Friday 26-07-2013

Today Alice and I woke up at 5:45 for our last MaP school day breakfast! Breakfast was rice Krispy cereal, toast with PB and an apple. We then headed off to the staff room to use the (still super slow) WiFi and then had our last staff meeting.
During first and second period, I was in the library, taking pictures with some of the students and saying some goodbyes. Daniel and I also had to edit the maths quiz that we’re giving our students fourth period.

Soon, it was time for break, but this was no normal break – because it’s the last Friday of the month, it was a MAPTA (Maru-a-Pula Teacher Association) tea. To make things even better, the tea doubled as a “say goodbye to the Harvard interns” event.

And what a sweet goodbye it was. There was a whole table of fruit, another with a huge cake saying “goodbye and thank you!” and another table with samosas and other goodies. I was (obviously) in seventh heaven. And then they brought out scones!
Laverick was walking around the staff room during the MAPTA tea and he seemed to be taking quite a few photos of me. I asked him why and he responded saying, “I’m trying to see how many photos I can get with you and food.” He’s clearly going to miss us (maybe).

After that, we printed out the maths quiz and I went back to the room to collect all our key point prizes. The USA lanyards were worth four key points, the Oreos were two key points each, and five pieces of candy was one key point.

Daniel and I then headed to maths. The kids had a lot of energy, but they were able to calm down (sorta) for the quiz. After that, we started giving away Key Points prizes. A lot of the kids got lanyards, and many got candy as well. For some reason, the Oreos weren’t a huge hit. We all took some pictures and then said our goodbye, and then they were off!

Daniel and I then sat outside using the Bean Bag internet – I was looking up the B and B where we’re staying in Cape Town and doing other Cape Town research. Then, Caroline Desai (the amazing “mother Theresa in heels”) walked by and I stopped her to say hello/goodbye.

She (thankfully) remembered who we were and we had a nice chat about all that she is doing. In typical Mrs. Desai fashion, she was doing a million and one different things today, and also told us that she will be in NYC in late August. Before we said goodbye, I was able to get a picture with her!

I then spent the last few blocks in the library, then it was time for lunch. Now before I talk about what an epic lunch it was, I must explain a certain MaP tradition.

When it is someone’s birthday here, all the boys start going “SHHHHHHHHHH” (and the caps were on purpose – the “shhh-ing” is very loud!) Once everyone is quiet, they start singing Happy Birthday in very deep voices. When finished, they bang on the tables and started chanting (what I believe is) “whose birthday? Your birthday! Birthday, birthday!” over and over. Once that’s done, they chant “speech, speech, speech” (yet the birthday person never ends up giving a speech!)

Anyway, we have sat through more than our fair share of these shenanigans, and finally we wanted to show them how it was done, but with a twist! We (Jennifer, Daniel, Grace, Bikey, Tlotlo, Jake, Jack and I) started shushing everyone, and once it was quiet, we all burst out singing 50 cent’s birthday song. It was epic, to say the least. Then the boys did their whole birthday song, (trying to one-up us, I guess) and we were all laughing.

After lunch, I had a little bit of downtime to rest, and then I had some last-minute tutoring with Fifi and Michael (yes, two of our kids stayed after school on a Friday to start revising for their term test that isn’t even this month!) The session went really well, and we covered a large variety of topics including percentage increase and depreciation over time, fraction/decimal conversions, and ratios and proportions.

I then went home and chilled for a bit, showered and got ready for dinner. KB took Jennifer, Alice, Grace and I to Cappello’s, a restaurant in the lovely Masa Center. The Masa Center is a very upscale mall (that actually reminded me quite a bit of the newer part of the Natick Collection). However, unlike anything in MA, the mall was largely open-air, which was a tad chilly on this winter night, but gorgeous nonetheless.

We ate inside, though, and I had a delicious hamburger and chips. Ingrid was having some fruity cocktail, and there were strawberries in said drink. Towards the end of the dinner, she started fishing out the strawberries, “saving the best for last.” I’ve never been prouder to call her my mentee!

After dinner, KB drove us once again to Boulevard in Phakalane. However, this time, since we arrived right before 10pm, we were able to get in for free. The music was a little better than last time, and I had a blast singing and dancing with both the interns and some of the MaP scholars and TAs.

Last time we were at Boulevard, Jennifer asked the DJ to play Drake’s Started From the Bottom (aka our theme song) and he said he would, but never did. I would have none of that nonsense, so I asked someone for a pen, and, on the back of a receipt, wrote out, “please play Started from the Bottom by Drake. Thanks!” and handed it to the DJ.

And lo and behold, about 20 minutes later, our theme song came on and we all went crazy! It was actually the highlight of my night, singing and dancing with these amazing people.

Unfortunately, the night didn’t end on such a high note, because someone stole my phone right out of the back pocket of my jeans. However, since it was a) a $20 Nokia phone and b) our second to last day in Gabs, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it still is unnerving when something like that happens to you without you realising what’s occurring.

After texting KB from Jennifer’s phone, he took us back home again (see why I, quite seriously, call him a saint?) after a (mostly wonderful) last night out. Oh, and perhaps the best part is the sense of Karma that my phone stealer will get – I set my alarm ahead of time to go off at 8 and 8:10 for breakfast, so whoever stole my phone might be in for a rude awakening rather early on a Saturday morning!

TGT: 1) dinner and dancing with the interns and our MaP friends 2) amazing MAPTA tea 3) singing Happy Birthday to Grace in the dining hall

Until next time,
~JK

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