Today's post is just a short update of some of the highlights from last week. I still haven't determined if there will be any routine to my posting yet so for now you all will just have to deal with randomness. All us SA20er's have now passed one month at site now, things are moving pretty quickly.
Burglar bars were installed on my door and windows last week. It is less of a necessarily and more of a precaution. Since my roof is about 8 feet up and made of easily pierced iron, I am sure I could be robbed if someone was willing. Nevertheless, burglar bars are a common site in villages and towns, somewhat of a national identity. I wouldn't say they are appealing but if you see enough of them you start to see the merits of certain bars over others. The craftsmanship shines through when you see the standard vertical bars compared to diagonals. Why not have security and art?
The process took far longer than I had imagined. I watched as three workers spent about 6 hours installing them. To their credit the bars seem firmly in place and level but somehow I don't think it should have taken that many man hours. The shortcuts they took just were frightening. Everyone came out alive but certainly there is going to be some long term retina damage from the lack of eye protection from the intensely bright welding torch.
I have been trying to get this girl to count but I am sure now she is actively trying not to learn. I am quite sure I have made the rewards clear for just counting to 10 but I think it bothers her that I simply won't give her the candy. It has become a battle of wills. She has no idea the level of stubbornness we Prescotts are instilled with, so she is gonna break.
She gets to 5 then 6 then 9 then 6 then 10. At this point it is physically hurting me. Every time she gets to 5 I think she is going to make it 10 but no. Things fall apart at that time. She'll get it once her desire for chocolate becomes too much to handle.
Board Games Club
I had a sign up in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade for a board games club in one of my schools. Normally this would attracted the 3 or 4 nerds in the school and we would happily proceed into a world of geekdom playing chess and backgammon. In actuality, almost every single learner signed up to play. It is probably a combination of not knowing exactly what I said as I was explaining the club and also having no idea what chess and backgammon are.
The enthusiasm is invigorating though. Teaching chess to 90 elementary school kids may be almost impossible but we will see how it goes. I am quite sure after the first meeting the numbers will shrink a bit but I will just have to wait and see. First things first, I found a chess game that can be printed out and laminated for a quick fix. I think it will suit my needs. Now I just need to make about 40 of them.
The Ants vs. The Baby Goats vs. Noah
There have been a few baby goats born in the past 2 weeks. Last week it rained quite a bit. When it rains the ants go insane. When the ants cover the ground in fury they also attack anything that happens to touch the ground. Baby goats touch the ground. Baby goats are completely defenseless (like most babies) so the just get bitten and exhausted to death by the ants.
Reacting to this fact Ohm-ah put the baby goats in the room adjacent to mine (my living situation is a small structure with two unconnected rooms a few meter from the house). What Ohm-ah didn't consider though was that when Noah hears 3 goat mothers and 4 goat babies bleating to each for hours each morning for consecutive days he goes insane. When Noah goes insane he considers covering the goats in honey and throwing them to the ants. Luckily the goats have grown enough now that they can get the ants off and the rain has held off for a few days. Killing all the family goats really would have driven a wedge into our budding relationship.
I Do Some Science
I taught along with the 6th grade science teacher at one of my schools. It wasn't a complete disaster but sure could have gone better. It was kinds of sloppy and thrown together but the teacher kept delaying making any plans for the lesson until right before hand.
It was a lab experiment and a sort of boring one at that but I think any activity was welcomed by the kids. On the other hand perhaps it was for the better. I had not completely held everyone's hand through the lab so I saw how much they can handle on their own. They managed not to completely make a mess of things without being forewarned and continually warned so in the future I know how much responsibility I can expect from them. Hopefully next time I can set something on fire or blow something up. Then they will really like science.
I got a package from me ma and pa. Man did that just make my day. I am not even sure what I did before I got the package, my world was anew once I got it. There was a brief moment of panic when I almost didn't get it because I had to pay a customs fee that I didn't have enough for. Luckily a kind post office worker loaned me money until my next visit into town. The kindness of strangers is universal. I don't know how I would have handled having to travel back to my village and come the following week.
The package was filled with a lot of food left over from hiking the Appalachian trail (packed with lovely preservatives), magazines, and things for the learners such as stickers and pencils etc. I sat down and read a 3 month old copy of national geographic and ate 5 packages of jalapeno easy cheese. It was first class.
As I mentioned with teaching S how to count, my method is positive reinforcement (aka bribing) them to learn. "You got an A on your test? Here is a sparkly pencil. You actually did your homework? Have a butterfly sticker." That's not wrong, I don't think. Appreciating knowledge for long term benefits or even for its own sake is preferred but that has to come gradually and with much contemplation. First they just need to know how to read and write.
Last night I was called from my room with urgency from Ohm-ah, "Itumeleng come quick! Come out side now!" Somewhat worrying, so I got out as fast as I could. The whole family was out with eyes directed to the sky. There was a satellite making its way across the sky at a decent clip. This is cool enough in its own right and with the sky the way it is here, it was enough to grab anyone's attention. The especially spectacular part and reason I was called out was that there were large concentric circles around the satellite as it moved through the sky.
I have seen large circles glowing around the moon on nights when it is clear and cold and with just enough moisture in the atmosphere. I had never seen this phenomenon before and I am not even sure it is caused by the same circumstances that cause the circle around the moon. I got chills and if I wasn't the type of person to look for plausible explanations I would think it was UFO or supernatural (gasp). Unfortunately I wasn't and still am not able to explain what caused the satellite to look like it was in the center of three massive bubbles. Can anybody give me more on this? If not, I fear my first test as a voice of science in the community will fail.