30 Sep 2016
Slept well and felt a bit better. At 9.30 am a Bot50 t-shirt was brought, these are especially designed for the Independence Day. There are several different designs in circulation, all of them in the national colors (white, blue, black) which are in different manners incorporated in the designs. It was a good match with my blue skirt (from Indonesia), blue sandals (from Germany), earrings made from beads in the colors of the Botswana flag and a white hat with black zebras. The ceremony was held in the stadium in Molepolole. We were seated in the VIP tent, in the back, from where all I could see were peoples backs and hats. Went to sit on the ground in front of the first row of chairs, but this was not allowed as many people were going to pass there. The attendant placed an extra chair in the front row for me.
There were many speeches, mainly in Setswana, by a man dressed in hides and feathers. A woman in a traditional textile dress encouraged the man when he stopped talking by dancing in circles while loudly making the notorious “ulule” sound, for which the tongue is moved very fast is horizontally from left to right and back. And there were many dances. The young Military Scouts paraded, commanded by an elder military man. It was touching and also laughable to see how serious they took themselves. The expressions on their faces were caricatures of how they thought they ought to look like. They were so much involved with themselves that they did not notice their movements were not equable. A few children were chosen from the public seated on the stand beside the VIP tent to dance in front. And indeed, many people passed just like at the dance festival, in front of the spectators, very irritating. At 2.30 pm it was finished and the most important guests left for the luncheon room, after that the less important people like us. At the exit there was an up going concrete slope without a railing. When stepping on it from the side I misjudged the height and fell flat on the concrete, unable to get up because my left arm was besides my body and my right hand was holding my camera. Assistance was quickly given, only the right hand was grazed which I wrapped in a paper handkerchief. We had to wait for some time to fetch the food. Pieces of stewed beef, seswaa, samp, rice, beetroot, pumpkin. It tasted scrumptious and I ate quite a large portion of the meat. How would my stomach react to this? The car had left and after having waited for some time we returned by taxi. The rest of the afternoon I did not do much. Went to the house of the directors for supper, their daughter had cooked a lovely meal. My stomach was already feeling sore, so I only had some salad. We watched part of the tv serial “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.” I brought this on an usb stick. It was unknown to them, while it is set in Botswana. They enjoyed it. Just after having gone to bed got severe stomach ache, a paracetamol gave some comfort. I do not understand how the Bushmen can eat enormous amounts of food after having had little or nothing for a while. Maybe if one has not seen food for some time a normal portion appears to be a lot.
29 Sep 2016
Have not done anything special. I had a slight flue (or exhaustion?) and diarrhea.
Luncheon: light brown colored bread (instead of the usual white), two sausages (awful, have given one away), fried egg. Watched tv, BTV broadcasted a program about tomorrow’s ceremony, about the three presidents since 1966, and that the future belongs to the youth. There was a lot of singing and dancing. Tomorrow at 9 am I will be picked up to go to the ceremony.
28 Sep 2016
There had been a power failure last night until 6.50 am. I accompanied one of the students to the bus rank. She wanted to catch the 10 am bus. Later she returned because the bus had not come as it had broken down. Another student told about the early birth and death of her sister’s baby. The reason for the death she had either not understood correctly, or the knowledge of problems during pregnancies is 100 year behind in Botswana. (After my return to The Netherlands I printed information about this problem from internet and sent it to her.) A month earlier there had been a problem too. The specialist said he had notr intervened at that moment because he thought the situation would re-establish itself. This was the second pregnancy that had gone wrong.
Luncheon: spaghetti, gravy, chicken, pumpkin, cabbage salad. Swept the classroom and made preparations for lessons next year. Packed the small suitcase for my stay in Ghanzi and put things that had to go to The Netherlands in the large suitcase. Had a pleasant rest.
Supper: rice, tinned meat hash, pumpkin, red spinach, cabbage salad. Did not do much during the remaining evening.
27 Sep 2016
The fact that the attachments were finished also meant that the principal was not going to make his tour to the schools any longer. It was important for me to see how things were going on in schools. Although the chance to get to know a preschool class was very slim, most primary schools do not have one yet. The students in group 1 who were too late shifted the blame onto the taxi drivers, who always were too late, so they said. I told them that it is common knowledge that taxis always are late, leave earlier. Suddenly I wondered if the students would have an agenda to write down their homework. No one had one. With four A4 sheets they made one. The sheets were folded in half and in the middle sewn together. On the front of the thus created booklet they had to write: Agenda, their name and the starting and ending date. The starting date I had set on Monday 3 October.
I wrote on the board where the lines should be made to write the day and date. This did not go well with everybody. A few did not make any horizontal lines, but had drawn a framework on the first page. I told them it was looking beautiful, but this had not been the instruction. The group was very restless, there was a lot of going in and out, it was said to go to the toilet, or to fill their water bottle. I pointed out that they ought to do this during break. The principal came to tell that the Nampol management had decided to declare Wednesday also as a holiday. The boarders would be collected at 7 am and the security guard/ cook also would leave. That meant, that I would be by myself until Monday and not be able to work in the classroom. It was not possible for me to leave, as on Sunday there was an appointment to visit one of our sponsored students. On top of that, they had frightened me so much with thieves and burglars, that being alone was not possible. This I have mentioned. Group 2 also made an agenda, with the same results.
