So, another few weeks have past and we find ourselves in school holidays after a short term. The Grade 9's finished writing their exams on Friday and are off school until February. Everyone else broke up on Thursday for about 5 weeks until the beginning of January.
The end of term meant tests. Most of the boys seemed to think they got on ok, although results have not been released yet. The boys that I use to teach at home (and only went to school in October) found some of the tests very hard, especially English. Wisdom, who is the one I was most worried about, came home very happy on Monday as he had done well in Maths and Science but as the week went on he found it harder. He didn't let that put him off though and continued coming to study every night and talk about the test he had sat that day. This is a massive step forward for him as previously he would just get up and walk out of class if something was too hard. Also he didn't use to speak except for one or two words when he wanted/needed something. In the last few weeks begun speaking a lot more and even managed a whole conversations about school and his family. Sam and David have kept their results and thoughts about the tests to themselves, but they are much more confident and were more ready for them anyway.
In school the boys have been making steady progress. Cliffords reading has made massive progress and he is understanding a lot more of what he is reading. Joseph has begun to settle down too and accept that he needs help with his comprehension. We have spent a lot of time talking to him and trying to get him to understand that it is not because he is 'dull' that he is doing this work, his reading is almost fluent, but because he needs to understand what he reads. I have had a girl from church come and help me in the last few weeks (which is very useful as she can explain things in Nyanja!) but she will be back in college herself when term starts again after Christmas. This has especially helped Joseph to understand the reason for his 'easy' work that he cant manage. Charles and Thoko also continue to work hard. Danny is back as well, with varying levels of effort and cooperation. We are all being very strict on him just now and hope he settled back down again quickly. Although he is a handful most of the time he does have moments that remind you he is only a young boy. Last week he came asking for scissors but wouldn't tell me why, I had to go and see. When I went to the farm later he was busy with the small children making a 'shelter' out of some bits of wood he had found, some old bags and cardboard. He spends a lot of time with the 3-6 year olds, playing games and chasing them.
Now it is holidays lots of the boys have gone to visit family. Today there are only 15 people here, including the girls. Usually we are about 35. Lots of the boys have gone until the 22nd or 23rd of December. I wonder why they are coming then?! One of the big boys (17 years old I think) came to ask me "what exactly is special about the 25th of December?" Then asked what happens at Christmas that means people are writing lists for presents and getting excited so I explained. While I was telling him Thadi (who is 15) was in the room and gradually started hopping from one foot to the other getting more and more excited! Some of the boys are coming back sooner as there is a Church camp from the 10th to 14th Dec which they would like to go to. I think 8 of them have decided to go. It is good to see them keen to mix with people outside of the farm.
Don and Christine have managed to get away this weekend for a couple of nights. That was fine because Aunt Yvonne (who does the cooking for the boys and lives on site) was around until a family member passed away and she has travelled to the funeral. I am very glad it is school holidays so there are only a few of us! I cooked roast chickens for us all last night and think Sunday will be a BBQ which the boys will cook and I will just organise. Today... we will see! Hopefully the rest of the weekend will pass without major incident. Thankfully Mr Banda doesn't live too far away if I need him!
I hope all are well. I need to go and chase these boys back to work!