Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Life of the Library

Much of what we do on a daily basis right now has to do with libraries. James has been busy organizing and cleaning a library at one school, at another I'm sticking stickers on books to represent different learning areas, and at the last I'm playing chaperone to children who want to come and read the books. It's funny because neither of us really wanted to involve ourselves in library work (mostly because we didn't want to get stuck cataloguing books for two year) but it's become something we do almost everyday, and shockingly, it's rewarding.

The libary that is actually in use now is interestingly the only one that hasn't gotten donations coordinated by former volunteers but did have a lot of books donated in the past. The collection isn't that big but it's enough for most kids to find something they want to read. Kids come in and look through the books to find the perfect one to read. Interestingly, the books about HIV and AIDS are very popular as well as the one about how babies are made. Then they sit quietly or maybe in a group pouring over the words and the pictures. But the highlight of my time in the library thus far was when 4 grade 4 girls came in and decided to play school. One played teacher and picked up books to give lessons about. The others raised their hands and asked questions and repeated when she said to repeat.

Yet, the library is not always happy place. Last week, three grade 1 boys (yes, grade 1) broke into the library, grade 1 and 2 classes and wrecked havoc. I came in on Monday morning to find books all over the floor and broken glass. In the other classes, they spilled glue on the carpet and tore up notebooks. Though it was only a couple of hours till everything was put right, it still was hard to believe that these boys would want to destroy their own school and resources. Later that day, they came to see me with the other children and look at books as if they hadn't done anything wrong. And they did because really how are they going to learn to respect their school until they get to enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

a day of quotes

Things are a bit crazy in the village with ongoing water strikes in the municipality (we haven't had water in weeks...well we've had it for a few hours but I don't know that that counts and it is...or was...dirty because the processing plant has some sort of problem). The biggest effect that this has had on us is that the strikers are blocking the road in the next village and so the teachers that don't live in the village (about 80% of them) can't make it here and people can't leave to do shopping and such things. So despite or maybe because of the strike we had a day full of amusing quotes...

A girl is crying grade 4. Becca asks why, a boy explains "That boy is bullying her because her father is Zulu, he's not sensitive to her culture".

Our friend who works at the area office has discovered that the new large TV in the lobby is actually a computer. James asks what you can do on it. He says "you can add a printer!"

Sitting and chatting Becca mentions that "I saw the grossest poop today. It was a person poop, it was too big to be a child." James drops everything to go see it and says he can here the flies buzzing around it from 50 feet away.

James calls Telkom for our 90 year old neighbor. The women on the phone asks why his English is so good though he has a Sotho name. He says "Well I studied in America".

We are sitting and talking and for some reason Mma explains "I am like Simba, the little lion king", I can't for the life of me remember why. Later she says that it would "take two buses to transport Zuma's family" when we are talking about Obama and Zuma's impending (obviously, it's going to happen) visit to our house.

And now we are watching Manhunt (the reality show that searches for South Africa's manilest man so I'm sure we will hear another choice quote or four.)