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Just another day

Had a long day today. Woke up and went to Mafale Primary, my Key School. They had a Grade R (K) learner hit by a car and killed last Friday. I don’t know what is worse, that the child was killed or that I am not surprised. More people are die due to a road related accident than from AIDS in South Africa. Sometimes I think that we should work on traffic safety instead of HIV/AIDS. The Grade R girl was a Mafale student. Mafale and Mmatope Primary (Across the tar road) have been petitioning for speed humps. Kids are crossing the road multiple times a day and it is like a drag strip. I’m kind of surprised that it took this long for a student to be killed. The driver is a teacher from the village about 5k away. There are no signs that she attempted to stop. She came to a stop about 150m past the accident, then left the village to go to work before the police arrived, saying that she had to see to her children. I don’t know if she has been talked to yet. Rumors are that she doesn’t have a license and that her brakes didn’t work. I have a feeling that she was preoccupied with her cell phone or something else in the car, and not on the 5000 young children on and around the road. The funeral is on Saturday and we will definitely be there. It is sad and infuriating.

After about an hour at Mafale, I went to Brits, our shopping town to run some errands for Robi and the Atlegang Girls Club that she is running for Grade 6 girls at Mmatope Primary. (More about this in another post) Robi needed some craft supplies (beads and spacers and safety pins) for next week and since she is in Pretoria until Thursday night (see four paragraphs down), I needed to go. I also checked in with my friendly Vodacom shop since my phone is on its last legs. I can’t complain since the Vodacom shop owner gave it to me for free since he thinks that Robi and I are doing a great thing here.

On the Khombi ride home, it was more of the same. Wow! Rapula, your Tswana is so good. And then they continue to talk and I have no idea what they are saying. We switch to English and they say that next year I will be a professor of Tswana (I have to admit that was a new prediction).

Got off at Makopye More Middle School, my second school, to catch up with the Principal. He is pensioning ASAP, or as soon as permission is granted from the Department. I think that the Department is stalling with him since the Whole School Evaluation is next week and they don’t want a new acting principal using the excuse of “I’m new here”. Talked with him about future plans for him (which include possibly working at University) and possibly getting him involved in some of my projects.

After Makopye More and a bunch of conversation with him about culture clashes that I have encountered in South Africa, I went to the Youth Centre. There I talked with one volunteer about the garden project, another about helping out with the Atlegang Girls Club, and the rest just catching up. I also translated some of there names from Tswana to Spanish (FYI: Maphefo in Twsana is La Del Viento in Spanish). Then it was off home and the garden (see later).

Robi is in Pretoria for last night and tonight. Mmatope (her key school) is receiving about 1000 books from a PCV run program that got about 30,000 for 30 schools connected to PCVs across South Africa. We both went in at the end of last week to sort and organize the books for delivery to the school. The books were sent by Books for Africa. They seemed to take a liking to this project and helped us get some funding for customs and shipping. On top of that, about half of the books are brand new! It’s incredible! Robi and I came back on Monday, very stiff. She returned on Tuesday to help with loading the delivery trucks. Unfortunately, not all of the books have been picked up and she has been left in charge of getting the last of the books on the trucks, at least until tomorrow afternoon, when she gives up, leaves directions, and comes home.

I’ve been busy with Workshops and other random things. Let’s see. This is what I am involved in right now:
1. Computer Literacy Workshop for Principals and SMT that runs through the end of August. Need to finish writing the MS Publisher part of the workshop.
2. NCS workshops with the educators at Mafale Primary School – this is what I was supposed to do the entire time. Educators have blown me off in the past and still don’t seem that interested. We’ll see what happens next week.
3. Still working on making connections for my South African Teacher In Residence program that could bring a new Education graduate from University to the United States to have a year of teaching experience under the guidance of a seasoned veteran teacher. Right now, they get about 2 weeks teaching experience every year for 3 years in school. Alternatively, the student may fulfill their teaching requirement through community service, such as a homework club. I think being in the classroom is better. I am trying to link this with the KLM Foundation (www.klm-foundation.org) which was started by PCVs about 4 years ago.
4. Helping the village chief on a gardening project on about 4 acres of land just outside of town. He is striving for the village to be able to grow and eat its own veggies instead of traveling to town about an hour away.
5. Working with the Youth Centre on a Cultural Heritage Day at the end of September.
6. Books for Africa, this year, helping sort and organize a ton of books.
7. Books for Africa, next year. I think that is was such a success that I am going to run it next year. Rose, who organized it this year said that she doesn’t want to do it again, but will gladly help me.
8. Setting up a Sports League for the surrounding villages. The idea came from a volunteer at the youth centre, but I am helping him however I can.
9. Working with the International Book Project to get books for our schools. Only Mmatope got books through the Books For Africa project. So I am trying to get others.
10. I’m setting up the computer labs of Mafale and Mmatope. They have old donated computers from University of South Africa (UNISA) that need some TLC.
11. We are trying to get an NGO Peace Corps Volunteer to be placed in our village. There are about 7 NGOs that have been asking for help from us. A PCV that came with us is having trouble at her site and needs to more. Just need to convince Peace Corps through the red tape.

To relieve stress, I am planting a garden. It is next to the Cows. I have been weeding and planting as best I can. So far, we have planted onions (which take a while from seeds), have two carrots left over from last year (I wonder how they reproduce), beans (Pole and Bush Beans. Going to try Black beans soon), broccoli, lettuce (trying again this year after the no-show from last year), kohlrabi (whatever that is), alfalfa for nutrients, and transplanted about 20 Marigolds to around my garden and along the cow fence. I hope that it looks nice. Oh, and I am only using 1/3 of my garden area so far.

It has been good to hear from Friends far and wide. Especially Hollie, Marvin, Brian, and Rebs. Please continue to email and write. We miss you all very much.

Chau for now.


One Response

  1. Glad to see you guys are doing so well, if a bit busy. I emailed Robi a couple times but am wondering if her address isn’t working. Am definitely missing you two! We just returned back to DC after about one year away. The job wasn’t stellar so we spent more time vacationing and exploring Europe with a generous amount of the time spent in Spain. I was thinking of you two constantly there! We are now in the process of readjusting to DC living and in particular, relishing the thought of everyone speaking English. Ahhhh. All the best and keep the updates coming (in your spare time of course).

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