I am happy to say that I survived the first week of school. No doubt it was challenging, but I know things will get easier. Of course, the highlight for me will be teaching.
My two grade 8 classes are very large and a bit overwhelming. One of them has 52 students – and everyday there seems to be more kids enrolled. The unfortunate thing is that there are 19 desks and less than 40 chairs. The kids willingly share desks and chairs and they appear unphased by it. The classroom isn’t made for that many students so they are literally on top of each other. It is going to be very difficult to do any group work or fun activities with a class that large. Plus, I am the first western teacher they have had, so they tend to have trouble understanding me. So far though, they have been well-behaved and follow my instruction after a lot of repetition.
A bunch of my grade 8 and grade 9 girls are eager to get to know me and follow me around during break and afterschool study. I got two really sweet home-made cards from them, which were so sweet and I wanted to share with you.
Elizabeth, grade 8, wrote “First of all I want to give thanks to God who brought you in our country. Secondly, I want to know when you will reach 33 years old because I want to celebrate your happy birthday”.
Olivia, grade 9, wrote “Dear Miss Tanya, I am overjoyed to wrote you a letter and I really miss your smile. First, I really want to thank you that you are interesting to become my friend. So Miss Tanya, I already realized that you are a hard working teacher and your hard working will help us to get good symbols on the end of the year. For me, I will never let you down Miss Tanya but I will always rise up on you. I feel proud of you because I have never see a kindly person like you. I wish you all good work, hard work and faithful life”.
Yesterday, with Justine and Amy, I hitch hiked into Rundu, the closest major town (120km away). Hiking is very common here and is said to be very safe. It is the only way for me to get to groceries and supplies as taxis do not come this far out. After waiting an hour for a car to pass, a small pick-up truck – called a bakki, stopped and let us into the back. By the time we got to Rundu, we were jammed in the back with 9 other adults, 2 babies and a suitcase. It was definitely not the most comfortable ride – but we made it. Rundu was bigger than I imagined – a large open market, multiple grocery stores, hardware store, electronics shops and tons of discount stores. We found a great little café where we had breakfast and an AMAZING cappuccino, wandered the town, had lunch at a nice riverside resort, and did our shopping. The hike back was pretty smooth – although towards the end the drive stopped and picked up a family, so there were 4 adults and 2 kids jammed in the back of a sedan!
I have a bunch more photos that I am trying to post but it isn’t working. Rrrr… stay posted!