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A Weekend

A Weekend
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 out.


Some 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 preparations.


click here for more pictures of Ekulo learners

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