Weekend number 2

Hello everyone!!  It’s been a whole week since my last blog, but we haven’t had internet.  It’s Africa – we have power cuts every day, and sometimes things just don’t work.  Sometimes the electricity supply is too weak to actually power appliances, and the lights can only manage a dim glow.  When something doesn’t work (for example, the internet) the company can never be bothered to help.  So it takes time to get anything done.  Please please please don’t panic if I disappear for a couple of days again, it will just be some ridiculous power cut or something!  Although, it was kindof cute that people got so worried :-)So Monday-Thursday there was no teaching, as the kids were doing exams.  I supervised the English exam, which was funny.  A class of 10 year olds where asked to give the definition of the word “irrigation”…  Lets go and ask some English 10 year olds that question…

On Friday I taught classes as usual, but perhaps the most amusing part of Friday was a “lecture” I received from the teachers.  3 guys were stood outside, so I went to join them during my free class.  They handed me a stick and asked if I knew what it was.  “A stick??”  I was told “Yes, it’s used for teaching”…. Haha…. For beating the kids I asked?  For many things, they told me… but without a stick, I will not be able to maintain any respect or authority within my classroom.  Laughing, I told them I don’t need a stick to have authority over my students.  Laughing, they told me… oh yes I do.  How else will I threaten them??  I told them I make my misbehaving students write lines at home.  And if they are very naughty, I will call in their parents.  (This being a very big threat over here, because those privileged enough to go to a good school do not want to shame their parents, and will probably be beaten at home).  The teachers told me:  “For many of these children, they receive no moral guidance at home, we are their parents, so we have to beat them.”  I could see I was fighting a pointless battle, so I declined offers to have a stick carved for me, and gave up on the anti-beating speech.  However, the teachers changed tactic:  “What will you do, if a huge snake comes into your classroom?  With no stick, how will you beat it to death??”  I assured them no snake will come into my class.  Oh but it might, they told me.  “In the unlikely event that a huge snake comes into my classroom, I’m sure I will manage to find an implement with which to beat it to death.” I told them.  They were satisfied.  Beating things to death seems to be a necessary part of life here.  So long as I was willing to beat the snake with something, everyone’s happy.

The bell had gone in the meantime.  “Are you not teaching this lesson?”  They asked.  “Yes I am,” I told them, “but I’m getting better at African time.  No one moves when the bell goes, the teacher won’t come out of the class, and let me begin… you have to wait a bit, and start late.  That’s African time.”  Doubled up from laughter at the crazy mzungu… they told me “African time??? Don’t be silly”… 🙂

Yesterday I went horse riding in an attempt to get over  my dislike of horses.  But it wasn’t very successful.  They gave me a horse that was very stubborn, and seemed to find it hilarious that every now and again, the horse just decided it had had enough.  When we were running, it would just stop suddenly, and I almost flew off a few times… and sometimes it just decided to go home to its stable, and  made a break for the exit.  Perfect horse to give a beginner….  Don’t think I’ll go back again…

In the afternoon I went to an expats meeting, where I met loads of lovely new people.  I can’t believe how many young people have moved to Kenya for work…. So cool 🙂

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