Luncheon: rice, red spinach, meat a little bit less tough. Some senior students came to see me in the classroom. One of them remarked about the handicraft works: “This is what preschool education is about.” All of them wanted to follow the lessons too. I made an evaluation list for the student’s work. On Monday morning the students will display their works, in the afternoon these will be evaluated. During the Farewell Ceremony they will be given their certifcate. The secretary came to let me know that a consultation will be held about being alone the coming days. I explained to the evening class students how to make an agenda, they will do this at home. Again it was a day full of stress.
Supper: porridge, red spinach, gravy. I gave the students some peanuts and raisons. At half a tin of fish. It became rather windy, at 9.30 pm I went outside, a few drops of rain came down.
26 Sep 2016
Slept well. At breakfast the milk that I had bought was missing, the cook had forgotten to put it on the table. I offered one of the students a glass of milk, this was not appreciated. But all the students wanted to add milk to their porridge. The chairs had not been returned to the classroom, I asked for 15 but got less. There were few students, they were not really interested in the lesson. The students who had been on their attachments were in a classroom close to mine making an awful racket. They should have worked by themselves, but most of them were shouting on top of their voices to drown out the others, although a small group was not bothered by this and were bend over their work in concentration. I closed the door of my classroom, but this did not keep the noise out and it became very hot.
A student announced that the trip to the Lions Zoo was planned for tomorrow. I knew about the trip, but the date was unknown. I was pretty angry that I had not been told. The Friday was already lost as a school day. In the diner the weekly menu was stuck on a door. While I was copying it the cook asked why I was writing. “Because I am writing.”
Luncheon: porridge, extremely tough meat, not edible, red spinach. I gave the students a banana each. When I came across the director, he told me the other director wanted a talk to me. It concerned the new student, would I allow him to enter the course? They could not find a better one. ?? A strange question as the decision to choose him had already been made. I mentioned that I was worried about the gap between secondary education and a vocational training. Specifically the lack of fluency of the English language gave me doubts. Were they capable of following lessons in psychology in English? According to the director their knowledge of written English was better than their spoken English. But when I judge by their letters, I wonder. In any case, it was too late to find another student. I had taken for granted that immediately after the decision was made which student could follow the course, a letter was sent to let this be known. But this still had to be done and the contract for the course still had to be signed. It was printed on paper with the SEMK logo on it. This gave me a strange feeling, and I asked how they had got it. It was copied from a letter I had sent to one of our students. I paid the school fee, but not the exam fee, in case this student also breaks off his study or is sent away. After the payment there still was Pula 2.300 (about € 207) left over from the money we paid for the car mechanic student, I left it for my next visit. The trip to the Lions Zoo was cancelled as only two students had paid the Pula 200. President Khama has declared Thursday as an extra national holiday, because the day after Independence Day is a Saturday, and as this is already a day off, he gave an extra one. Another teaching day gone.
I cannot remember what we had for luncheon. One of the students asked for a paracetamol, she had a headache and fever. The new teacher had not returned from her weekend visit to Gaborone. Took pictures of the handicrafts in the classroom. For evening class there were four students, they worked as usual, concentrated. They asked me to ask the principal if the lesson could be lengthened by half an hour, until 7 pm. That was fine, but it was rather useless as they began to chat too much, which I pointed out to them.
Supper: macaroni, tinned meat hash, cabbage salad. I shared out some peanuts and raisons to the boarders. I feel very tired, not only physically, but also from all the unexpected changes.
25 Sep 2016
Woke up at 1 am, ate some peanuts at 4 am, rose at 6.30 am. No wonder I feel tired during the day. Trimmed the hair of the self-made doll and wrote in my diary. Tried to solve the tests in an old Kangeroo test (international arithmetic test for 13 and 14 year old children) and found it very difficult. I was hoping to find a test which could be solved by the students. I asked one of the students if she wanted to come to the shop to buy ingredients for tonight’s supper, which she and another student did. I bought German sausages (according to them they were the nicest), lemonade to make ice-creams (I had brought ice-cream molds), eggs, small cups of fruit yoghurt, peanuts and raisons, apples and bananas. Together Pula 136,35 (about € 13). Have asked the cook if he could cook the sausages for supper. The students wanted to watch the Botswana Television Broadcast (BTV) in my room, about the announcement of the Independence celebration on 30 September. Among other things there was an oversight of Botswana history and the first president and his wife. This would be repeated every day a few times. The cook gave us an ice-cream.
Luncheon: rice, chicken (usually one, sometimes two small chicken wings), gravy, pumpkin and an egg, fried by me. Yoghurt as a sweet. After a short rest worked in the classroom on an example for recognizing the difference between small and large circles. On top of the sheet of paper I had drawn a large and a small circle, each in a different color. On the remaining paper I drew small and large circles. The children have to color them in the color which is shown on the top. Made also an example with a circle and a square. Because of the heat in the classroom I went to my room, but had left the red pen behind. Arriving at the classroom, I found the door open, though it was still locked. This is because of the rickety lock, if you move the door back- and forwards strongly, it will open without a key. Continued working on the dolls on the verandah in front of my room, but have to think about food all the time, it is only 5.20 pm.
6.30 pm: At last food. Porridge, red spinach, my sausage, which tasted disgusting !!, it seemed to consist only of bread and flour with a bit of herbs, but the students loved it and thanked me for the lovely meal.
