This morning was a parent meeting at the school – once a term, the parents are invited to the school share information and discuss issues. The meeting lasted 5 hours…in the baking sun…in Rukwangali! So, it could easily be described as torture! A couple points were later translated to me: school uniforms -suggestions were made for teachers to wear the same uniform as students, cell phones – if teachers catch students with cell phones they will be burned, pregnancy – there was a 2 hour discussion on preventing pregnancy and how to deal with it in the schools once it happens. To encourage girls to stay focused on their education, they announced that the highest female grade 10 learner this year would receive a reward of $200 Namibian dollars (equivalent to $28 Cdn). However, the reward would not be given if the learner was pregnant. So, needless to say, teenage pregnancy is an issue here. Last year, there were 17 girls who ‘fell pregnant’ during the school year. Anyways, my personal observations during the meeting: men and women sat completely separately, nose picking in public is fully acceptable, texting and talking on the phone while the principal is speaking is not rude, most women wear wigs, wearing pink or blue plastic rosaries as a necklace is hip…and of course, shoes are always optional.
After the meeting and a nice long nap, I went to sit by the river to read my book. The river is where all the action is… people bathing, washing their clothes, or fishing and of course, the cows and goats come by for a drink too. I didn’t get much reading done…once word got out that I was at the river, everyone and their entire families came down to see me. And because most of them can’t speak English, they just stand and stare at me… or, hand me their babies to hold. They were absolutely fascinated with my lawn chair too! A group of young kids, ages6-10, came and sat with me and taught me some Rukwangali words. Tomorrow I think I will bring a Frisbee down with me and see if they want to play – it will force them to do something other than stare!
And now, after a dinner of French toast, a long walk along the main road, and a wonderful chat with my bff Jamie, I will lay in bed and watch a movie on my laptop. Aside from the heat, it has been a relaxing day! Looking forward to another one tomorrow.