Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26

Yesterday, Thursday June 26, was so much fun! I woke up and got ready for school around 6:21am. Then I hopped into Mr. Cosa's bus and ate my banana for breakfast. Mr. Cosa dropped us off at Munali like every morning. The group splits up after tea time at Munali. One half works with the morning high school class and another group works with the afternoon class at the high school. Since there is not a lot of space, the school is broken up into two shifts. Some students come in the morning and the rest come in the afternoon. Whatever group doesn't work with the high school students works with the Birdland kids at the elementary school. Usually I work with the high school students at Munali first in the morning but Wednesday and Thursday I worked at Birdland (the primary school) in the morning. After we had tea and crackers in the Munali Girls' Lab, we walked down to Birdland. The walk there is about ten minutes and we always see children in different uniforms than the Munali and Birdland students. Sometimes some of the kids only know, "how are you," "im fine," and "i love you" in English. There have been a number of times that I have said, "Hi!" and they will respond, "Im fine!" Its really cute. One kid shouted out, "I love you!" to us. The other day one girl walked up to me when I was on my way to the bathroom and asked me if she could be my daughter. I did not know how to respond. I told her, "I am too young for kids now."

Once we got down to Birdland we walked into the new building that Mrs. Olive Mumba bought. Let me remind you that new to us is not always what new means to some Zambians. The building looks old and the floors are concrete, cold and dirty. The bathroom does not have a
place to put the toilet paper so its sitting in the unused sink. There are a lot of buckets sitting in there and it just looks distasteful. Right across from the bathroom is the computer lab. The labs has a steel gate and two locks. At the Munali Boys' computer lab, a couple months before we arrived in Africa, some one climbed into the ceiling and crawled over the gate door into the computer storage room and stole fifteen laptops so now they keep the new ones at the Girls' Lab. (There is a Munali Girls' school and a Munali Boys' School)... moving on, once the first group of third graders came in, we introduced ourselves, split up the room so there was about three students to one SAAS student. The third graders were really good with using the touch pad and they understood the idea of moving the cursor to a link and clicking it when they want to see what that link presents. They love when I show them where to go for games. The games are actually pretty fun. Sometimes I will ask them what is their favorite subject and they will say, "maths," and no that is no spelling error, they say Math with an "s." The students are really silent and well behaved. In class, the kids seem really reserved so it is exciting to see them
play games and react to loosing or winning. After teaching about four thirty-minute classes, we went to the main Birdland building and had a snack that one the teachers prepared for us.

We were all very appreciative because food is not a right here in Zambia, or anywhere for that matter. We had white bread, butter and yummy tea. I have consistently drank about three cups of that particular tea everyday now because the tea is given to us at Munali, Birdland, and Pioneer Camp. Then once we were done with tea, we were given the opportunity to teach some kids in the different classrooms. I got to teach some ADORABLE little kids. Sometimes I would ask them questions but they wouldn’t respond. They just starred at me. I was not sure what to do. They were the pre-grade children from 3-5years. I would ask the teacher desperately for suggestions because I did not know I would be teaching. I thought I was going to watch her teach. The teacher was super sweet. She told me to sing a song to them and I tried to sing BINGO but I forgot the lyrics half way through the song. I tried to tell them the story of snow white but I totally butchered it. I was just glad that no one who knows the real story was there to hear me. I accidently left out the seven dwarfs completely! They are one of the most important parts of the story. The teacher asked one of the kids to sing a song for me. HE WAS SO CUTE! I loved them. Finally I got them to sing the itsy bitsy spider with me. They already knew that song. I just helped them with the hand motions and a lot of the kids picked it up quickly. I kept running out of things to do with the kids and I would look at the teacher and ask her what to do. She told me to, “just pretend like you are a Zambian teacher.” That didn’t help much. Then she handed me a book to read to the kids. It was called, Head, Arms, Legs. They kind of got restless and the teacher threatened not allowing them to eat their snacks. She would say, “Do you guys want your snacks?” and they responded, “YEA,” then she said, “Well be quiet.” Then I FINALLY found a game that worked for us. I used the teacher’s piece of chalk and started to draw an apple on the board and asked, “What is this?” They shouted back, “AN APPLE!” Then I kept drawing different pictures. I was so happy to see them be so engaged and excited. After about twenty minutes of Pictionary, I asked the teacher to take a picture of me with the kids and she said yes. However, she had never used a camera before so I gave a quick demo. It was cute to see her confused expression when pushing the button. Then I started taking pictures of the kids and they would push each other to get into the picture. The teacher settled them down. Every time the camera flashed all the kids would giggle. They warmed my heart. Next we went outside to join all the other kids. The teacher wanted to take more pictures of us so I sat on the ground and almost all of them tried to sit on my lap. God they were cute. I retrieved my camera and started walking. Tons of kids came running up to me to shake my hand and hug me. They are all so cute.