The students came to my room to watch the Botswana news on BTV. Told Henk about buying food. His reaction was: “It is too silly that you have to buy food.` My answer: “Agree, but what else can I do.” The boarding fee is Pula 750 (about € 7,00) a month and water and electricity have to be paid from it too. The maintenance of the rooms and bathrooms is poorly, so it is not used for that. We could pay more for our student, but he cannot really been given more food than the others, so in the end no one will be better off. If it is used for food anyway. One of the students is going to ask her mother to make a doll for her pupils. I had promised to give her the purple doll as an example. (I do not think this happened, on 9 March I let her know she will get the doll in August.)
24 Sep 2016
I rose at 7 am. Washed my clothes. In Botswana people use cold water, though it is not as cold as it is in The Netherlands, and washing powder without bleach. On the washing powder packet was not printed if it was suitable for cold water. Clothing and other textiles become greyish, but that also could be due to the sand that is blown on the washing as it hangs outside. Washing powder with bleach I have not seen in the shops. Went to the shop and bought milk, plums, peanuts and raisons, bananas, tinned tuna fish and a fried sausage.
Luncheon: samp and beans. A good thing I had already eaten the sausage (which cold does not taste very nice) and one plum.
Accompanied three boarders when they went to buy airtime at a stall along the main road. We talked about the food and the safety of their rooms. Complaints had been made about it already and improvements were going to be made. They wanted a lock on the gate before the entrance to their rooms. They told that once at 8 am two men with knifes entered their room and forced them to hand over their telephones. The director did not want them to report it to the police because they did not know who they were. Besides, she told them, their friends had done it. (And they did not know who did it???) It seemed a strange story to me, but maybe not in Botswana. We talked about my lessons. They were of the opinion that they were useful to them for their study. They had tried to get on the computer to Google, but had not succeeded. They had not read the curriculum.
Supper: macaroni, tinned meat hash, pumpkin. De tv broadcasted a boxing match for a change. Went to my room to get plums for the boarders, and back to my room to read. Made some notes about my ideas of the effects of malnutrition and living in seclusion on the development of the Bushmen. While writing this report I noticed that it did not make much sense.
23 Sep 2016
Was still awake at 0.50 am. A tin of baked beans or fish would suit me fine. I got the tin opener and a small plastic spoon, which I had brought to give someone as a present, out to be ready for it. I shall also have a look for a snack for the students in the evening, peanuts and raisons for example.
Woke up at 5 am, rose at 5.30 am. Worked hard to finish the speech, as the ceremony was to start at 8 am. I put the doll (copy of myself) and for every student a finger mouse in my bag. Made a dash for the new building, arrived two minutes late, to find no one there. This gave me the opportunity to put in my earrings, put a new memory card into the camera, draw lines on some sheets of paper for the students to write down their name and look at the ceremony program. Read: 09.00 Arrival of guests. Returned to my room, made tea. Sent a text message to the student who had asked money for her bus ticket to ask if she was coming. She was on her way.
Returned to ceremony location. On the way I was stopped at the Nampol office, because the Guest of Honour, the head of the District Department of Education, was on his way to Nampol, we had to wait for him. I requested to ask him a few questions. He arrived at 9 am and we were allowed to have a conversation in an office. Although at the start he was not very interested, the more I told him about what I had been doing, the more questions he asked and was telling me things too. It became a long conversation. He told that since Independence in 1966 the priority had been on making all people literate (quantity) and recently a start was made to improve the quality of the education. Politics had made fine plans for this, but had forgotten to add money. There still were schools without materials, tables and chairs suitable for children, and modern toilets. He told about a lost girl. It was feared that she might have fallen in the cesspit during a visit to the toilet. Police, ambulance and fire brigade were summoned, until someone got the idea to call the mother. The child had gone home during break. The Nampol principal gave us a tour through and along all the buildings, ending in the new building. It took until 11 am for the ceremony to start.
The original program was as follows:
09.00: Arrival of guests. 09.15: Constitution of the assembly (Guest of Honour). 09.20: National Anthem (Nampol choir). 09.25: Opening prayer (Reverend). 09.30: Introduction of staff. 09.40: Entertainment (Nampol choir). 09.50: Welcoming remarks (vice principal). 09.55: Entertainment (poem). The teacher.
A teacher: I am a teacher, behind that doctor is me, a teacher. Behind that economist, is me, a teacher. Above all those astronomers, is me, a teacher. I carry the light even though they mostly make jokes of me, but I am a teacher. I don’t qualify for any ESP house or earn enough to buy an expensive one but I am a teacher. Some think or even say that I have too many holidays, not knowing that I spend those holidays either correcting papers or planning on how and what I am going to teach when I go back to school because I am a teacher. Sometimes I get confused and even get stressed by the ever changing policies by politicians who have political powers over what and how I teach, despite all that, I am a teacher and I have to teach and I am teaching. On pay days I don’t laugh like others do but by the next day I have to come with a smile to those I teach. The main source of my satisfaction is when I see them growing, succeeding, having all those assets and bravely facing the world and its challenges and I will say: yes, I have taught in spite of living in a world opened by google. It doesn’t matter how they look at me, it doesn’t matter how much more they earn than me, it doesn’t matter that they drive while I walk, because all they have is through me, a teacher. Whether they acknowledge me or not, I am a teacher. Teachers, be proud of your selves, be amazing and dedicated teachers. Thank you.
