I visited a volunteer couple over the weekend. I get along with them quite well and it was certainly entertaining and worthwhile. It reminded me that I visited them during integration and wrote a post about it but never posted it. So here it is now.
I visited some fellow volunteers this past week and it was full of interest and relaxation. I got to see that despite their site being more developed it still faced a lot of the same problems I have faced. I also got to see that in some ways I have it pretty nice out in my village.
In particular, the volunteers there have had problems in one of their schools with corporal punishment. During my visit it had gotten to the point where they decided that they would give their stance on disciplinary practices and that if they were willing to change they would help otherwise they could be better spent elsewhere.
The actual presentation, which normally gets titled a workshop, was well done focusing on the major points. It is wrong and damaging to use corporal punishment not to mention illegal. They cited research and related that the 3 volunteers in the room were products of a school system without corporal punishment again giving personal, although anecdotal, evidence to the cause. They even gave several examples of alternatives although stopping corporal punishment is one task, effective discipline is an entire other topic. I was even hoping they would strike a chord with the claim that corporal punishment was used as a tool of Bantu education to produce unthinking, unquestioning citizens to the authority. In the face of all that there were some who openly mocked and scoffed the idea of not using physical force against their learners. In their view it was their right and it has worked in the past for them.
It was hard to accept. I will acknowledge that many good people came out of that system but it crippled, and is still crippling, many more. Even more upsetting to me, was not being open to the possibility of being wrong. It is possible, and even likely, that it was the only way they, the teachers, know to keep learners from misbehaving. It was the unwillingness to try something new or at least test what anybody else had to say. After witnessing the reaction and general response from the faculty I can see how my fellow volunteers think that their time is better spent at a school where they would at least try a suggestion before flat out denying its usefulness.
Beyond that, there was also the general lack of respect given to the volunteers. The meeting was delayed, there were other events scheduled where the volunteers were not aware of and requested to have open time. These sorts of things I have come to face but I am glad that my schools are open to having me help and possibly changing and that I don't have to fight against corporal punishment.
On a lighter note. I got to stay over at their home and thus had an excellent time eating all their well prepared meals. They like to cook and I like eating so I think this relationship can only become stronger. It is always nice to spend time with people who are going through a similar ordeal even if you don't talk about it.
It has continued to rain ever evening so the frogs are ever present. From the sounds of it now their numbers are gathering, mostly likely for a hostile takeover. Thankfully someone did the grunt work of finding out what I was up against here, it turns out they are:
African bullfrogs, or "Pixie" frogs. They dig holes, crawl in them, and make a watertight cocoon that they stay in until the rainy season, when they come out to mate. Apparently they are also very aggressive, and have big sharp teeth that they sometimes use on humans.Until I figure out a solid strategy I will try my best not to upset them.