I am the mayor of migraine town today, but aside from that it has been a good week since the last time I wrote! Here’s what I have been up to:
Week 4 (July 29 – August 4):
On Monday, we learned commands and phrases for classroom management such as homolong (be quiet), dulang fasi (sit down), etc. We then met up at our village hub and had a debrief about visiting the Voortrekker Monument. It was very frustrating because I felt like people weren’t really understanding what I was trying to say and I felt unheard. I really really really missed everyone from back home that day. I missed being around people who really get me and who understand what I’m trying to get at when I speak. Another volunteer, Dawn, was awesome and supportive while I had a good cry. It was hard for me to focus the rest of the day, but we learned about literacy theory, prepped for our school visits, and learned about corporal punishment and ways to handle our experiences of corporal punishment. I talked to some of the close friends I have made here, most of whom unfortunately live in the other village, Mosesejane.
On Tuesday, we visited a local school to observe morning assembly and some English lessons. The kids sang and danced and everyone was very welcoming. I was surprised to see that a fairly large portion of one of the English classes I observed was in Sepedi, but trying to learn Sepedi in mostly Sepedi has given me a new respect for all of the learners (students) here trying to learn English. After our school visit, we had a debrief about it then learned about language acquisition theory. We had language classes in the afternoon. I remember that we didn’t do what was on the schedule, but I don’t really remember what we did that day.
On Wednesday, we learned more about the noun classes in Sepedi, then traveled to the main hub (a college in Mokopane) and learned about teaching ESL. We were supposed to have a medical session on sexual health, but one of our medical people had a tragedy in her family, so we learned about nutrition instead, then we learned about the Peace Corp’s Emergency Action Plan for South Africa and learned what to do if there is an emergency. We also voted on t-shirt designs for our SA28 shirts.
On Thursday we did language training in the morning followed by sexual assault training and more ESL teacher training. I went home and took a four hour nap, then was awake until about midnight, then slept for another seven hours.
On Friday, we learned social language to use with our host families then learned about the different cognitive levels to utilize with students based on the Limpopo Province curriculum. Jonelle, a current PCV, taught that lesson and gave us all copies of The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. It was my favorite teaching lesson so far! Afterwards we did village debriefs and a mini language proficiency interview, then I went to the creche (preschool) on my way home and played with the kids for a while.
On Saturday, I woke up at 6:30 in the morning without an alarm. Take a minute to soak that in. If you know me at all, you know how strange that is. I went to town and met up with some friends. We sat in a little cafe called Maxi’s and ate, laughed, and used their WiFi for a ridiculously long time. I also ventured into Game for the first time, which is a store here that is owned by Walmart. It’s definitely not Walmart, but it is beautiful. I was finally able to get good pens! I also went to PEP, a well known store here, and bought a cheap (in price and quality) coat to wear. I talked to my parents on the phone for almost an hour, which was really wonderful.
Sunday was very productive. I was awake by 7:15 (with no alarm. Again.) And I stayed in bed for a while because it was so cold before I got up and did my laundry, read part of Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, swept, mopped, and dusted my room, baked bread, read part of God is Not A Christian by Desmond Tutu, walked to and from the shop, made grilled cheese for my family, talked to my Granny on the phone for fifteen or so minutes, then talked to my parents for about 45 minutes.