Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gearin up for T'giving

Well I tried to hold out and wait until James wrote a blog, but he says he doesn't have enough material yet. So hopefully, you will hear something witty from him soon. For now, I'm bored so you, faithful reader, get another rambly one from me.

Last week was quite a bizarre week. First of all it was cold and rainy. Well the first part of the week was just cold, but it basically rained all day and night Thursday and Friday and the normally hard ground became one giant sinkhole. I wore pants and all of the teachers at one of the schools were so shocked, they were like 'oh you need to wear pants more often, you look so sharp'. I find it funny that I dress more conservatively than most of the teachers and than everyone under the age of about 50. I've decided though that dressing like a gogo (grandma) is a good thing because everyone respects gogos. I do have one skirt that is just below my knees, shocking I know. That's what I wear when I want to dress like someone in her 40s.

So the cold was nice, but by the end, I was happy to see the sun come back out on Sunday and the warm to return. Saturday was the funeral of a friend of our mma's who was sadly murdered by the guy who did work for her around the house (they caught him) and there was another funeral for a baby who died on Thursday so poor Mma was out in the cold and wet cooking for these things from 3 a.m. Thursday and then Friday morning and over Friday night into Saturday. We were going to go help, but she decided it wasn't worth it because everyone was just standing around Friday afternoon waiting for the vegetables to show up. When they finally did, it was late and she and another lady were the only ones there so they stayed up all night chopping. The whole ordeal meant that she got sick and has been taking it very easy since. At the funeral, she was telling all these ladies that we stayed there over night with her (just because she thought it was funny) and now some of the middle school kids have told us they heard we spent the night at the funeral, so I guess the rumor is spreading. Though it was a really sad occasion, it was a chance to see that we have come pretty far in getting to know people in the village as we knew quite a lot of people there and no one felt the need to stop everything and introduce us. We have been asked to give a speech at a wedding Saturday though so I guess our newness hasn't worn all the way off yet.

This week we're taking it pretty easy. We've gone to work but there's really very little to do. I did help with invitations for one of the school's end of the year party and James was attempting to help with timetables for next year. Tomorrow we've got lots of cooking to do and then Thursday we're off to some other volunteers' site for Thanksgiving. It should be fun as we're getting together with a pretty big group of everyone who is in the area. Next week, we have our big meeting with the principals about what we are going to do next year so we're crossing our fingers that that goes well, and our vacation got approved so we're excited to be off to the Wild Coast in a month!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

la gripe

The best part of being sick is not being sick anymore, and being sick in Africa is not so exciting when you have a cold or flu as when you have malaria, dysentery, or cholera (which are things we are not likely to acquire here in SA). So we fell sick after a fun visit to one of our Fellow volunteers Anne who lives up in the mountains outside of Rustenburg. Though it's not very far from where we live (driving, it's maybe an hour and a half, but taking taxis it was more like 3 hours), it's a totally different world, beautiful green rolling hills, tall trees, monkeys, and a swimming pool. But we started to feel a little sick even then (well mostly James did) which made the trip back and stop at the grocery store a bit hellish. It was so nice to get home and crash.

So James spent the first part of week in pain, and it caught up with me on Thursday, but by Friday we were both well enough to go to work. Spending the day at school (and at one of the schools we haven't spent much time at yet) was quite a shock after a week of doing nothing. It's kind of weird how big the village is that we can spend the whole week at home and aside from the kids who come to check up on us, most people in the village aren't even aware that we're incapacitated. In Chad, if I was gone for the weekend, everyone knew, but here, we are almost anonymous. I say almost because of course we really aren't, but we can definitely fly under the radar.

Our host mom has been home for the past week which has been nice. She should be home permanently pretty soon as her daughter's baby is growing, slowly, but it's growing. Maybe by the beginning of December. We have so much fun hanging out and working in the garden with her. Watching the fruit grow is one of my favorite pastimes and I think it won't be too much longer before we are eating figs, mangoes, and peaches.

Though we've been working on our plans for next year and completing our assignments, we've also been distracted by planning our life after peace corps (taking a quiz online of what the best city for you to live in is and looking for jobs in West Africa), our upcoming vacation to the wild coast for Christmas and New Years, and my parents' visit in April.

Anyway, I feel like this update seemed much more interesting in my head than it is in reality so I will stop. Next time, James is going to post so prepared to get enthralled.

Oh by the way, I did not really like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I like Pride and Prejudice a lot and I felt like the whole zombie thing was not funny after like the first 10 pages so then it was just annoying intruding into Pride and Prejudice so yeah that was disappointing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

more pics

on facebook http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2135679&id=7600008&l=b215da62f2

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

songs with the word november

all I can think of right now is november rain and gone til november. November Rain is a bit more appropriate as we've been enjoying rainy season for the past few weeks or so. It's much greener in the village especially around the river bed that runs through town. The weeds in the garden are thriving and I feel like we are constantly weeding. We have amazing rainstorms that make me extremely happy for some reason, but the thunderstorms can be scary.

This week at school marks the beginning of end of the year exams so today I proctored English and maths exams. It's funny how kids everywhere still try to work their teachers. They all kept asking me clarifying questions hoping that somehow I would give them the answer. Then they would go back to their work as if they had the answer somehow, but still didn't know what they were doing. Cheating doesn't seem to be taken as seriously here as it was in Chad so there are quite a lot of children with the same answers. It will be interesting to start marking the English exams tomorrow to see how they actually did. Yesterday, I had quite an extraordinary day. The IQMS (which is the evaluation system for teachers and schools) coordinator for our area was at the school all day, and I was told to help her to print and copy some memos. We ended up sitting and talking for like four hours about anything and everything...it was just this weird time where you feel like you are on the same page with someone for once. It was quite the refreshing day.

Today we went to the post office to check to see if our package from my parents had arrived (it did!) It was funny though because we caught the tail end of pension day. At the beginning of the month, pensioners (who include retired folks and single mothers) come to pick up their money. So we waited in line for quite a while, but not nearly as long as the pensioners wait.

We're both preparing our plans for next year. I've been putting together some workshops and James has been focusing on the curriculum for an after school club. James has also started writing a novel as November is novel writing month. Though baseball is dominating ESPN international (go Phillies!), I'm winning our fantasy football league and am more excited about the good start to the Wizards' season. Also, we started watching Sports Night right after Studio 60 and have realized they are actually exactly the same show in a slightly different venue. Of course, we're reading quite a lot...recently I've read Death Comes for the Archbishop, Cry the Beloved Country, the Moonstone, and now I'm reading Sister Carrie.

And really that's all for now. The electricity has gone out because it's windy. Who knows when it will come back on. And no, Telkom never showed up last week. We're going to post pictures soon because it's almost the end of our data bundle which means we better take some more pictures.