Friday, October 10, 2008

What's the haps? 10/10

We have had a great week here is South Africa. We've played with baby lions, met new friends, relaxed, and had our first rain fall. Yes, last night it rained one whole millimeter. It isn't enough rain to green things up around here, but it did settle the dust down, which is great. Today we also learned that a herd of rhino is supposed to be released in the Dinokeng Reserve next week. That means we will have to be a lot more cautious when walking outside of our fenced yard. Apparently rhinos will look around for an area they like and then settle in for the long haul. Wouldn't it be really cool and also really freaky if they picked a spot by our house? I think I'd rather know they were a safe distance away, close enough to drive over for a peek, but far enough away that I can still walk across the road without worrying about a rhino attacking.
We just got back from Tamboti. We ate French toast at home and then headed over to enjoy some dessert. As always, Darin had the Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding. I have been trying different things on the menu, but thanks to Liz and Jason, I discovered the wonders of Cape Malva Pudding. Yum. Something that makes the Cape Malva even more appealing to me is that the kids are not so very fond of it, so they end up eating most of Darin's dessert, leaving me to eat my fill. Darin just read that and hit me. He's over it now.
There are two words over here that people say that I just love. The first is “shame”, which you'd think means “what a pity”, but doesn't. For example, we ran into Pixie, Derricks wife, after having our dessert. We told her we had just given the kids baths and came for dessert and she said “shame”. Not sure why, but I like it. My other favorite is “clever”. Today, Mama Rebecca said Tyson was a clever boy because he got her the wipes, when she was going to just use toilet paper when changing Jori, a common practice here. It just sounds so sweet to call a child “clever”. Oh, there are a few more little phrases I like, such as “is it” which is like saying “really” and “just now”, which means “in a little bit” and “now now” or “right now”, which both mean what they say. So tuck all these words and phrases away in case you ever come to SA.
There is one place those phrases will totally not come in handy and that would be at Mama Catherine's. Darin and I went today and Mama Catherine was there when we arrived. I asked her how I could be most helpful, and she said to keep the little kids busy. Then she told the kids to go to their “classroom” and then left me there to teach them. The only problem was that not one child in the room spoke English. When you ask “what is your name” the most common reply is “I am fine”. For the first few minutes, I just stood in front of the chalkboard doing nothing but smiling a kind of forced smile. I mean, I had NO CLUE what these kids could even do, or what they knew. So then I had them all count to 10, and they did it with huge grins on their faces. So I decided to try the ABC's. Again, huge grins all around, but there were less participants and many letters were skipped over. So I thought, why not work on the letter 'A' and have them each write it on their paper. Again, the language barrier proved to be a problem as I couldn't find anything for them to write with and no one understood what I was asking for. So I was pantomiming “writing” on a piece of paper, which was met with blank stares. Then Grace, the teenage girl I wrote about before, walked in and saved the day. She found the crayons. So I had the kids write the 'A'. Most of them did that and way more. I had one kid write the numbers 1-5. I was starting to feel really out of place and then I was saved again, this time by a young man who said he was the teacher for the class. However, he wanted me to keep teaching them, saying they could probably learn more from me than him. Sorry, dude, but I have accomplished nothing in the 15 minutes I've been in here. So I gave him back his class and went to help Darin. I ended up really helping him today, amazing, I know. I stacked two whole rows of blocks on the shower. Correctly. We had to stop sooner than Darin had planned because we ran out of blocks. Must have been the unexpected boost in work effort that I provided. So next week we will go back again and hopefully get the shower finished.
We have no big plans for the weekend. We do need to head out to, where else, but Pick 'N' Pay to stock up on some essentials. I'm guessing we'll hit up McDonald's again too, but maybe we'll decide to go back to our first internet hang out, Mugg and Bean. We'll see.


Amy Eld said...

I was 'reintroduced' to the word clever in hungary....what a great word that we underuse. :)

I could totally relate to your experience 'teaching'...I felt that way with some of my hungarian students. except that they did know a few choice words via eminem.

hooray for tyson and his mastery of cat!

take care. love, amy

Anonymous said...

you are totally going to become a famous writer someday, I think! it is great fun to read about life in SA...but we miss you here in MI. Love you, Sarah