10.05: Introduction of Mrs Corrie (Director). A photographer took the camera from my hand and took pictures of us: the director, the principal, the Guest of Honour and our two sponsored students, standing beside each other. The director praised SEMK’s efforts to teach handicrafts for preschool children to the students, and particularly the sponsoring of a few students. 10.15: Speech (Mrs Corrie). 10.30: Entertainment (Nampol choir). 10.40: Speech and introduction of Guest of Honour (principal). Launching of Nampol website. (As there was a power failure, this was postponed.) 11.10: Entertainment (DJ). 11.15: Speech (Guest of Honour). 11.30: Entertainment (Nampol choir). 11.40: Conferring of certificates. The Master of Ceremony gave the certificate to the principal, who passed it on to the principal of the Early Childhood and Education course who called out the name, and passed it on to the director; she took it out of the envelope and gave it to me to give it to the students, with a knitted mouse. This took some time as they all wanted a picture to be taken of the two of us. Capping of graduates and presentation of certificates. 12.25: Presentation of awards. (First price: Pula 500, second price: gift coupon Pula 400, third price: gift coupon Pula 250.). 12.35: Entertainment: Nampol choir. 12.40: Presentation of present to guests (director). My present was a beautiful large wood carving of a Bushman with a bow and arrow.12.45: Vote of thanks. 12.50: Dissolution of assembly (Guest of Honour). 12.55: Closing prayer. 13.00: Refreshments. Thank you for coming, Tsamayang sentle.
I think it was 1.30 pm by then. So the actual duration of the ceremony was one and a half hour shorter. A lot of pictures and films had been taken already during the ceremony, now everyone went outside for a photo shoot. Selfies with me, pictures taken by others, sometimes eight photographers at once. The flashing lights became irritating so I was glad when at last this was finished. Luncheon was served in the new library. I was at a table with the principal and the Guest of Honour. Two delicious pieces of chicken, two cold pieces of fried potato, two thin slices of cucumber. Because of the animated conversation I could not eat the chicken as quickly as I had wished for. Went to take the doll, who had been sitting on the table in front of me during the ceremony, to my room. Returned to the new building to talk to students, but they all had gone. Had a conversation with the parents of the director and a friend of them. She told me that the exercises I had taught the director to get rid of her stiff shoulders and back, she also was doing. Searched for an interesting book in the school library, found nothing. I took a copy of the curriculum of the Early Childhood and Education course, which was difficult to read because there were parts still needing to be added or changed. The curriculum is taken from teaching methods used in Namibië.
Supper: spaghetti, tinned fish hash, beetroot, baked beans. The boarders were given only bread and baked beans. Probably I was given some leftover from lunch.
22 Sep 2016
Went to the classroom at the usual time, we were to leave at 8 am for the schools. At 7.45 the principal came to say that we did not go, as he was needed for the preparations of the graduation ceremony. I told him that I had not prepared anything for the lesson. A few students came, apologized for being too late, for which I did not blame them. While I was away for a minute, someone came to say that the students had to go to a meeting. At 9.10 a student came to tell them again. They did not want to leave, because permission to leave should have been asked from me. The student left and the secretary came to explain that the message only concerned group 2, they had to take their chairs to the room where the graduation ceremony was going to be held.
Group 2 was small, which was pleasant, the students got more attention and the atmosphere was enjoyable. The boisterous student was polite, friendly and happy with a compliment I gave her. She smiled. One student asked some personal questions. Another one promised to bring a fat cake because I had been yawning and had explained that I was tired, hungry and thirsty. A student sang a song for me. “My mother was a kitchen lady, my father was a garden boy. That’s why I am a hard worker, that’s why I am a hard worker.” She said that she had written it. I asked if it could be placed on the SEMK website, including her name. That was fine. But later she took this back, because her husband would not approve that the whole world could see her name with the song. Others spoke out their appreciation for the help we gave to people in Botswana. I asked them to write a little note for Henk to thank him.
Back in my room there was a text message from our other sponsored student. The director had let her know that she had not paid for the graduation ceremony. I let her know that we had paid for it. Went to the director in her office, where there was a slight panic as the file with the payment and the surname of the student could not be found. The director now could remember payment had been made. She told me she had asked the principal of the school where the student worked to give her leave for the afternoon and next day. De cook/ security guard came to ask for the key of my classroom so he could take out some of the chairs.
Luncheon: dumpling, a too tough piece of meat which was no use to me, red spinach, gravy.
The chairs had not returned when group 3 arrived. But there were two broken chairs, when you sat on them you had to get up quickly otherwise you would have been catapulted forward. At my request a few chairs were brought in. One of the students regularly told that she wants to go to Scotland to live there. I have explained that she will find it very cold out there. And there are men who wear skirts. Another student mentioned that in her church there also are men wearing skirts. While they were working zealously, I placed the finished works neatly on the tables in the back and side end of the classroom. The materials which were not needed any more or for which there was no time to do something with were put in the store box.
I felt pretty irritated. Not only 23 September is lost as a school day, but also 30 September (celebration 50 years independence, called Bots50) and 29 September. As the day after Independence Day is a Saturday, the President has called out the day before as a national holiday too.
