Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Not Too Exciting Update...

Hey Hey Everyone!

Whoops, sorry it’s been a while since I last updated. I really don’t even have an excuse; I haven’t been doing anything really and don't really have too much to report, just wanted to check in so you all know I'm still alive and kickin'. Ha. I’ve settled into a nice groove lately, teaching two days a week, having a meeting or two a week, with the other days just spent doing the wash, cleaning the hut, and recuperating from the week’s activities.

Teaching is going well, we are starting the Decision Making Skills unit in both grades, talking about role models (the only ones they could come up with were “my mother” and Torres) and goals (the only definition they could think of was “putting the ball in the net.” I can’t make this stuff up…). It is still a bit of a struggle sometimes. The small group work I have them do usually doesn’t work out well and I have to just tell them what I wanted them to get out of it, which isn’t engaging for anyone, but hopefully the message is going through, at least to someone. But I hope when we start talking more in depth about having goals in life, that it will be more interesting to them and hopefully they’ll think more about finishing school, going to university and making good choices to get them there. I would be willing to bet about 90% of the girls have children before they are 22 and certainly before they are married. The other day, a grade 4 teacher came in and said a girl had been absent from her class all week and came to find out she dropped out because she was pregnant. Grade 4. More astonishing was when I found out this was not the first time a Grade 4 girl has become pregnant. So hopefully getting them thinking about what they want to do with their life will help at least a few to break the mold. I’ve come to realize the idea of goals and the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is something we obviously take for granted in our culture that isn’t here so much. Maybe, just maybe they learn about goals in a religious education class, which it seems is the place where they throw everything else that doesn’t fit in the math, science, agriculture classes, but it is definitely not more than breezed over. When I asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up it was either a soldier or a nurse. Not a lot of variety from it, so maybe with goal setting and an introduction to other job forces, they can see a world outside of what they know. Or a few can anyway, that’s all you can really hope for. There is a girl in my grade 6 class who said she wanted to be a vet. I almost fell off my chair. There is another boy in grade 5 who speaks almost perfect English, writes notes religiously and volunteers answers for everything; a teacher’s pet I guess you’d call him, but you love those kids when you’re teaching a class of 12 year olds who don’t speak your language and know you won’t beat them. He also told the teacher he loved Ms. Shabalala’s class and proceeded to list off everything we had talked about and all the big words I had written on the board like communication and assertive and peer pressure. I was so happy and proud!

But other than teaching, I’ve just been hanging out the past few weeks, waiting for my grant to be approved, not that I could do anything yet even if I got the money tomorrow with the project not starting until May. So March has been full of nothing but hanging out at site, hanging out with Eric and Dan’s parents when they visited, and eagerly anticipating Cape Town in a month and my own parents visiting in 3 months! It has been kick my butt in gear time in terms of this race. Only a few weeks left till race day! And next week is our Mid Service Conference in town. More like 9 month service but oh well. It will be great to have a week of cooked food, showers, and a bed that isn’t caving in. I don’t know what the deal is, but the beds we bought in town suck. If I have any advice to the new group coming in it is: bring earplugs and eyeshades and don’t skimp when buying a bed. That and it does get cold here in some places, aka my site, which is near where you are training, is. Like cold cold. Bring warm clothes. And I’m from Minnesota.

Lets see what else is going on? Not much. It is hot here now, but it gets cooler at night so winter is coming, as evidenced by the 6:30pm sunset and getting later every day. The kids on my homestead are growing up fast. The almost 2 year old can say just as much English as he can siSwati and I’m taking full credit for that. Though his “I’m fine” sounds more like “I’m dying” which I find hilarious. The preschooler comes home with his English chants they teach in school that I love hearing. The latest concept is “How many days are in a week?” to which he replies “Saturday and Sunday we do not go to school!” Close bud, close.

Well, I’ve tried to stretch this out to give you more of an update on my life. But really nothing is happening. Ha. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. As far as I can tell, Saint Patrick hasn’t made it to the Swaz like his fellow Saint, Valentine, but I haven’t been to town all week so maybe I just missed him. Well I hope everyone is enjoying their Spring Breaks and getting ready for spring! Miss you all!

Love, Megan