Saturday, June 03, 2006

A few stories (email from Amy)

Hey everyone,

It's been a pretty quiet week. A lot of teaching and that program where I give kids stickers for reading books has taken up a lot more time than I thought. All-PCV conference is next week. I'm going to try to get a hike out of Anker on Tuesday after I teach, but if that's impossible I'll have to start out Tuesday morning. The Peace Corps is picking me up at 10 in Kamanjab (well, that's what they say, but they're coming from Opuwo and the road to Opuwo is really bad. It's rare that you can make it without at least one flat tire.) Anyway, I don't think I'll be able to get in on Wednesday morning so I'll probably spend the night at Clementine's house.

I've been reading a lot this week (with all of the work, after school I go home and lock myself in my house away from kids and read.) I finished Orthodoxy and Heretics by GK Chesterton and I'm most of the way through My Son's Story by Nadine Gardiner. I also got a bit of mail from Jewell—a package with some yarn and some spice packets (stir fry-yum.) I was in Kamanjab yesterday and I bought some wool to knit myself some mittens (as I have said before, it gets cold in the morning) so I'll use the yarn for that. As I said, I went shopping yesterday and bought loads of stuff. It had been three weeks because of the beauty contest last week, so I was pretty cleaned out of food, otherwise I would have waited until after All-PCV but the other thing is that I'm not sure when my ride will go through Kamanjab and the supermarket isn't open on Sundays so I got about a month's worth of groceries. There were a lot animals out on the road. large springbok and a whole mess of warthogs ran into the road and we had to avoid them. I also saw some small bush foxes (I thought they were rabbits) and a giraffe.

I was teaching in science class about rainfall- how we measure it, etc. The book had a very nice San myth about why rains come and I asked the learners if they knew any stories about rain (I told them the story from early American literature about thunder coming from the giants playing ten-pin in the heavens) anyway, they told me a very curious story about a woman who built a boat and then the rains came and flooded the land and she floated while all of the rest of the people died. Ricardo, who told me the story, said he didn't know how to tell it in English, only in KhoeKhoe, but I'm going to get Nadia or Sendrella or one of the learners who's really good at English to tell it to me. I knew that flood stories were pretty universal, but I really want to know what's different about this one. Science has been a lot more fun this semester. I've been teaching about the seasons too. I took my roundest potato and painted it like the earth and stuck a pin in each end for the axis. Then, using a candle to represent the sun we talked about why there are seasons and also why there are days and nights. I'm not sure I made it very clear, but I tried. I think that at least the brighter learners got it, hopefully.

I was walking to the shop one day when I met a clot of small boys and I discovered a new game that the kids play. Usually the kids consign themselves to soccer played with a ball made out of trash tied tightly with a plastic bag and covered in a pair of socks, donkey cart played by tying two "reins" made out of long strings of rags to a couple of kids and running around, possibly lightly whipping them with another rag string, and various games played with toys ingeniously bent out of rusted wire. This group of boys was playing a different game, though. They were throwing rocks at an empty one litre beer bottle on the edge of the road. They kept aiming until they broke the bottle and then they all cheered. Ah, finally, a game that combines the innocent joys of a community with serious alcohol addiction problems with the practicality of increasing the amount of broken glass littering the ground where children walk barefoot.

Anyway, not much going on in my neck of the woods (or savannah.) Hope everything's going well for all of you.



PO Box 90

Kamanjab, Namibia


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