Supper: porridge, gravy, red spinach, apple. Watched the tv soap. It is about people who have problems which they themselves maintain. A scene often ends with a close up of someone’s face showing a desperately helpless expression. No attempt is made to find a solution for the problems. Would they know in South Africa and Botswana the expression: “mopping up the wet floor while the tap is still running so the bath and sink are overflowing”? (I have just asked a student, 4 March 2017, she did not know the expression but understood it). There also was a report on the South African students strike. Wrote the draft for tomorrow’s speech. I woke up at 11.30 pm from feeling hungry. I ate four biscuits. Tomorrow I am going to buy milk and sausage, or other food which contains protein and fats. Lack of this nutrition appears to influence my memory and being able to see things in perspective. I will have another biscuit and shall try to sleep.
21 Sep 2016
Woke up at 3.15 am and did not really sleep much after that. During breakfast I had a conversation with one of the students about the differences between students concerning zeal, initiative and working speed. Was this due to their (lack of) confidence, support and encouragement of their parents, or genetically? The student thought all three. I mentioned that I would like to continue talking about this another time, but this never happened.
Group 1 was noisy. I wanted to give them the left over pieces of embroidery threads to stuff the heads of the ghost dolls. But in the bag were also long threads, some two meters long. I told them that I was angry and feeling very silly for bringing an extra suitcase with materials which had cost me € 80, while they were so careless with it. It was a bit over the top, in fact more a warning that they had to be economical as there was so little of everything in Botswana. I cancelled the lessons for tomorrow and explained what the reason was.
At 10.30 am I locked the door of the classroom, not one student had arrived. A few minutes later they were knocking on the door. I went outside to tell them they were too late. The excuse was that they had to look at results of tests. My reaction was that they should have been in time for the lesson. I left them outside and went in search for the principal of Early Childhood and Education, because he was not in his office. He was supervising an exam and the other principal was in a meeting. While I tried to find a solution for the problem I sent them to their own classroom. A little while afterwards the new teacher came to see what the noise was about, she stayed to supervise. The secretary succeeded in getting the principal out of the meeting. After having given an explanation of why the students were not in my classroom, he told that everybody was having problems with this group. On the whole students in Botswana are different from the ones in Zambia. The new teacher had mentioned this already. My impression from what they told me was that discipline was stricter in Zambia. The principal went to have a talk with the students. The other principal had finished with the exams and came to confirm our trip to the schools tomorrow. I suggested that after my journey to Ghanzi, 7 or 10 October, to ask the students to exhibit their work, write down what they had made and possibly mark it. He will find out if this is a good idea. Have started to put some of the yarns into the store box for next year.
Luncheon: rice, chicken, beetroot. The new teacher came to tell that group 2 had been quiet under her supervision. Maybe the Zambian approach is better after all? Continued taking out the usable threads from the bag with short threads and sorted out the colors. On the board I wrote the titles of the songs we have sung and also of the handicrafts.
Group 3 was as they always were. They worked on paper chains, toilet roll and ghost dolls until 6.35 pm.
Supper: macaroni, minced meat, gravy, beetroot. One of our sponsored students, who lived elsewhere in Botswana, called the cook/ security guard to ask me to send her money for a bus ticket to go to the graduation service on the 23rd. I let her know by text message : “Sorry, no. I thought you have a job, did you lose it?” No reaction. Watched a soap on South African tv for a while. In the afternoon I was reminded (it was the first time I heard about it) that I have to give a speech at the graduation service. I started to write it down.
20 Sep 2016
Group 1 again was easy going, though they were a bit more boisterous, but worked with concentration. They are quicker to understand the instructions, quicker than most students in group 2. They clearly felt more at ease, as they were talking in Setswana English, which is a mixture of Setswana and English. For a moment I thought their English was poor, but apparently it was not, it was done on purpose. The principal brought the copied coloring plates, I did not have to pay for them.
Half of group 2 was present. I gave the woman who often is contrary a place in front of the class. A few times I had to warn that there was too much noise. At 11 am someone shouted: “Time up!” I thought it was a prank to see if I would fall for it another time to send them away earlier. So I said it was only 11am and there was another hour to go. At 11.20 someone mentioned they should have been at a meeting at 11 o’clock, concerning the graduation ceremony on 23 September. Funny the principal had not informed me about this. I had a conversation with the principal of the Early Childhood and Education course about group 2 presently being quiet. Thursday I will accompany him on his round to the schools where students fulfill their attachments. Sorted the coloring plates, there should have been 25 of each. Two had 24 copies, four had one or two too many. Two were handed in on thick paper and had been copied on thick paper which was not asked for. An attempt will be made to find something to hold the sets together but in such a way that they easily can be taken apart to print them. They will be given to last year’s students at their graduation ceremony, they can use them for their pupils. 25 Students are expected to come.
Luncheon: macaroni, tinned meat hash, cabbage salad. After that I swept the classroom, cleared my small table (because it is small I also use a chair to put materials on). Went to the computer lab to try out the internet. I had told the students that on the internet one could find the answers to all one wanted to know, but wanted to try out if this also is possible in Botswana. It was impossible to find the weather forecast for Ghanzi, strange advertisements appeared. Kalahari Arms came up in an advertisement, without prices. After I clicked on it an ad from the Dqae Qare Farm appeared. Asked the computer lecturer, he did not fare better. He suggested to try Fire Fox, which neither succeeded. I gave up. Cleared some more in the classroom. The long tables in the back and on one side are going to be used to exhibit the pricked out houses, toilet roll- and ghost dolls. (see pictures on home page.)
