Saturday, April 21, 2012

The good and bad of days

Yesterday was Kabo’s first real day in front of students. The Guidance and Counseling teacher was out for a workshop so John took his four classes and we did focus groups to get to know the students wants, needs, likes/dislikes, and challenges. Kabo will write another blog with pics detailing this since soon I mainly played the role of the note taker and do not want to steal his thunder.

While waiting for Rachaba and Dika to arrive to set up for the steps film, Kabo and I were sitting on a ledge by the administration building. A group of girls approached us, greeted us, shook our hands left handed and said something while giggling. We asked them what they said and they proceeded to ask us where we were from and if we were going to be there tomorrow (Sat). At first we said no then later said we would stop by over the weekend and would definitely be there Monday. The amount of excitement from them could have powered an entire village. They were so excited and mentioned how bored they are on the weekends. They all shook our hands left handed again and scampered off. It was great! The small experiences like that can make a bad day good.

The STEPS film did not go as well as hoped. This is the third one we have done and they have varied group to group. These are films about real stories of people in different countries of Africa affected by AIDS. We show them to groups of people then discuss the video and relate it to their life. Normally we prefer to only 25 or less people, but somehow before Kabo and I got there the other organizers decided to do 2 classes which were about 60 kids, on a Friday afternoon. On top of it the main presenter threw Kabo under the bus and told the kids he was presenting unexpectedly (it happens all the time here as communication is not as strong). We muddled our way through but most of the time kids were not paying attention and were sitting by their friends talking. There was a small group of kids at the front participating, but all in all I think most of them were not reached. The reason to do smaller groups is it allows the presenter to walk among the group and keep every one’s attention. It also gives everyone a safer space to discuss personal issues without worries of other’s reactions. After the session I put my foot down and said if the group is too big I will not be a part of presenting, especially with kids. Someone told us that the greatest day can be destroyed by the slightest comment here, and it is true. After an experience like that it is hard to step back and say, let’s try to remember all the kids we reached at the first part of the day, not the feeling of failure of the last couple hours.

John and Rachaba presenting

Me, Rachaba, Dika 

This morning Kabo and I got ready early (for a Saturday) and went down to Lehutshelo to watch the football match, council vs teachers. It is a nice cool fall day threatening rain, although everyone here is calling it cold and says it is not going to rain, which is making me homesick for things like sitting out at my Brian’s at a party around a firepit. Rachaba and Dika picked us up on the way and we got to the game at 9am. Like most things in here the 9 am game didn’t start until 10:15, so we went to one of the outdoor classrooms and played cards. After a while a group of kids surrounded us and we taught them how to play golf. At first they were really shy about it, but we could tell they wanted to play and one was bold enough to ask us to teach them. They picked up on it quickly and seemed to really enjoy the game. After a couple games we went to the football match because it seemed we had been gone a while and surely it had started…it hadn’t yet.

The football game itself was fun due to conversations with friends and co-workers and we also took some great pictures. The council won, which I am torn about whether I am happy about that or not. The council team is technically my team due to where I work, but when I was initially interested in playing (before the broken foot) someone on the team told me I couldn’t play on it because it was a men’s team and I am a woman. The school team immediately asked me to play when they found out I had experience without my even prompting and before one game I was kicking the ball around (in a skirt b/c I was not on the team yet) they talked about finding me shoes, etc (oddly 4 days later I broke my foot delaying my return to being a star player…ha ha ha..sigh). After talking to more of the council players I realized that the initial comment from someone was out of ignorance and most of the players would love to have a female player and are surprised there are no female teams here.

Talking to Mogapele before the game

The council team

During the game I had some great conversations with people and glad to hear about differing parenting styles, as well as things people are trying to do to give their kids a better life than they have had. I love conversations like this because I get a well rounded view of Botswana, not just seeing how the kids from the settlement are being raised, but also kids from different parts of the country.

After the game, we walked up to the shops and got a “hunger buster” which is a meat filled makwinya (deep fried ball of dough). They are so yummy, but not quite health food. I figure I will be running soon and hopefully can knock off some of the gut I have created, so what’s one last hurrah. This is the longest I have walked since the broken foot. I am still using one crutch because my foot is too weak to support me on my toes yet, but I am working on strengthening it and only use it for a little extra support so I am not limping. I will do more test walking tomorrow and hope to be completely crutch free by next week.

Funny thing…it just started raining. Our rains should be pretty much over by now, but everyone says weather has been odd for the last 10 years which is causing problems with agriculture.

Go siame! Tracy

1 comment:

  1. Just read your post. In a few weeks a teacher I had in 9th grade will be visiting Louisville and will stop by. I haven't seen him in 30 years! But Jim Campbell changed my life for the better. I'm sure you and Kabo are doing that, too.