Alice and I got to sleep in this morning – all the way to 6:40 (since on Wednesdays there are school-wide assemblies at 7:10 and thus no staff meetings at 6:55). We enjoyed a nice breakfast in our room (toast with PB and an apple from last night) and then headed to the assembly.
We knew today’s assembly would be special since it was Chris and Mike’s last assembly. Chris and Mike are the two Princeton in Africa fellows who have been here for a year now, and are heading home tomorrow. While we knew the assembly would be special, we didn’t know just how special it would be.
After some adorable student speeches showing thanks and appreciation, Chris spoke into the microphone saying, “We’re hoping that we’ve taught you quite a few things while we’ve been here.” As he said that, one of the teachers came out from the middle of the curtains doing the Harlem Shake, complete with the music blaring in the background! At the point when everyone was supposed to join in, all the MaP students got up and danced! It was priceless.
But wait, there was more! Chris and Mike announced that they had made a special “going-away slideshow.” They drew back the curtains, and there stood an assortment MaP teachings wearing crazy outfits. Underneath their suits, Chris and Mike had on “RUN GABZ” t-shirts. After some technical difficulties, the music started (Party Rock Anthem) and about six teachers, and Chris and Mike, burst into very entertaining choreography. It was the perfect way for us to both say goodbye and remember them!
I then had the first couple of blocks free in the library, and then Daniel and I had maths. Class was OK today – we were finding the area of trapeziums (that’s right, they don’t call them “trapezoids” here). The only issue was that our students kept wanting to divide the trapeziums into rectangles and triangles and find the areas of those “more comfortable” shapes separately.
During 5th period, we got to take an excursion off campus. We headed into “downtown” Gabs to pay the travel organisation that is organising our Kasane/Vic Falls trip this weekend. We got back to school, and then I actually took a little nap before lunch.
TG had asked us to put up relatively large posters of ourselves around MaP informing the students what we could help them with inside and outside of the classroom. One of the form 5 girls noticed that I had put “singing” as something I enjoy doing, and she invited me to sit in on a chorus rehearsal.
So after lunch I headed up to the music loft and did just that. For about 45 minutes, the group of 15 girls was practicing maybe five measures of music (granted, they were a very difficult five measures, but I was starting to have my doubt about just how good this group was).
I had to leave at 1:45, so as I left, I said “you guys sound awesome – thanks for letting me sit in on your practice!” Fifi (the MaP scholar/football player I mentioned yesterday) burst out “can we sing the whole thing for Julia?” I was honored, but doubted that the teacher conducting them would agree. He did, though, and their song started up. They were singing “Don’t you worry child,” a song that I absolutely adore. Best of all, their singing made me take back all my previous misconceptions about their vocal ability! They were AMAZING! The soloist was spectacular, and everyone joined in in perfect harmony for the chorus. I was so impressed, and promised I’d come back and listen in again next Wednesday.
After that, Jennifer and I had volunteered to lead the Cheshire Homes SPE (since the teacher that usually leads it had some sort of prior staff commitment that she had to be at). Thinking it would be along the lines of Makgasa reading (i.e. about a dozen students going to a destination about 10 minutes away) Jennifer and I were looking forward to a relatively easy task.
However, there were so many kids, we ended up having to take a full-size school bus to get there, and by the time we had switched buses, we only had about 20 minutes with the Cheshire Homes kids (which I guess is better than zero minutes with the kids!)
Cheshire Homes is a hospital/rehab center for children (and adults, I believe) with mental and physical disabilities. Almost all the children we saw today were physically disabled, but it was heartwarming to see them smile, despite all they’re going through! One of their favourite activities is being wheeled around relatively quickly around a courtyard in the middle of the rehab center. They also enjoyed playing on the playground.
One of the girls, who was wearing a pink sweater, couldn’t speak very well, but kept motioning for me to come toward her and carry her to the swings! It was the sweetest thing, and I really wish we could have spent more time at Cheshire, but the bus (and kids!) had to be back at 3:30. On the bus ride home, I had a nice chat with some younger girls, who had many questions about Harvard and how to apply to schools in America.
Once we got back to MaP, Jennifer and I made a Choppies run (I got apples, peanut butter, a little bit of milk, honey cheerios and an avocado!) It was then time for social volleyball, but we were both pretty tired out! Not wanting to leave Alice alone, we went over to the field, and shouted words of support from the sideline.
A little while later Tlotlo (the adorable form 1 boarder who is in both my profile picture and cover photo) convinced us to play football with him. Even though we were exhausted, we agreed, although I had to leave soon thereafter to shower.
Then, Daniel and I lesson-planned for tomorrow. About ten minutes into our lesson planning, the power went out! The rest of lesson planning and dinner happened in the dark (never a dull moment at MaP!) After dinner, I went home and had some delicious cheerios. The honey cheerios here are something that I didn’t realise how much I missed until it was gone (because of my illness last week, I didn’t go food shopping, so I’ve been cheerio-less for quite some time now!) Nothing quite beats milk and cheerios in the glow of a headlamp!
TGT: 1) the delicious honey cheerios (seriously, though) 2) playing with the kids at Cheshire homes today 3) being invited to, and subsequently hearing, the MaP’s amazing a capella group
Until next time,