The day started with a little knock on the window at 6.50 am with Robert needing some money for his building. OK, so we were awake but just not up! So, that was the start of the day. Breakfast continues to be an important part of our lives and so we had breakfast and before it was complete there were visitors at the gate. A young pregnant girl who had come seeking help last week when her place had been ransacked and she had lost everything. She went off with some good old posho, beans and onions. What more could she want? Ron left to get the work happening at the village on the floors of the rooms and then while preparing to head off to school another visitor. This time it was Elizabeth with good news. She has been haunted by family who want to get the land that is rightfully hers but entitlements are a bit different to Australia. So, witchcraft, threats etc were all being used. Instead of having to sell though the community has surrounded her and said we do not want her to leave and ‘chased’ the family away. Good news!
Off to school, on the way discover that a student from another school was unable to do their S4 exams as his money had been ‘eaten’ by the director of the school. I do not understand. Later I find that this happened to about 15 students and from what I gather they will have do the year again but won’t have to pay fees! Such consolation, what about if they were going to earn money next year etc, etc. Rights, what are they?
So now for school… Exams are in full swing, I am met by the S4 students at the gate who rated the exam the previous day fair – which basically means bad. So, I prayed with them for the day’s exams. Then, class cannot be in the usual classroom because that is the exam centre. The new classrooms however did manage to get a roof on during the weekend despite the setbacks due to rain. Well, it was quite funny. I thought of all the occupational health and safety people I know as I clambered over rocks, small building materials and then ‘climbed’ the large step into the classroom. Unfortunately, there has not been time to concrete the floor so it is sticky mud with a bit of grass growing. The board is plastered cement which does not quite work the same as a blackboard. Oh well, no problem on with the lesson. I again discovered the difficulty of teaching distance-time graphs to students who never travel in vehicles where they have access to speedometers. In fact, most of them only walk or catch the occasional boda. Basically, the difference between 5 km/h and 50 km/h is only theoretical. We did talk about local taxis and how they stop and start and what that looks like on a graph. “But, madam, what is the formula?”
On with the day, a huge pile of books to mark, too many to bring home so I stay at school to mark. Interestingly, I am only really at school while marking or teaching – such a different lifestyle, I prepare at home and go in to teach. During the marking process I need to go and check the students going into the examination. Lady teacher needed to check the girls. I soon found out why, I was told “Not just their pockets, check their breasts, they might have a paper stuck in there.” Not a great feeling doing something like that for the first time! Oh, the experiences I have here in Africa.
Home for a late lunch, Lucy’s frittata was a lot more appealing than posho and beans! However, I had told Lucy I would help her learn to make biscuits so I had to find a recipe to go with the new biscuit forcer that I happened upon on Saturday. Lunch hardly swallowed, trying to help Lucy and Robert dropped in with some things to discuss for the village. Well, Lucy made great biscuits and hopefully the discussion was fruitful. In the midst of this as well, we were having rissoles for dinner. I needed to show Lucy how to prepare these, though I would cook them later. I realised it would also be helpful to introduce her to a hamburger. She had no idea what I was talking about but we quickly managed to put one together for Ron and so now she knows yet another main food type!
Then, after finishing things off we went off to the village. Sandal type shoes purchased the previous day needed to be handed out. Oh, some happy children and then others wanting ones even if theirs were all right. Yes, a normal family just on a bigger scale. While at the village there were plenty of things to deal with as per usual. Workers had been putting the finishing touches to the floors in the new houses in preparation for the new children to come in. Hence, we needed to wait for them to be ready as here transport home from work is part of the expectation. They are fun blokes and so into the car we piled - four large men in the back (this is only a Rav4), one in the boot. We arrived home to be greeted by a guy who we have helped with some medical expenses but have told that the help given is enough. He had obviously been drinking so help was definitely out of the question. Ron 'dealt' with him while I ran inside to get something for one of the workmen. Ron left and then I saw a hand coming through the gate to open it! I yelled out something about having helped enough, and then heard a response, it was Nicholaus - oops. However, the man was still there and I did tell him to leave.
Dinner on and waiting for Ron, he was not long. Then, just about ready to serve and a phone call from Judith could they drop in and see us. Yes, of course. So, delay dinner thinking they would be here in a couple of minutes. They took a little longer and just as I decide that hunger is getting the better of me and put the dinner back on they arrive. Of course their visit was very pleasant. Then, finally a late dinner.
Probably heaps more stories I could add about the day but as you can tell. There is usually things to laugh about, things to cry about, things to pray lots about and always things to do.