I heard some yelling to my left and looked over my shoulder to find Matt being attacked by a small mob of charming kids. I asked him if he wanted me to save his glasses and he shrieked yes so I grabbed them for him. Lol. I probably should have asked if he wanted me to get the kids off. After hanging out with the kids for about 10 minutes, my group gathered in the back of the school to go through the kitchen door to get some lunch that was prepared by the teachers. I felt pretty bad though eating knowing that a number of the kids out there do not usually get lunch because of neglect and sometimes just because lack of money. Luckily Ms. Olive Mumba had the idea of using some of the funds we gave for Birdland to prepare a chicken dinner for the kids. That made all of us SAAS people happy. After lunch, Sophie, Matt, Cody, Miranda and I walked up to Munali to teach the afternoon class. I love teaching the morning class because I made some cool friends there but I also like teaching at the afternoon class because I get to work with a student named Michael who is deaf. When I work with Michael, Emmanuel sits near us to help me communicate with Michael. I have strengthened my signing skills SO MUCH this trip. Emmanuel is Deaf and is the Pastor for the Deaf Church in Zambia and today he taught me how to pray in Sign. He is also the teacher for the Deaf school at Munali. Back to yesterday. Michael is such a great kid and I like how patient he is with me. I now know how to sign: fast, slow, next, slide, go, sad, happy, want, try, dance, understand, hairy, Amen, Jesus, Christ, mother, father, how are you, email, sent, pray, father (Like God), name, I, it, is this, what, choose, your, how do you sign…, I’m fine, help, cousin, aunt, please, sorry and a lot of other words. I am pretty ok at signing the alphabet. Emanuel gave me my sign name too. You put up the sign letter for “S” and then you pat the left part of your chest with the “S” and then the right side. The “S” is a fist but with the thumb crossed over touching your middle finger while your hand is in a fist. I loved working with Michael and I was proud of our communication. However, sometimes I would just have to write to him what I need to say because sometimes I did not know how to sign what I wanted to say. I had a good day at Munali.

After class I walked outside and saw this teacher that a few of us think is cute. Whenever he sees us he calls out my name and has conversations with me. One time my friend thought he was trying to get her attention but he wanted mine. He showed me where he lives. Don’t worry mom, it was pointing distance from the school. The teachers stay around the campus. Anyways the first day we were at Munali a girl took me to his class and I sat in to watch. I even asked a question after listening for a while and sitting with the girls. I could tell he was happy to see me engaged in his lesson. One day he shared with me that sometimes its best to just tell the girl students that he has a wife and children to make sure that the girls do not even think of trying to get with him. What he said made since to me. He shared with me that he does not have a wife or kids but the girls think he does. I liked his teaching style too. He tried to make sure to give an unbiased opinion on the religions he taught about and when a girl asked him if the Hindu religion was the right religion, he responded, “Well we can learn a lot each religion. We can take something from each sect. You have to respect everyone’s beliefs.” That was really important for me to hear because I was not sure if the teachers gave biased information since there is not a lot of diversity in Zambia in the first place when it comes to religion and nationality. After chatting with the teacher, Mr. Cosa picked us up at Munali and drove us all the way to the house where we all changed into really warm clothes. Lucy and I traded gloves while Cheray grabbed a few blankets. We were all getting ready for our cool trip to a hill down the road. Paul, the cool owner of Pioneer, was taking us to look at the stars. Earlier that day, while we were at school, he bought steaks and the special ingredients for s’mores (I had to explain to him what they were so he would know exactly what to get).

Once we all got our blankets, scarves, gloves, and flashlights we packed into three SUVs. However the one I was in did not start so Sophie and I got in the truck with Peter. Sophie had to sit on my lap but it was all good. I was a bit worried because Peter was used to driving a stick shift but not with the stick on the left hand side…. The roads are switched around so we drive on the left. [When Melinda, Peter, Sophie, Miranda and I left the grocery store, we decided to use a taxi. All four girls squeezed into the back seat and Peter was going to sit in the front with the driver. Peter opened the door to sit in the passenger seat to find that he was actually in the driver seat. Lol. We all laughed as he hurried over to the other side of car.] However, Peter drove perfectly. We drove to the site and the sky looked beautiful. Peter cooked the steaks and the Nshima, cabbage, and tomato relish (they call relish anything that is like a side dish that can be eaten with Nshima) was already cooked. While the steak was being cooked, Lucy, Cheray, Margot, Cody, Sophie and I picked a bunch of hay. Then we moved the rocks away from this area by the camp fire, put down the hay, laid down a blanket, and all sat down and cuddled up for warmth. Once the food was ready we sat up and “GRUBBED,” (in other words, we ate and enjoyed what we ate). Then we began making s’mores. I showed everyone my SPECIAL way to make s’mores. I had the perfect stick to place the chocolate on the stick without it falling off too easily. Once I roasted the marshmallows using the ambers, I warmed up the chocolate and finished the sandwich with the crackers (the crackers were the same ones we ate during tea time at Munali). I made one for Paul and Katrin. Sophie only wanted a bite. Everyone loved the melted chocolate! Good times… Then we all huddled up on the blanket and starred at the sky. I love the group I am with! Thursday was a wonderful day!


Fenella said...

What a wonderfully detailed report! It's great to have the names of other people so we know what they're doing too. Thanks Sydney!

Theryl said...

I like the story Syd!!! Especially the comment you made to your Mom..Have fun. Love Ya!!