September 18, 2009

Day 25–28 – Tuesday 15th September – Friday 18th September 2009

I haven’t really had time to add to my blog of late so I thought I would lump it all together as my last week teaching at Kwa-Bhekilanga school. This week has been really amazing and I am going to miss the kids from the school so much, they are so much fun and have always made me feel better.

There have been times when I have had to shout and when I have gotten annoyed with the class because they just won’t settle down but most of the kids are just over energetic rather than disruptive, it doesn’t seem to be in their nature at all to be quiet. Over the weeks I have been teaching I have not got through anything close to the amount of material I had hoped to be able to teach but I think my expectations were unrealistic. What I am satisfied with though is that what I have taught them they understand and as such I think I have been successful. I can certainly see the attraction to teaching when I see the realisation on a learners face when they finally understand what I have taught them!

Thursday night we went out to a club in Soweto called Ozone which was an amazing experience. Lewis and Lindo took us there and this place is not a typical touristy club; it is found right in the middle of the Soweto township and is frequented by all the locals from the township. I did feel like we stood out a mile as we were the only white people in the entire club. I had a great time though, we met up with some locals in the dance area who had just bought a massive bucket full of beer and insisted that we spent the night drinking and dancing with them! I was certainly not going to refuse beer so it was a very enjoyable and very cheap night all in all! Unfortunately after getting home at 2.30am and getting up at 6am this (Friday) morning I was feeling to say the least bad! Fortunately I got a burst of energy after getting to school and I would seriously need it for my classes today.

Basically I taught nothing at all today but said good bye to all the classes I have been teaching in the form of a shirt quiz on physics, maths and general knowledge where correct answers are rewarded by sweets. Then with all the classes we had a massive photo session and a long good bye. Finally at the end of the day we said our farewells, gave the principal R300 raised through Warwick for them to buy a printer and left for the last time.

I took over 100 photos today so there is no way they are all going up, I’ll try and put up a selection if the internet behaves though.

Me and some learners

We’re off out to Melrose Arch tonight for dinner and drinks and then flying to Cape Town at 12 tomorrow, I’ll get to you next from the Cape!


Day 24 – Monday 14th September 2009

We had quite a dull day in teaching today, I taught a grand total of no lessons at all! Basically in the only lesson I was present in I gave the class back their answer script to the physics test I set them last week and went through the answers to it.

This is my last week teaching now in Joburg and it is really going fast!


September 16, 2009

Day 23 – Sunday 13th September 2009

Contrary to my previous Sunday’s spent here there was no opportunity to go to church with Corin this week as we had an early start and a long drive to the Lion Park just outside of Johannesburg. We had a guided tour around the park seeing all the different animals they had there including some tasty tasty Springbok.

Some animals

The highlight was definitely the lion enclosures where we arrived just at feeding time and got to see the lions tucking in to some lunch. You can see about 4 lionesses to a piece of meat but the male takes one all to himself and doesn’t share any! I hope to add a number of pictures to this entry but it takes about 10 minutes per photo to upload so they may appear slowly!

Some lionesses tucking in to lunch

Mr. lion has one all to himself

After the lions we got to go to cub world where I got to spend a good time in cub world petting little lion cubs who are just so cute and playful!

A very cute lion cub

We also had a wander around to see the baby giraffe, the cheetahs staring hungrily at the baby giraffe and the meerkats who couldn’t care less about either of them.

A giraffe

After the park we went out to Rosebank market again to do a bit of shopping before returning home.


September 13, 2009

Day 22 – Saturday 12th September 2009

Today was an immense day spent going on a massive tour of Bosmont with Corin! Coring is our programme mentor based at Wits University and grew up in Bosmont under apartheid. Basically the tour involved going to the houses of lots of Corin’s friend in the neighbourhood to talk to them and hear what life was like for them under apartheid.

First was a family of Cape Malays who under apartheid were classified as coloured and as such were not as heavily persecuted as blacks but who were considered inferior to whites and were prohibited from being in white areas after a certain time. We heard stories and were invited to eat some rather delicious traditional food they had prepared for us. It was fascinating and shocking to hear of how it had just become an ordinary part of life for them that their life was restricted by the state in terms of where they could go and when, who they could marry, whether they could go on holiday or visit a relative. I thought of how resentful and resistant I would be if some man in an office back home told me no, you are not allowed to travel on holiday to this place and if you try to you will be arrested! I also heard of how when they were still school children and protested due to unfair conditions the police came out with rubber bullets and tear gas and started shooting at the students! It is shocking to think that throughout this the majority of people did not stand up and go this is wrong!

