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Idle Talk
9 October 2003

I’m going to start this e-mail in a typical Namibian fashion:

Greetings colleagues.  So-o, I don’t really have anything to say…it’s only that…[insert 2 hour meeting about “nothing” here].Selma and Ruusa, grade 9B

But really, not much is happening around here.  It’s hot—high of 103F today.  HIV/AIDS club is going along somewhat haphazardly.  The teacher I’m doing it with, my “counterpart” doesn’t seem too committed so I’m mostly doing it alone.  Classes are going fairly well with my 11th graders.  They alternate between surprising me with how smart they are and then how “intellectually challenged” they are.  I’m pretty ready to be finished with the grade 9s.  Now that the weather is so hot, nobody wants to be in class, myself included.  But at least the 9th graders continue to entertain me.  In the English book, we’re doing a little unit on lightning laws (ie, how to not die in the summer).  So I’m thinking, what can I do with these kids and lightning?  I’ve got it!  I’ll have them make up songs about lightning.  Somehow, the dumber the idea, the better it works.  So today, in small groups, the learners all got up and sang or rapped about the lightning laws such as “Don’t stand in water” “Avoid metal objects” and “Stay away from the telephone.”  Some were pretty terrible, a few were good, and all were hilarious. 

***

When I was walking home from school today, one of my ninth grade boys ran up behind me, “Miss!  Miss!”

“Yes, Shaanika?”

“Miss, do you want to buy a chicken?”

“What would I do with a chicken?”

“Miss, you eat it!”

“Is it alive?”

“Yes, but I can kill it for you.”

“Will you also take the feathers off?”

“Yes.”

“Why do you want to sell me a chicken?”

“Miss, to get money.”

“What do you need money for?”

“To buy things.”

“Like what?”

“To buy our needs.”

“Like what?”

“Miss, our needs.”

“Okay, I will talk to Mr. Zac.”

***

Since I apparently don’t spend enough time with my students already, I decided to start a Palaver Club.  What’s a “palaver” you ask?  Well, it has a multitude of definitions, depending on which dictionary you consult.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Loud and confused and empty talk
2.  Speak (about unimportant matters) rapidly and incessantly
3.  Idle talk
4.  Misleading or beguiling speech
5.  A long parley, usually between people of different cultures or levels of sophistication

 I advertised the club to just my 11th graders, by saying I was a wealth of completely useless information and ideas, and if anyone would like to sit around and idly talk rapidly and incessantly about them, they should join my club.  To apply, they just had to make a list of at least 10 questions starting with WHY?  I got a response from 21 of the best and brightest (mostly from 11B and 11C; probably because I “forgot” to tell 11A).  The questions ranged from truly inquisitive to smart aleck.  Here’s a sampling (I’ve left all errors fully in tact):

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Why women are not pre-missive to hunt their lover?

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Why do we have two legs?

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Why do some male people donot grow hairs in their head?

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Why do people kiss? (on lips)

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Why do people have different skin colors?

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Why are some pure liquids colorless?

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Why do almost all the people believe there is god?

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Why are mules infertile?

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Why are most wild animals of the same type have one colour e.g. giraffes, cheetahs, leopards, kudus, gemsboks, e.t.c. unlike the domestic ones e.g. we find cattle in different colours?

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Why is life like this (born and die)?

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Why do love hurts?

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Why do people have hair under their arm?

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Why are blacks always considered low?

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Why do people talk but not animals?

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Why do people sees colour on the day time but not night time?

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Why people are clever than other animals?

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Why do people say there’s god if no-one have seen god in their life?

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Why do brides carry flowers?

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Why cats, when they fall off, they always land on their feets why not at their back or something?

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Why famous people divorce after months or a year in marriage?

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Why do a rabbit sock brings good luck?

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Why does God talk to certain people?

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Why is there hatred between people and wild animals?

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Why is Jesus always made white in movies?

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Why males have breast, 4 what?

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Why you let yourself to be a teacher?

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Why we need to take waste product out of body?

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Why people wears clothes?

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Why do people gets into sexually relationship?

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Why is their hatred between people in this world of us?

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Why do some people know how to witch and some don’t if we are all from one god?

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Why President W. Bush is arrogant?

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Why development is important for countries?

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Why do some people try even hard to study but still they do not get at the positions they want to be?

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Why monkeys look almost the same as people?

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Why do girls wear trousers while boy don’t wear skirts?

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Why do people scandalizer?

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Why do people have cultures?

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Why some learners use to do well at lower grades but latter they will be stupid in school work?

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Why people are not using condom even they know there is AIDS?

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Why can’t we found out that the globe is round when we’re standing on it but only when the saterite do it’s job?

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Why people smoke?

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Why are white people called white if they are more pink than white and black people are called black but they are more brown than black?

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Why does why start with w?  Why doesn’t why start with y?

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Why do we get angry with other people, why can’t we just correct each other and stay happilly?

 ***Sera in a field of harvested mahangu

 Like I said, I don’t really have anything to say.

 Stay happilly everyone!

 Love, Sera

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