I am *so, so* tired!

Oh boy! It’s been a long while since I’ve spent the majority of the day with a bunch of grade 7 and 8 students. Where do they get the energy? I am going to sleep well tonight, no matter if the roof falls in.

Mandla was absolutely wonderful with the kids, explaining food chains and why the sand forest was important and all sorts of other things that they hadn’t really grasped properly. We spent an hour and a half at the hide, and the kids were fascinated by the elephants and various birds and antelope that they saw. Then we went to the picnic area and started our fire and he gave more instruction while the fire burned down.

Then, since MT clued me in to asking what the Zulu name was that the kids would have been calling me, I told them no food until someone ‘fessed up. They steadfastly maintained that they had always called me Makhokho as I had asked them to, since Marilyn is practically unpronouncable for a Zulu. It seems to be the sequence of the consonants that gives them trouble.

Now, I don’t believe that for a minute. Have you ever known a class of kids that age that didn’t have an apt and rather rude name for every teacher? But they were obviously so uncomfortable about the subject (makes me suspect the name must have been an especially good one) that Mandla relented and asked them to pick one for me then. They decided on Gugu – pronounced more like Koko – which means Precious. That’s really heartwarming, and didn’t *seem* to be tongue-in-cheek, but my kids might say that they had slightly misread my personality <G>

Anyway, we ate boerevers on buns, had juice and cookies, and every tummy was full. The kids sang my favourite Zulu gospel song for me – Siyahamba – and they were so good it made the hair stand up on my arms! Then they sang another song I wasn’t familiar with, but it was wonderful too. More video you’ll have to wait for.

We came home by the long route, and I finally got a picture of a kudu, though a small one, and a crested hornbill, which I’ve been trying to do since I got here. Both of those just take off before I get close enough usually. So it was a good day that way.

While we were at the hide, 3 of the 7 bull elephants there decided to show of their masculine charms, if you know what I mean. The girls were in stitches, and the boys adopted very disapproving faces about the girls’ behaviour. It was just hilarious.

Also, I had picked out one of the papers as being so much better than the others, that I decided to award a special prize to that student. I had a couple of small gel pens with brightly coloured ink to give away. As I haven’t memorized anyone’s name – I have enough trouble pronouncing most of them so that they know who I’m talking to, and there’s 8 grades of that – I wasn’t sure which student it would be that matched the name. I was really pleased when it turned out to be one of the older returning students. As I remember, she’s 20 and just come back to school after dropping out some years ago.

Tomorrow is the big party at the school. I’m taking the music, and the teacher is bringing his DVD player and the principal is going to get some petrol for the generator, so it should be loud and lovely – but I’d better get some sleep tonight <G>

Sweet dreams everyone.

Some of my kids at the hide watching elephants

The rest of the kids . . .

Blue wildebeeste at the waterhole

Demonstrations of food chains and food webs

Crested hornbill - looks like the mynah’s cousin, eh?

Impala ‘hiding’

Little kudu with the stoplight ears


1 Comment »

  1. MT said

    Hello, Precious!

    Quick note here. Weather too great to be at the keyboard. Glad you had such a super day with the kids. Sounds like the instructor did a fantastic job clueing them in as to what ‘conservation’ really is. Wish I could have come along as a supervisor for the day, also for the wors roll. (Ever had boerewors-flavoured Simba potato chips? An acquired taste – NOT for your average N. American) Sometimes have a hankering for a classroom fix, but never for the daily grind (33 years of 11-year-olds was fulfilling, but retirement is even better. You asked once how I keep busy. Don’t really know – but there never is enough time in the day to do everything I want. Had two small jobs totally unrelated to teaching the first couple of years of retirement, but got over the need to ‘DO something’ every day.)

    Looked up Gugu in my primitive little Zulu dictionary and here is the entry: -gugu (n) (igugu, amagugu) – prized object. How does that make you feel? Special, I hope. Of course, the entry before it is guga (v) – to grow old, and the one after it is gula (v) – to be ill. But I’m SURE they picked the right one!!!

    Looking forward to the report on the party. Hope you had no technical glitches with the music or camera. Enjoy your last few days in Bundu Paradise.

    Thulile – The Quiet One (name came because I was always reading books and studying for U. courses.)

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