Monday, February 19, 2007

athletic day, uniforms for the orphans, etc.

Hello all,
This weekend was the cluster athletics in Kamanjab. I went with the kids, partly just to get out of the village for a bit. African school trips always remind me of youth group trips run by crazy people on a budget of 15 cents a day. We got there, ate our dinner (some sort of Kool-Aid served from a huge caldron, and three slices of bread with butter and a little jelly) then, after the kids played for a bit, we went to sleep on the floor of a school room (the kids slept in pairs, one blanket under and one over, but I was tightly packed between two hostel sisters on hostel mattresses.) The kids woke up before dawn at 5AM, we wached outside under the tap and then had breakfast (sweet, milky tea and three slices of bread with butter and a little jelly.)

The athletic day was far less organized than our day, but we got through it. Then I did a little grocery shopping, ate lunch (sausages, rice, and pumpkin) and all the kids crowded onto the back of a lorry that looked sort of like it was meant to hold cattle (a lorry is a truck, not a pickup, an actual open topped truck.) Then we went home, dropping kids at every farm we passed.

On Friday last week a truck with USAID on the side pulled up and a bunch of Namibian Red Cross workers got out. They unloaded 14 full school uniforms (with shirts, pants or skirts, socks, shoes, and sweaters) as well as school bags, school sets (with scissors, pencils, pens, rulers, markers, pencil sharpeners, and erasers.) They were donated by, I think, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Namibia, but they might have been supplied by the Church Alliance for Orphans or Catholic Aids Action or something. They are for the orphans, although I think that we will probably redistribute a few of them. Sometimes the orphans aren't the ones who are in the most need. For example, there's a kid who lost both parents, but he lives at the Herero shop with his grandfather and aunts. He has one of the nicest school uniforms and he is one of about three or four kids who might possibly be considered a little chubby (not by American standards, but in comparison to the other kids who all seem to look so stringy, like they're made of nothing but tendons and bone.) On the other side, there are kids who have both parents, but have no school uniforms, or only ones that are too small and too patched, no shoes, and are obviously needier. It was really wonderful to see everything getting unloaded and to see real supplies that will actually help the children themselves, instead of endless workshops or other "sustainable" projects. I know that it's not sustainable to just give kids uniforms, but sometimes I feel like it's OK that some things aren't sustainable. These are real things that will really make a big difference in the lives of real children and I think that's important too.

Anyway, that's most of my life. I've gotten over grumbling about the curriculum change and have started to rewrite and replan everything, but I'm not too happy about it. Other than that, life's going well. Hope everyone's doing fine. Enjoy the pictures


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