Saturday, 19 June 2010

Septemeber

I can't believe almost a month has passed since I arrived in Zambia. It has been a busy month with lots to do and I am beginning to get things sorted out!


I managed to get my work permit yesterday which is valid until June 2011. I had to go in the morning, which meant I had a morning off teaching, and spent a while queueing in for different desks in an office. There were no problems getting it though which I am very thankful for.


The lessons are going well. We have all settled into a routine for the time being. Two new visitors arrived last Saturday so they have been helping with the lessons which has made it a lot easier. Trying to sort out 9 different levels of work, keep an eye on what they were all doing and sorting out their problems/dealing with their complaints was quiet tough. They can be very verbal when they want to be! I have also introduced a new timetable. They are still working on Maths and English but I have introduced Social Studies and am planning to start some science in the next few weeks. This is mainly because three of them thought they should be moving onto grade 7 English but were not ready. I had another scheme of work for grade 6 English but when I presented it to them they were not impressed. Doing Social Studies they are still reading and doing comprehension but under a different title. They also felt they should be doing grade 7 maths so to combat that I have been writing all of the questions out in their books every day. They just assumed they had moved up to grade 7 and I didn't tell them they hadn't. It is a bit crafty but it makes my life so much easier even if it takes longer to prepare. They feel it is some kind of rejection, like I am telling them they aren't any good, if I wont move them up. They have had so much of that in the past they don't cope with it very well so it is best to avoid it if possible. On a Friday morning they all have a maths test and a spelling test, then they can play a game. The older ones have to team up with a younger one to help teach them. They get very competitive and usually the game lasts longer than the lesson should. Tomorrow the guys that go to school have got 'teachers day.' Basically I think it is an excuse not to have lessons. They have to do “sketches, dances and funny stories” (in the words of one of the boys) and have lots of fun. Tonight we have just made and decorated biscuits for all of them to take tomorrow. The boys I teach think they have got their usual maths and spelling test and are feeling quite hard done by. I think we will do some cooking and baking instead though which they will be very excited about. Mainly because only about half of the mixture of anything we make will have any chance of getting near an oven. I am sure by the time we finish they will be complaining of sore tummies!


In the little class the children are continuing to pick up English quickly. Today we made some biscuits and tomorrow we will eat them. Well, they will, I am not sure if I will... they hadn't quite got the idea of not licking the mixture off their hands in between shaping each biscuit!


Homework time is interesting with me struggling, often more than the boys, with iGCSE science and maths. I am relying on GCSE revision guides to help me but am learning a lot and remembering a little. If that fails I find one of the boys who is in a higher grade to come and explain it to us.


In prayers time the boys have been doing hot seat. They have the chance (usually they volunteer sometimes they are told) to tell everyone their story of how they came to be at the farm. It is amazing to hear these boys telling of how they were, what they use to do and all of the problems they have had before coming here. It is quite amazing to see how normal most of them have turned out! Yes, they leave dirty dishes and dirty clothes around, try to get out of chores or school work, hunt around the kitchen to see what there is to eat, argue and make lots of noise but how many teenage boys do you know that don't do the same?!


It seems like every other day we are without power at the moment. They are building a new road on both sides of the farm, putting tarmac down, although as yet we have seen only a little evidence of it! For some reason they have thought it essential to move the power cables about 2 feet on one side of the road so are replacing all of the poles and wires. Usually we get warning the power will be off, but not always. It is a bit of a problem as we cant pump water or so lots of the jobs in the day but I am getting use to minimal water use and things.


Thank you for all of your support and emails. They have been greatly appreciated!
Abigail

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