and no longer have to 'baby sit' classes during my free period, so hopefully school will feel like less of a drag soon.
Nothing else too exciting is going on currently, but this upcoming weekend is the Sundowner Cup in Uis, and apparently soccer teams are coming from all over the country to compete. It sounds like the town will be swarmed with people and there will be things happening all weekend, so I'm excited! Hope you're looking forward to hearing about that excitement!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still want to help?

Hi again! I’m back to blogging after a wonderful and relaxing weekend in Tsumeb with some of the other volunteers ☺
Many of you have been writing and asking what you can send or if you can help out the school at all and I finally have a good answer for you! As you know, I have done by best to whip the library into shape, but there is still one big problem: the big bookshelf (where I have non-fiction sitting) has some very messed up shelves. Specifically they only go back about 6 inches, so there is a big space that the books constantly fall down. It’s a very ridiculous design, and I have no idea why someone would build a bookshelf like that. I have, therefore, contracted my new friend who is a carpenter to make a custom built, huge bookshelf to replace it. The only problem is that it will cost between 1000 and 1400 Namibian dollars ($133 to 187 US) plus the cost of paint, since I plan to paint it in a color-coded fashion to make the smooth running of the library more sustainable. So if you think you would like to help out and contribute a bit to pay for it, I would really, really appreciate it!
If you think you want to, please mail the donations to my parents (I won’t post the address on the world wide web but if you don’t have it send me an email and I will happily provide it) as soon as you can, and they will deposit it so that I can take it out here and make the exciting new purchase! Let me know if you have any questions, and many thanks if you even consider it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hello again!

Hello!!! I finally have my computer back, sorry for slacking so much on the blog while I waited for repairs, and thanks to those of you who continued to check for updates! It has been a while so I will try to just do a quick catch up on the recent goings on around here!
Witch update
The regional director, education inspector, and several other people with intimidating titles came to the school this week and met with management, teachers, parents and learners to announce that no proof of witchcraft was found so the teacher in question will be reinstated. Obviously many parents are outraged and will probably be taking their kids out of school but from the government’s position, there’s not much they can do.
4th of July
For the fourth of July I went with Kristen, Jena, Wes and Kyle to visit Ari in the far far northeast. It was a chance to get to see yet another culture within Namibia and was a lot of fun. He lives right next to a beautiful river that forms the border with Angola in the only cement house for kilometers (also the only one with running water and electricity, so people were always coming and going). We cooked American foods, donned ridiculous party hats and masks, blew mini voovoozelias, and had a bonfire by the river. It was a pretty excellent weekend.
School and social
School has started to be quite a chore, to put it mildly. A combination of being short one teacher (so the kids are sitting un-taught for at least two periods each day, which breeds loneliness), demons interrupting class, and all sorts of goings on that have disrupted regular routines, the learner’s behavior has deteriorated. I put up with kids misbehaving, whining, talking, fighting, and blatantly refusing to do work almost every class. It doesn’t matter if I’m enthusiastic and far too excited about something like decimals or yelling at the top of my lungs. Good behavior rewards have been tried and worked for the first couple of days but have stopped having much influence (I actually had a class say “miss we were too naughty, don’t give anyone stars”- glad they know it!). I am really, really hoping that the other teacher returning will restore some sort of balance, but we will see.
Fortunately, life outside of school has started to be really great. Somehow, I actually have friends now (suddenly!) and between cooking with my “crew” of older white friends, playing games with my learners, exploring with the summer volunteers, or just hanging out and chatting with my neighbor and his friends, I have started to be busy. As much as I missed all of you, I think not having a computer helped to force me out into the real world! This past weekend included watching burn notice with Jen and her host brother and his friends, hiking to the reservoir, watching a religious dance performance, a braai (barbeque) for the world cup finals, tea at 10 PM with learners and friends, church, and soccer, just to give you an idea ☺
For some unknown reason, Jen and I have taken up baking, which is a bizarre hobby to acquire in Namibia. We have semi-successfully (tasted ok, even if it wasn’t the original plan) made rice crispies treats, cookies, and cheesecake.
Funny snippet from my life: Monday included a dance party on my back porch with some learners, a little boy (6 or 7 but could dance like a maniac) and my neighbor. I taught them line dances and how to bachata and they tried to tell me I could dance to hip hop but laughed at me nonetheless. After walking one girl home she turned to me and said “miss, I wish every day could be this fun!’ Adorable.

Anyway this is quite long enough, but look forward to (hopefully!) more regular updates now, and keep the questions/comments coming!