Thursday, August 12, 2010

It was here. Did you feel it?

As quickly as the excitement came to my village and—what seemed to be—all over this Rainbow Nation, the World Cup has now passed. It’s memory and the stories are like the sounds of the vuvuzelas—growing more and more distant by the day. It’s sad to think that all of the enthusiasm was short-lived for only a month of international fame and spectacle. However, aren’t we all too familiar with the sensationalized and over-commercialized clout that surrounds events like the World Cup, the Olympics, and the well-known International Clogging Festival?

Well, it was here, we felt it; and now, things are practically back to normal: I’m back to getting assaulted by more aggravated mother hens, strikes are once again in season, and the power has miraculously decided to go out, time and time again (strange how it worked just fine during the World Cup, hm…)

During and after the World Cup, people here and in the States asked me, did you go to any of the games!? Sadly, no, I did not. I had no interest after my ticket attempts failed miserably. That’s OK, though. I’m not much of a soccer spectator (more of a fair-weather fan, to be completely honest) nor do I enjoy large crowds, expensive concessions, or freezing in the stands. I enjoyed the games I did see from the comfort of a warm living room in front of a TV. In this blog, I’d like to share with you how I kept my self busy while school was on break and most everyone was in hibernation in my village. I needed to stay sane and this is what I did…

(Oh, if I can interject here for a second—I want to announce that I am indeed evolving as a technologically advanced blogger: I realized that my photos were just a tad too small for those that don’t have eagle-vision or a microscope handy when reading my blog; also, the formatting is a nightmare when this blog goes from Windows Live Writer to my Blog, then to either email, RSS reader, or Facebook. So, I’m working on that one…Wow, I’m still debating whether all these forms of communication are obnoxious or impressive… Please bear with me while I work out these technical glitches.)

(Funny story—I just discovered that to say, “Please bare with me,” which I thought was right until just now, is a request for you all to take off your clothes with me. Woops, that explains that one time... Please keep your clothes on for the remainder of this blog. Thank you.)


The Computer Lab

I made some real progress with my computer lab. After opening up these computers that sat dormant for three years, I got some help and a air compressor to blow out all the dust from the machines. (I think I got the black lung after we were finished. It looked like an industrial vacuum exploded in that room.)

P1120699 (480x360)The school’s “library” houses many things other than just books: supplies, a microwave, the new computer lab, and a lot of dust. Clearly, a work in progress.

 P1120701 (480x360)

Every day for a few weeks, I would spend my time here, putting together the computers, matching hardware, and getting them up and running. I had to reformat a few corrupted hard drives, install the identical software on all of 11 computers and get them running as smoothly as possible. In the meantime, I invited a few eager learners to come in and use the computers while I worked. It was great because it kept them from suffering from School Break Boredom (mind atrophy), I had someone to talk to, they had a chance to use the computers (which they’ve been chomping at the bit to do), and I got to find out which typing and training programs they enjoyed the most. I’ll use their feedback to help me tweak my lessons. They are now virus-free, clean, and ready for classes!


Village-wide World Cup Spirit

The week before school was let out, the Grade 5 Class Teacher organized a World Cup Party for the kids on Friday. Throughout the semester, the kids brought in as many 5-Rand-cent coins (a little less than the value of a penny) as they could. With that, the teacher set up a party with cakes, treats, and drinks for them. A few other educators and I helped him set it up that day. We all had fun—it was a great day. Here are some photos:

P1130184 (480x360)

 P1130185 (480x360)

In preparation for the 50 kids that were anxiously waiting and watching from the windows.

 P1130189 (480x360)

 P1130191 (480x360)

P1130194a (480x360)

Here, a staff member is showing me how to blow out of a vuvuzela. I got it after a while, but then my lips went numb.

P1130200 (480x360)

After the party, I took my camera around the village. Everyone was in full Bafana-Bafana mode, kindergarteners and high-schoolers, alike.

P1130206 (480x360)

 P1130211 (480x360)

After school let out for the break, the primary school looked like a ghost town.

P1130262 (480x360)

Over the winter break, this building got a new roof, new cement floors and a new paint job—something it was needing for quite some time.


World Cup Warmth in Winter 

I thought it would be a fun idea to have the community gather in the community hall to watch the South African team play. I tried to organize TVs and a braai (BBQ) for the first three games. However, logistics didn’t work out in our favour, but at least at the last minute, we got a small TV (thankfully with reception!) and some chicken to grill. Not a very successful event, but at least it was a gathering!

P1130267 (480x360)

Many people don’t have electricity to watch the games or even a TV, so this was surprisingly a well-attended event. Yes, that’s a 20” TV propped on a set of chairs.

P1130272 (480x360)

It was cold! No heat in the hall, but we still had diehard fans!

P1130276 (480x360) People found ways to warm up while helping to cook the chicken.

I spend some time visiting some friends in Vryburg who let me stay to watch some of the WC games with them. They had heat, but it still got chilly at night.

P1130279 (480x360) Even the family dog, Xena, had to come inside and bundle up for some surprisingly cold weather in Vryburg.


American Patriotism, Peace Corps-style

For the Fourth of July, I celebrated the best way I knew how! Sparklers, a buttery American meal, and the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous, which I watched with my friend, Lorraine at her house in the village.

P1130307 (480x360)

Lorraine and I enjoyed the magic of burning chemicals on a stick and a very patriotic, American movie. She now understands Minnesotan humor and our lovely accents thanks to Kirsten Dunst and Kirstie Alley.

P1130301 (480x360)

Yes, that’s fried fish, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob (“mealies”, as they call them here), and the only American flag I could find in my room. God bless America.


Normal Once Again

The World Cup came and went. I’m happy to find out that no major incidents occurred here like many had worried would happen. When school started back up again, we all exchanged a WC few stories, but mostly, our conversations went back to talking about the weather, daily life in the village, and basically anything else people casually chat about. Life’s back to normal in this post-World Cup South Africa: South Africans put away their Bafana-Bafana jerseys and life continues on, sans vuvuzelas.◊ Salang Sentle—Stay Well

No comments:

Post a Comment