15 June 2003
Let me tell you about this weekend.
I never even left our house/yard but here is what happened (and every
weekend is pretty much like this):
A grade 10 learner, who neither Zac nor I
know, comes to borrow a “story book.” She
chooses an Oprah Book Club one that Zac’s mom sent, but I haven’t read yet.
Some learners come over to water the garden and I banter with Freddy about all
sorts of things: how he wants more choices for university (so I tell him to
start another university); he asks me why I am more serious when teaching this
trimester when, according to him, I am actually quite funny; we discuss
Huckleberry Finn which I lent to him to read (he says he likes it because all
the tricks the boys play); he defends what I call “lying” by saying it is
the learners way of respecting an elder (apparently if they honestly say ‘I
lost the magazine’ instead of ‘I’ll bring it tomorrow’ it would be
disrespectful?); he asks to borrow my radio if I’m going to be gone tomorrow;
he recaps the entire Ocean’s 11 movie for me, saying (in all seriousness) that
he would like to rob a casino some day; then he asks what time it is, because at
5:30 he has to go watch “Generations” the soap opera they all watch here.
Two boys come by in the morning and ask if
they can go and cut some spinach for me. I’m
a bit confused by what this means, but I say ok. Turns out they had talked to Zac about it and thought I knew.
They returned a while later with two enormous bouquets of spinach, tied
with strips of palm leaf. I finally
figured out they were agriculture students who were selling the spinach at N$5 a
bushel. Apparently I bought two.
Later, two girls come over to see how my flowers and trees are doing.
Laimi tells me I must water them more, asks me if I’ve eaten any of my
papayas yet, tells me to put a stick by my granadilla tree so it will grow
straight, and investigates my latest flower bed (with nothing growing quite
yet). I ask her about the spinach
and she tells me how to cook it. They
look through the recipe books in the kitchen and ask about ingredients they
don’t know like cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa all of which I show to them and
they smell or taste. Then I try to
explain things like macaroni and cheese and spaghetti (they have the noodles but
just eat them with salt or ketchup). I
end our food discussion by giving them both giant pieces of carrot cake and
explaining how I made it—as recipes are a novelty.
They then venture in the living room and investigate our picture wall and
I tell them about our families and Columbus.
I eventually shoo them away so I can get back to marking.
After a while, Freddy comes asking for the Youth Paper, which is in my
closet at school and since Freddy is one of the few trustworthy people, I give
him my keys to go fetch it himself. In
the meantime, Zac comes back from town with groceries and some other
things. After a considerable amount
of time has passed, Freddy and his friend return (they had found an old tabloid
amidst my magazine and newspaper collection and we quite intrigued by it).
When they saw that Zac had returned, they asked if he has any movies.
Zac, to get the movie club going, had just bought Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon, a martial arts movie. So we
tell them to give us an hour to eat supper, then we’d come to the dining hall
to show the movie. We go over
there, and the hall is dark as they are all watching Big Brother Africa (a
reality show). When that is over at
7 we pop in the movie. At 8, they
stop the movie to watch 20 minutes of news, then start it up again.
After the movie, they all rush back to the hostel before they get locked
kids come to water the garden in the morning.
Some other kids come to borrow the movie. A pair of Zac’s 12th grade girls come to type
their curriculum vitas on our laptop so I give a brief computer lesson then set
them loose. A teacher comes to
borrow the keys to Zac’s storeroom at school where all the chemistry chemicals
are kept. Some girls return from
the out weekend with some baskets they’ve made (I had told them I would buy
baskets if they made some). I go
back to helping the other girls with the computer. A herd of boys come to borrow
the movie, but I tell them someone else already has it. All this happened just
while we were doing the laundry. The girls finish using the computer, we eat
lunch. Some guys come to return the
movie, and look with delight at the computer.
So I show them how it works and all the easy things you can do when
typing. Then, they inevitably ask
about games, so I show them all 4 games we have on this computer, then teach
them how to play solitaire, which they love.
Meanwhile, a learner comes to return A Time To Kill which he borrowed
several months ago and probably let 5 other students read before returning it
(which is fine with us!). The boys
win their solitaire game, make reservations to type their curriculum vitas on
Wednesday, and I send them away so I can get back to work.
Zac makes sugar cookies. 2
of my ninth grade boys come, one asks me if he writes an email can I send it to
his sister whom he claims lives in America.
I asked where, and he says “Iowa Dakota.” I explain those are two different places and then show him on
the map. Anyway, I agree to e-mail
for him, if he takes out our trash (they take it to a pit on the other side of
the school). Zac gives them two
cookies in return for their favor. The
grade 10 girl comes to return the book, and claims she read the whole thing
already. We’re a bit suspicious. Frans
and his friend then come over to borrow the newspaper, but we don’t have one
so we send them away disappointed. Finally,
it gets dark and for some reason the kids stop coming. So we make our dinner and settle down to our lesson
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