The Good, the Bad, and the Cold

I wanted to give an update about what’s been going on at my site. First of all, it is cold. It is currently seven degrees Celsius (about 45 Fahrenheit, but seven’s a lot more dramatic) with ridiculous amounts of wind. Keep in mind that there isn’t proper insulation here like there is in the states, sometimes we might as well be sleeping outside. August and September are the windiest months of the year, as if the other ten weren’t bad enough. It’s actually snowing in northern parts of the country right now; I promise I’m not making that up.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and it’s the last day of the school week. Thursday is Women’s Day, a public holiday that gives us a four-day weekend. (Side note: While having a day to honor women is commendable, women’s day should be everyday. That’s all.) Tomorrow at school we’ll be having a program to commemorate, in which kids will perform poems and dance routines; it should be a nice day.

Even though this was only a three-day week, it felt like one of the longest. I’m not sure where this is coming from, but the behavior of some of the boys has deteriorated so much that the school is on the verge of chaos. While fighting and talking during lessons are to be expected, the violence and outright disrespect have made my principal seriously consider suspensions.

Today, I had to attend two meetings with parents because of events that happened during my classes. During one class, a few boys had missed lunch, so to protest they ran outside and began throwing rocks at our classroom and the roof. During another class, on a different day, two boys began fighting so violently that one suddenly took out scissors and threatened to kill the other.

During the first meeting, the boys were told to apologize to me, since I was the teacher interrupted. When one boy did not apologize well enough for his aunt, she began to beat him so violently that he and I both had to hold back tears. I happened to be standing in the middle of them, and couldn’t bring myself to move out of both shock and defiance, so my principal finally had to tug me away. I was initially happy to see family attend meetings and get involved in their children’s education, but if that’s their reaction, maybe it’s better if they don’t. If that happened back home all adults in the room would be on the phone with the police in a heartbeat. I suppose in some parts of my village the phrase “violence begets violence” hasn’t really hit home (no pun intended).

After that meeting, needless to say I was shaken. It was time for Math, though, so I pulled myself together and starting talking budgets. Suddenly I saw something flying in the classroom and I screamed like a child because the kids were saying it was a bat. It was just a bird. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and the kids got a huge kick out of the silly girl in the front of the room. At least Africa provided some comic relief for the day.

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