Evening class was peaceful as usual. It is a shame that these lessons are shorter. From 5 till half six is already short, but if the students arrive towards half five, there is not enough time to follow the same program as during the day. We have sung a couple of songs and I also set them a few times a word where the characters had been mixed up and one character was missing. Apart from that, on Friday evening there were no lessons at all.
Supper: porridge and red spinach. Yesterday, when looking at the drawings, I noticed one drawing which had a house with smoke coming out of a chimney. I never have seen a house with a chimney in Botswana. The artist did have a good look at the Wijster drawings though. Others had blue clouds (one also a pink one), the sky remained white. Some students also depicted the sky like that in their drawings. One student was of the opinion that this was also in reality, until she had a look out of the window. When in the evening I left the diner I said “Good night” they told me to say it in Setswana, “Robala sentle”. Not easy to remember if you feel tired, but today I was successful.
19 Sep 2016
Handed the coloring plates to be copied in to the principal. Group 1 was pleasant to be with. I taught them the song “One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow. One man and his dog went to mow a meadow. Two men went to mow, went to mow a meadow. Two men, one man and his dog, went to mow a meadow. Three men went to mow,” etc.. It is a simple song, but because of the repetitions in it and the counting backwards you have to stay alert. Which the students were better at than I was and they sung it without failing and enjoyed it.
Most students of group 2 were too late. I had to take in two telephones and gave the last warning, next time they are not given back. At 11.30 am I announced that I did not want to hear another word and indeed, until 11.45 it was quiet. Some of them worked well. The principal came with the new teacher to introduce her.
I went to the office at 5 minutes past noon for the interview with the two students. Had to wait for the director, and noticed that I had forgotten to bring the money for their bus tickets. Quickly collect this, plus some for a drink on their way back and an apple. Arriving at the office, I had forgotten the money for the bus tickets. Collected it, back at the office the others had left for the new office. Could not find it. Back to the old office, there was someone waiting for me who took me to the correct place. And then I had forgotten my pen. The interviews were not as informal as we are used to. There was a large distance with the students. In turn they came to present themselves. They had brought their school certificate. I was not impressed by their marks (letters are used, A is highest, F is failure). The highest on the certificates was a D. I would have preferred A’s and B’s, but students with these marks are picked up immediately by universities, I was told. The students were sent to the diner where they were served with porridge and red spinach. The choice was made to sponsor the man for the Early Childhood and Education course, which I agreed with. Although I had some doubt, because he had been out of work for four years. But the others saw this as an advantage, he had learned how hard the life of a jobless person is. He will start on 5 October. This had not been told to him, a letter will be send. Blankets and toiletries will be provided by the council. SEMK will give him a small monthly allowance for airtime etc.
Luncheon: porridge, red spinach, sauce, real meat. The student who had given the drawings from Wijster to her pupils, gave me the drawings made by her pupils. I had to look at all of them and pronounce the names of the artists, which was not successful with most of them.
Evening class went well, the students did some work at home because the lessons only take 1 hour and 30 minutes and they did not get on with it.
Supper: spaghetti, tinned fish hash, cabbage salad. Watched tv and considered what to do in next day’s lessons.
18 Sep 2016
It was cold. I have cancelled my plan to buy a tent for my stay in Ghanzi. I shall stay two nights at Thakadu Camp to visit Xwaa at the farm, go next day to Ghanzi town to see Marica, stay the night at the Kalahari Arms Hotel and return to Nampol the next morning. The bus rank is five minutes’ walk from the hotel. I was supposed to have been collected to go to church at 9.30 am. At 9.45 I went to the house of this person, she was waiting for me. My skirt was considered suitable for a church visit, but my bare arms had to be covered by the jacket I happened to have with me and a cloth was tied around my head. I looked like a Batswana who had taken a bath in bleach water. We were taken by car to the church. Luckily we got seats in the back. There were many speeches, some were short, some were long and so were the songs. We often had to get up and sit down again. The singing was not as beautiful as in D’Kar and after a while it became boring and made me feel drowsy.
It was discovered that there was a stranger in the church, an assistant priest announced this in English and wanted to know who I was. I had been prepared for this and was only allowed to tell my name, that I came from The Netherlands and had come with a friend. Later the chief priest remarked on it also. To his opinion I should have been shown respect by putting me in the front seat so everybody could see the visitor. After the service I thanked the chief priest to have been allowed to be present and got an invitation for a meeting at the stadium a week later. Kindly thanked him, but I did not have time.
Luncheon: rice, chicken, pumpkin, cabbage salad. Spend the afternoon being idle and wondered why people in Botswana keep dogs. At best they get little food and are allowed to walk around, but often they are tied to a tree with a rope or a metal wire and no one gives them attention.
At 7 pm the two students arrived for the interview tomorrow, a 25 year old man and a 17 year old woman. Although the conversation went laborious due to not understanding each other’s English, the man told that he wanted to be a teacher to assist children to go on to higher education so they could become a government official and in that way improve Botswana. The woman could not put her story into words and wrote it down in English. From which with difficulty it could be understood that she wanted to follow the course because this is easy, it also is easy to teach children and supervise them. She really wanted to be a translator at a primary school. The government employs translators for children who do not speak Setswana and teachers who do not speak the language of the children.
