Sorry again for not posting in ages! (I’m starting to see a pattern in the way I start my blog posts!) Christmas and New Year were actually pretty quiet for me since Nama Simba was closed for a couple of weeks and most of the Samaritan’s kids went to stay with relatives for the Christmas period. Since then a few of them have actually gone back to stay for good. It’s definitely in their best interest to be with their families as long as it’s safe and they’re happy to be there, but I have to say I was sad to see them go. In the past week or so we’ve had a load of new kids come in as it’s actually been made illegal for children to beg and live on the streets. There isn’t actually room for them at TST so it’s been a bit of a squeeze for them. Social welfare are supposed to be coming to take them somewhere else any day now, but in the meantime we’re really enjoying teaching them maths along with the other kids (Thanks Mum and Dad for the watch – it’s come in really handy for teaching them how to tell the time!). It’s pretty hectic trying to keep track of who’s doing what when they’re all working at different levels – some of them are just learning to write numbers or learning to add whilst others are doing long division and multiplying fractions. It’s great to see how much they enjoy learning though; especially when they’re competing against each other or racing against the clock in times table tests.
A few times recently it’s been impossible to do any teaching because of the rain – you can’t hear yourself think for the racket it makes on the roof. But the rainy season has brought out a load of new and interesting wildlife. Lately I’ve seen some really beautiful butterflies and dragonflies, giant African snails, a baby chameleon, and amazing spotted and striped grasshopper and a really cool blue and red bird.
I tried teaching the Nama Simba kids ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ this week. They seemed to enjoy repeating my shouts and copying the actions but they didn’t quite grasp the tune or the idea of putting all four together. After shouting each body part individually a few times I said, “mvetserani” which means “Pay attention”, so that they could listen to me singing it all together, but they all just shouted “mvetserani!” back at me. They can be hard work at times and there are a couple of real trouble makers but most of them are still so cute and sweet.
The older kids in the village, on the other hand, have been giving us a bit of hassle lately. When it’s not raining it can still get pretty hot sometimes, but apparently opening our windows is an invitation to all the village kids to come and poke sticks through, pull the curtains back and shout all manner of things from, “give me money” to “stupid, f**k you!”, and the last time I went out to shoo them away they ended up throwing rocks at me. We’re hoping it won’t happen again since the director of Nama Simba had a word with the village chief for us, but it was just sad to realise that after living here for four months, they still see us as outsiders. I was starting to feel like a member of the community; a lot of people in the village know me by name and I always greet them with a smile when I go out to the market. Seeing the way those village kids act really makes us appreciate how lovely the kids at Samaritan’s are.
Update: Well, in an effort to make our house more child-proof (we think), somebody has mysteriously come and fixed the lock on the gate outside our house. However, when we got home yesterday we didn't realise that the key for the padlock was on our set of house keys, so we scaled the six-foot fence, in skirts, to get to our own house. It was actually pretty fun, and I'm sure that if any of the neighbours saw us, they'll have had a good laugh.