I can’t sleep, so I might as well blog.
On Monday, 26 August 2013, we didn’t start sessions until about 9:30, but I forgot that was happening so I got up at my usual time anyway. We had a debrief about our visit to the apartheid museum and several PC staff members shared very personal experiences. After the debrief, we had a session with Monica (a PCV) about language structures and conventions before having lunch, lesson planning for Tuesday, and walking over to the primary school for Darren to give his lesson on speaking. Afterwards, I went to the tuck shop and pet Tiger for a while before walking home.
On Tuesday, we had language class then a session on vocabulary before preparation and lesson planning then after-school club. Our assignment was to teach something related to language structures and conventions, so I taught a lesson about personal pronouns and conjugating the verb “to be.” I wasn’t able to make the lesson as fun as I would have liked, so I wasn’t as pleased with it as I could have been.
On Wednesday we all dressed very nicely because the Limpopo Province Department of Education’s Curriculum Advisor was coming to speak with us. We played a language game in groups then learned about students with special needs and marginalized learners. We took a large group photo of all of SA28: PCTs, LCFs, and Peace Corps Staff. The curriculum advisor was amazing and it was very clear to me that she has a realistic view of how the schools are operating. We talked about how the National Curriculum isn’t really realistic for learners in this province and she urged us to focus on helping the learners read and speak. Darren taught a lesson on vocab that day in after-school club that our learners seemed to really enjoy.
On Thursday, we had language class and reviewed some useful phrases before sessions about libraries and IT in the classroom. It was graduation day for our after-school club and that went very well. We gave each of our learners a certificate for completing the program before we played simon says and had a race. Darren and I received two very sweet cards (which reminds me I need to give one of them back to him) and several of the learners expressed their gratitude and asked if we could come back. One of the learners in particular, a fifteen year old girl, pulled me aside and told me that she loves me and she will really miss me. My heart was definitely touched.
On Friday, Kgabo came to our language session to help us with adjectives. We then traveled to our village hub, where we took a kind of final exam for PST on all of the technical sessions we have had. Our Country Director, John Jacoby, came and spoke to us and told us that the schedule for the coming week has changed completely because we are swearing in early!!! We found out that our Language Proficiency Interviews have been moved to Tuesday and Wednesday, we will get our permanent site announcements on Thursday, and we will swear in on Friday before having Saturday to pack then leaving Sunday afternoon to go back to our first training site for the night. Which means we get to take showers!!! On Monday we will meet our principals and move to our permanent sites, which is bittersweet for me because I will really miss my host family and being able to see my friends whenever I want. We then did our LAST weekly debrief and I am so glad to be finished with those. They inevitably turn into a bitchfest where people invalidate others’ feelings, which is really hard for me even when I’m not the person it is happening to. Laura and I went into town to get some pictures printed out and a gift for our LCF. We met Lizzy there and hung out for a while before starting the journey to the cow slaughter, which we missed. I was really bummed that I didn’t get to see how they butchered the meat, but I’m sure I will have other opportunities. Laura and I caught a taxi into Mahwelereng where we waited at a gas station for Peace Corps to come pick us up. While we were there a car backfired several times and I was really scared because I thought we were being shot at. Once the car turned around, I realized that there were flames coming out of the exhaust pipe. When I asked a guy standing near me, he said the owner of the car had made it do that on purpose. PC picked us up and took me to Mokopane College, where I chopped some squash for the family function on Sunday. We then all went to the house of a cousin of one of my favorite staff members, Mr. Baker, and we had a braii (the South African version of a BBQ) where they cooked us some of the cow they had slaughtered a few hours before. It was a lot of fun to sit around the fire and hang out with people.
Saturday was a big day for a lot of reasons. Last week, our village Induna was hit by a car and killed. The Induna is what you think of as a village chief, but that isn’t exactly how it works here. Each village has an Induna and each Induna reports back to the Chief, who is typically responsible for a few different villages. The death of our Induna was made even more sad by the knowledge that he had just buried his son the previous Saturday. I wanted to go to the funeral but I didn’t want to go alone and I wasn’t really dedicated enough to wake up early. My mom ended up going, so I thought she wouldn’t be coming to the family function and I was very sad. My sister told me she was staying home because she was sick, and I went to the pick up point to wait with ten other people for Peace Corps to pick us up. The transport was late because they had to pick up so many people and we ended up cramming over 20 people into a 14 passenger van. The family function was beautiful and very fun. A few groups of traditional dancers performed and our LCFs sang us some beautiful songs. Nicole and Amanda gave a speech to our families on behalf of SA28, Nicole in Sepedi and Amanda in English. We each got to present our host family with a certificate of appreciation before serving food to all of the family members. Our LCFs barely got any sleep the night before since they were with us at the cookout until quite late then they all had to be at the college crazy early to help prepare. Melissa and Lizzy came to spend the night last night and we met up with some other people to go to another braii/party for the grand opening of a car wash in zone one. I woke up today with my first South African hangover and I can safely say that being hungover here is worse than in the States.
Today, Melissa, Lizzy, and I woke up and hung out until my host sister got home from church, then the four of us traveled to town together to eat at Maxi’s. Some of the girls needed to buy things, so we went to Game (which is owned by Walmart) before parting ways. My sister and I picked up pizza for dinner tonight then came home. You know you are hungover when you are able to sleep in a ridiculously hot and crowded South African taxi. When we got home I took a nap then went on a walk before eating pizza and talking to my parents on the phone. Afterwards, I did dishes then started writing this post!
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my amazing support system!