Supper: The two students were given porridge and red spinach, I was given sauce and cabbage salad as well. I wanted to sit at their table, but it did not seem pleasant for them to see from close by that I was given more than they had. The principal entered the canteen and we talked about the price of copying the coloring plates. To get the price down I shall choose a number of them and give this to him tomorrow. I gave the drawings the pre school children in Wijster had made to the student who is doing her attachment at a local primary school, told her by whom they were made, for children in Botswana and asked her if she could pass them on to her children. A few students looked at them with interest.
17 Sep 2016
Slept a bit longer. After breakfast cleaned the windows of the class room. There was not a sponge and a chamois leather to be found in the shop, so I bought three dishcloths. Washing the windows went well, but drying them was impossible as 60% of the cloth is made of synthetic fiber. As dishcloth they also are useless. Felt a bit dizzy. Drank a glass of water a powder used against dehydration. Not that I felt dehydrated, but that my usual low blood pressure had become too low. It worked, anyway. Went by public taxi t to the Spar food store at 11.45 am to buy extra food. Returned at 0.25 pm.
Luncheon: macaroni, tinned fish hash, cabbage salad, pumpkin. Said hello to the new teacher, she will teach the Early Childhood and Education students. Worked on a mouse and a doll, took pictures of a tree which suddenly was full of bunches of small lilac flowers. The trees are turning green and it seemed as the air was slightly less dry. I once asked someone how the trees can grow flowers and leaves when it has not rained for half a year. He said that the trees can feel that the rains are coming. There also are more mosquitoes.
Supper: two slices of white bread, margarine, baked beans, cabbage salad, tea and a biscuit I bought at the Spar. Worked on a doll. Was told that teachers earn Pula 4.200 a month. Nearly all students who graduated at Nampol this year will continue their study (3 or 4 years) in a government program and will receive an allowance of Pula 2.100 a month.
16 Sep 2016
De security guard could not open the lock on the gate in front of his door and had to climb through a window. If you can get from the inside to the outside, you can get from the outside to the inside. Would that not have been an easier way for the burglars? In other words, had there been burglars? Kept quiet about it. Was late arriving at the classroom, the students were waiting at the door. They forgave me. They worked well, also group 2. Four students were in time, some absent and the others too late. At 12 noon one of the students did not want to stop coloring her picture, she did not have pencils and had to borrow them from other students. Her mother did not have the money for it. I advised her to discuss this with the principal. She considered this for an unclear reason not a good idea. Later on I told the Director about it, who could not understand that if she was capable of paying the school fee, there would not be money for materials.
Luncheon: samp and brown beans. The car mechanic student came to collect his clothes and books. The boarders were very happy to see him. Most of the clothes and books fitted in his bag, but some had to be left behind as in a public taxi one get take only one bag. The bedroom was fitted with two bunkbeds with thin matrasses, little wardrobe space, a small table with a table cloth and curtains which were sagging a bit. There was no ceiling. We had a conversation with the Director. From this a number of facts appeared, which could have made the ending of the study understandable, but there were answers missing to some questions. Like: Had the student been chased away, or did he abscond? What had been the cause? It seemed to me impossible and useless to get to the truth. It would have become a yes it is, no, it is not story. A shame. But I could do nothing else as ascertain that from The Netherlands it is impossible to keep sight on what is happening in Botswana. I decided to sponsor the student we are looking for at the moment (with the money that was left over from what we had paid for the car mechanic student) and after that to discontinue all sponsorships, except for Marica. Henk agreed with this.
At last two new lamps have been fitted in the classroom. So on Monday the evening students can see what they are doing. The workmen left the place in a mess. I cleaned the tables and the cleaner swept the floor and together we moved the tables back to their places. It is Friday, so there is no evening class.
Supper: I forgot what it was. I showed the security guard the pricker and asked if he could make a thing like that. No problem. (To make a long story short, he did not make them, in spite that I asked him several times..) The new teacher had arrived from Zambia. The two principals also are from Zambia.
15 Sep 2016
Felt a bit tired. Before the start of the lessons I inspected the knitting done by the students. The work had not improved. Two small pieces had been knitted, the other students did not go farther than the casting on, which was done in a sloppy manner. I unpicked all of it and put the yarn and needles away. Group 1 worked hard again. The knitters were surprised their work had gone. I explained that the progress was too slow and therefore there would not be enough time for then to do the other craft works, which were more important. They understood.
One student had made on her own initiative a drawing with the piece of paper that was left over after the picture was cut out of a card. She had stuck it on an A4 sheet of paper, where the house had been taken out she had drawn windows and a door, around it a garden with a gate in front and clouds in the sky. During the next days, the other students copied this. It was a shame that some of the leftover of the cards had been thrown away. I shall remember this for next year. A start has been made to make a doll from the carton in a toilet roll paper. Face and body were drawn on it and colored, the ends of two small strips of paper were at right angles glued together and in turn folded on top of each other (see the Nampol pictures on the home page). They were stuck to the roll as arms and legs. On the top of the head holes were made with the pricker, threads of wool were pulled through and a nice hairstyle was created. Several students had not colored the face which made the doll look like a ghost. They became scared, even did a step backwards, when I asked if this was their intention. In spite of me reminding the students a few times a day to bring all their materials, in the whole group there was only 1 Prettix paper glue stick. The owner found it difficult to let others use it. I told her that if she could share, they would bring her a “fat cake” (in South Africa known as “fat boy”) the next day. (it is a favorite snack during break, bought at a stall along the main road.) Suddenly more sticks appeared.
