Monday, June 29, 2009

Pump, Pump the Jam

So my spirits have lifted a bit since my last posting, despite now having a cold. My mother taught me that when you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. For me, when I have nothing nice to say, I say wear your headphones and listen to your iPod and then you can drown out what some people are saying. There’s nothing like cranking up some ridiculous ESPN jock jams I have on my iPod – thanks to either my dad and the music he had on the computer for playing at high school softball games or my sister and her random CDs: the jury is out on a which one I got it from. All I know is that I when people are being rude, I just crank up the volume and think “pump, pump the jam, pump it up” and all my cares just float away on a sports center cloud.

School is going well. I was at the board the other day, writing the directions for homework and one of my students said “senhora professora, is it true that there is no God?” My jaw dropped. I asked him why he was asking that and he said “because the Portuguese teacher just told us there is no God.” I told him that it depends on what a person believes and that people are free to believe whatever they want – from Christians, to Muslims, to Jehovah’s Witnesses, to all types of religions (all represented in the classroom). “Well, I am going to ask the biology teacher if you don’t know because I bet he would know.” All the other students nodded their heads in agreement. I tried to explain to them that a question like that has no definite answer and the answer will vary with each person. I am still betting that they went to find the biology teacher to ask him.

The library project is well on its way. It’s shaping up nicely. Nia’s JOMA group is painting a mural on corruption in schools and it is turning out beautifully. I made curtains for the windows and am in the process of organizing the mangled mess that is the library’s “system.” The librarian has obviously taken little care of the library in the past. All of the books are out of order. At the end of the day, after getting books for students, they are just stacked in random piles on desks. This isn’t a library like in the states. It is a single, long, bookshelf unit. Then there is a space for the librarian to walk. Then there is a long librarian’s desk. She can literally sit in the center, pick up a book with her left hand and give it to the student with her right; the space is so small. That is after she plays on her phone for five minutes while the student is standing there, waiting with his/her identification card. That’s obviously something we will need to work on.

Kara (my sister) is coming to see me on Friday! I am incredibly excited and I can’t wait to pick her up from the airport. I will give her a tour of the market and she will get to see the goat heads that are constantly on a display like a warning to all naughty goats. She’s gonna come to school with me for the last day of the trimester to distribute tests and the class prizes. I lied and told my kids that she will be here to control their last exam and I said “there will be TWO Americans controling your test” and a look of horror crossed their faces. “NO SENHORA PROFESSORA!” It will be interesting sharing a bed with her, under a mosquito net, with the dog trying to jump on the bed. She will get to take a bucket bath in our latrine. I have reassured her that my house is like “classy camping” but with numerous locks. I think the most memorable camping trip I ever had with her was when she threw up in my hair. I was like five years old, so this has got to be better. I figure we will spend about five days in Monapo, a couple of days on Ilha, and then we are going to Maputo to visit my host family, making a day trip into Swaziland (my host family lives on the border with Swaziland and I hear you can cross the entire country by car in about two hours) and then we are off to Capetown for a week to go see the penguins, Table Mountain, and Robben Island, experience an array of food and water temperature choices, and we are even getting a rental car. I think the private car might be one of the things I’m most excited about. There are no such things as crowded chapas in South Africa. I often daydream about this chapa-less country - land of milk and honey.