(Written Wed Feb 1st)
Today when I got to school, I was headed to the staffroom when a teacher told me there was a meeting happening NOW (now now, fyi) in the admin staffroom. So I head over to there right as the meeting starts, of course during time when teachers should be in class. Sigh. We talk (in English, then ka Setswana) about making sure teachers are in classes at the right times-I restrained myself from shouting out “Why are we here then?! It’s CLASS TIME!” as it would not be good to embarrass the principal in front of everyone.
Then begins the Setswana talk, and I zone out. At one point they are talking about me, but I don’t pay attention as I am zoned out. Then the meeting ends and I get a teacher to explain that today is Sports Day, so they will be doing races all day rather than classes. The sporting competitions between area schools is on Friday, so they have to have school competitions to determine who will move on.
I then get into an argument will ALL the Intermediate Phase teachers about actually speaking English in class, which resulted in 5 teachers and me more or less yelling at each other in the staffroom. That’s for another blog post.
Most of my day was spent in the direct African sun in the middle of a soccer field watching kids run and not doing anything because I don’t speak Setswana well enough, and the kids don’t speak English. The wind was too strong in the morning to use the umbrella someone lent me, and at noon the owner took it back and used it, sometimes half covering me in its shade. Eventually some clouds rolled in, which was glorious.
So, Sports Day was interesting for an American. All the kids are dressed in their sports clothes, which means they are old clothes that are torn or too small. It was a little sad, but they didn’t seem to mind. Hardly anyone wore shoes to run, even though the sun-baked ground was hard and full of pokey things. My feet are way too sensitive for SA.
The kids were grouped into 3 groups, the Tigers, Zebras, and Springboks, which they had been training with the past few weeks.
The kids who weren’t currently racing were with their group, cheering, dancing, and singing. It was insane! Rather than lose momentum as the day wore on, the kids got more excited and did crazier songs and dances. When a teammate won, they would run over and hoist them up on their shoulders.
I was impressed. These kids had a BLAST!
We were out until nearly 2pm, I think. Thankfully, the clouds took over soon after 12pm, so the heat wasn’t too oppressive then. Right when they were getting ready to announce the winning school team, the clouds burst open! Rain here is usually fast and furious, and today was no exception.
One teacher tried to share and umbrella with me, but I gave up and walked fast until we got to some tall bushes that provided some cover. After a few minutes the rain subsided, and we headed back to school, dripping wet and feeling the humidity kick in.