We went around many houses during the day speaking to friends of Corin and generally being invited to eat and chat with them. We also stopped for the afternoon to make some bead jewellery which was nice and relaxing.

The day culminated in dinner at another house of one of Corin’s friend for supper prepared by a lovely woman who happened to be an Anglican minister and who was married to a Muslim man, she assured us that this was a world first! The dinner was absolutely amazing and probably the best meal I have had since getting here, we all felt a bit bad though because though the meal was delicious we had already had a 7 hour walking buffet and found it very hard to fit anymore in!

Us at dinner

Tomorrow we shall be off to the lion park where I am assured we can pet some of the baby lions so I will be sure to take lots of pictures!


Day 21 – Friday 11th September 2009

I got to teach all day today!!! With my physics classes I was going through the test and showing them how each question must be answered correctly. Each question was greeted with a mixture of groans and cheers from the audience and it was tempting to count how many cheers or groans each learner gave out and try and estimate their mark from it! I do quite like the interactivity of the classes here they are much more vocal and exciting than the classes back home!

Well my third week of teaching is now over and I have only one more to go before we depart for Cape Town, teaching here in Joburg has been a real experience and I’ll be sad to leave it behind.


Day 20 – Thursday 10th September 2009

Well I actually got to teach 2 lessons today before the school got shut again due to a lack of water; it is getting quite annoying now! So I spent the rest of the afternoon marking the papers of the test I set them earlier, I have about 160 to mark so hopefully I can get them done soon so I can go over the test next week. My plan is to spend my last week of teaching here identifying from the test what areas they have not understood in maths and in physics and then cover those areas again.

Given the short day I took a bit of time out to get some pics of the school and the learners. Our school is said to be very good because it has electricity, I am unsure about using it though.

The light switch


Day 19 – Wednesday 9th September 2009

I actually got to teach a lesson this morning! Then the water went off after break time and the school was released so we called Lewis to take us home. It’s quite annoying to not actually be able to teach lessons that I have spent so long planning for people to do, I have a set amount of time to get a set amount of work done and the learners so often either don’t turn up or they get let out early.

On the plus side we went to Rosebank market after school to have a look at the African market and buy some souvenirs for home. I got quite a few gifts for people back home that I can’t mention here so as not to ruin the surprise for the people they are destined for! I reckon the best buy of the day was a copper statue that the guy was asking R650 for but which after he saw the Sekonda watch I had bought for £20 (about R230) at the airport said he wanted that for the statue! So we both walked away quite happy as I managed to get something I wanted in exchange for something I was going to get rid of anyway. The next big challenge is getting back all this stuff on the plane!


Day 18 – Tuesday 8th September 2009

Today was an annoying day to say the least, I had the morning off since no lessons were scheduled there and then we found out that there was a big teachers union meeting in Soweto at 12pm. The teachers union have their main meeting to discuss pay and performance at mid-day on a Tuesday! So because all the teachers left the school had to close and we went home to sit around for the rest of the day and wonder if we might actually have a full day tomorrow.


Day 17 – Monday 7th September 2009

Pretty much a standard day teaching today, I managed to get the learners to write the test that I was unable to set them on Friday and then spent most of the day in the staff room since their regular teacher wanted to take some of my classes today.


September 06, 2009

Day 16 – Sunday 6th September 2009

A lovely and very busy day was had all round today! Started off the day by going to church with Corin again. The guys there are really nice and friendly and the service is very lively with songs and worship quite similar to my church back home. Matt, Joe and I got invited back by Wesley for a young adult service in the evening but given that it started at 6 and we needed to sort out dinner as well time was simply against us.

After church the three of us met up with the rest of the group at a theme park in a place called Gold Reef City, which is basically a hotel, casino and theme park in one. The theme park was really awesome! It has roughly the same number and type of rides as Alton Towers but packed into a much smaller space. The best had to be the vertical drop one which actually took the car up in a little elevator, tipped it onto the track from which it dropped 10 metres into a big hole! We spent all day there and now are just sorting out an order for Mr. Delivery to come and bring us our food. I reckon I’ll get on with some planning for my lessons tomorrow.

Sorry there are no photos to this one, I didn’t being my camera with me.


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