I wish there were two of me . . .

There is so much to do here, as far as work to get done.

I taught at the school this morning. The combined Grade 1 and 2s learned “Head and Shoulders” and then “Eensy-weensy spider”. Half the Grade 3s read me the books that I had given them to take home and learn on the weekend. Then it was lunch and sports’ day again, as it will be all week.

I was off this afternoon to begin teaching the scholarship employees some computer programs so that they won’t start their college year too far behind the others in their classes. The woman I was working with today is the oldest of the bunch – 28 I think – and I was warned that she was terrified of the whole process.

She seemed to be – she held her hands together for much of my explanations to stop them from shaking. I got her on the computer and guided her to start writing a letter and a story on Word, and I could see that despite her fear she was absolutely determined to do it. It was so heartening. She, like most here has an incredible memory – I think maybe belonging to a group with a still active oral history tradition might account for that – and you could see her eyes light up when she overcame her fear of ‘clicking’ and something – the right thing – actually happened.

The young fellow that I ‘snagged’ with the jobs class last week walked with me all the way back to the camp gate today, talking (in English) the whole way. He still wants to be a doctor or a soccer star (what Gr 8 boy doesn’t??) but seems to understand that those may not be possible so is seriously looking for something interesting and possible.

I’ll tell you, overall it was a day when I understand why people stay in the teaching field despite its problems. What a wonderful lift it gives your heart when you see the eyes sparkle and the ideas start coming – Wow!!

You may have seen in the news the more northern African problem with the ‘witch doctors’ telling men with AIDS that they would be cured if they had sex with a virgin infant. That unspeakable practice has reached this area. I’m quite sick about some of what I’m hearing. If I didn’t think that education was a necessity before, then these news reports would surely have changed that.

On a more cheerful note, I had lamb, giraffe and lentil stew with rice for supper, cooked by our new co-ordinator Oscar. Pretty good grub!

And seriously, the only social events that happen in these parts are braais and Bible study meetings. And since I can’t get to the Bible studies, since they’re all ‘outside’, and we can’t go out if we’re not going to be back by 6 p.m. when they lock the gates, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading.

Would be nice to get out and meet more locals, but doesn’t seem as if it’s going to happen. Oh, well, just more time for the lesson planning.

Made the mistake of putting on a heavy moisturizer this morning. By the time I was done my first ride in an open jeep in this dust, I felt as if I had a clay mask on. And realistically speaking, I probably did. Had to use a chisel when I got to wash my face tonight. Won’t do that again!!

Tall guys

At the waterhole



  1. Brian said

    One thing I’ve done when introducing people to the computer, to overcome their fear of pushing the wrong button, is start by smooshing my hands with complete abandon all over the keyboard, to show them that no matter how alarming it may look on the screen, they haven’t “broken” anything, and they can probably salvage whatever they were working on.

    * * * *
    Great idea!! Fanisile was so terrrified she was just gripping her hands together and sweating. And today one of the teachers at the school asked me what ‘computer fear’ was since she had to write an essay about how to deal with it in students, so we talked about that. I’ll pass your hint on to her, too.

  2. RBC said

    I remember the very early Macs came installed with a “game” that introduced uers to clicking, the mouse, etc. It had you move the mouse around and click on items on the desk like a stapler that, when clicked correctly, proudced the sound of a stapler. Or the clock that moved its hands when you moved the the hour hand. Long forgotten now that we assume everyone knows computers!

    While I’m sure playing Solitare would be totally foreign to them, it helps moving the mouse and clicking, etc in a lighter atmosphere. I’d say an easy computer game but you may not have means to download one or install. Not sure of the name on PC but there was a Mac one called “Brickles” where you tried to click have the ball bounce against a brick wall to make them disappear and gain access to next row. Or if there is a tic-tac-toe game or hang man.

    It’s what I used to introduce the comuter and ease the FEAR (TERROR) in the colleagues I had to train when computers were introduced at the office, what seems ages ago.

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