There was a pleasant atmosphere in group 2. All I had to say was “I am waiting”, and a student pointed out to another one that his cap had to come off, which happened immediately. Maybe the principal had spoken to them earlier in the morning? When the cap had been taken off, a pencil showed up behind the student’s ear, he did not know, so he said. When the talking became too loud, I said “This is not a whispering voice.” And “I can hear the gossip you are telling.” After a while one of the students said “You do not speak Setswana.” I beckoned him not to tell anyone else. I also told them it sounded like we were standing on a market. One student has started work on the peepshow box. Have suggested to furnish it like a room, or a landscape, or a shop with fruit or something.
Had a snooze. Luncheon: spaghetti, beetroot, small piece of real meat, a bit of sauce with a small piece of carrot. I have supplemented it with a few biscuits. Swept my room, tidied the classroom, stuck puzzles on the wall, paperchains and papier mats on the windows. (See pictures on the website’s home page.) A few men were fixing an iron bar gate in front of the security guard’s room. Sparks flew around and had burned holes in the doormat. The door looks solid, but the padlock was small and seemed easy to break.
Group 3 was relaxed again. There still was no answer to the letter. Maybe the student did not pass it on because she had not told the truth? She was not late because of having done overtime?
Supper: Porridge, red spinach. Watched tv soap, it is becoming addicting. In fact, I was too tired to get up to go to my room. At 8 pm the tv was switched off and we were sent out of the diner. Read in the health book and played patience. This I never do, but at the moment it is relaxing. I brought the cards as educational material. As the battery of my watch was empty, I used the wind up alarm clock (brought for the song about the mouse). The ticking sound kept me awake, so I put it in the wardrobe, also for not disturbing the spider. Haha.
Thinking about locks. After my stay at Nampol in 2016 I realized that if I could not open the door by myself, no one from outside would be able to get in. The iron barred door is locked by a padlock hanging on the inside of the door, which was too large to be reached from the outside. The windows are protected by solid iron bars, fixed to the window frames. A smaller padlock was put on today, which can be opened from outside.
14 Sep 2016
Was woken up by noise last night, it sounded like someone tried to break in somewhere. The security guard, who lives on the campus, told this morning that an attempt had been made to break into some of the empty rooms, and also in his room. He did not have air time to call someone, although an emergency call to the police is free of charge. I gave him Pula 10 for air time. (Some weeks later he told me how much he earned. He easily could have bought air time with that.) The attempted break in made me rather scared.
Group 1 arrived in time. The cards to make the puzzle are 15 cm x 10,5 cm. Several students did not know what half of 15 and half of 10 and a half was. Half of 15 is 7,2? I wrote on the board 7.2 and under this 2x. Was that 15? No. Someone suggested 7.4? Wrote this on the board too. Was this 15? No, neither. After that someone wrote the correct answer on the board. Finding half of 10.5 cm was even more difficult, but was found after some time. They have started to make paper chains by cutting slits in the sides of strips of newspaper, I stuck a few to the window, to make it look nice from the outside. Small strips of paper were chained together for another kind of chain. Paper napkins were folded thrice and on all sides small different patterned pieces were cut out. When folded open, it made a small tablecloth with a pattern of holes.
Group 2 was a disaster. Too late, two caps stayed on heads, they were noisy. Singing songs did not help to restore order. The knitters still were making a mess of their knitting, it seemed they were doing it because they enjoyed it, not to learn something. They said not to have money to buy knitting needles and wool. This group gave the same answers to the questions what is half of 15 and 10.5. They also found the correct answer in the end. It appeared that in Botswana another method of arithmetic is used. For example: for 8:2=, they use 2-/-8=. This -/- is not the correct sign, the right one is not on my keyboard. The left line is connected to the bottom of the diagonal line, the one on the right side to the top of this line. Making the chains and the tablecloth they did with enthusiasm, the loud talking continued. After I had sent them away at 12 noon, I noticed it only was 11.30 am. I went to tell them they left half an hour early. They knew, but thought I sent them away earlier because I was angry. The truth or a fib? Explained that this was not the reason, I had not looked at the clock properly.
The doll which I made last year to leave behind as a copy of myself was brought. Luncheon: rice, chicken, cabbage salad, cold beetroot. Watched on tv the news about the hurricane in Taiwan and surroundings. My ears were aching from the loud, sharp voices of the students. As one of the principals described it, they shriek like sales women on a market. Washed clothes. Went to the classroom and discussed the students of group 2 with the principal. He experienced the same problem and agreed it would be good to separate the disturbers. And if that was not the solution to send them to him. Talked with director about choosing a new student, I advised to invite five for an interview. Their traveling expenses would be paid by me. Two youngsters are going to be invited for an interview coming Monday.
To make an example for a peepshow box I managed to cut a hole to look through in a carton box. Hang more cards on the wall. Took the washing off the line. Made tea ( I did this so often that I stop writing about it, just like about all the glasses of water I have drunk).
Off to the classroom, the students were late. The student I had given a letter for her boss told me there had been no reaction. Sung Father Jacob in different languages, they had translated it into Setswana. I tried singing it too, but did not succeed at all. Supper: rice, tinned fish hash, cold beetroot, cabbage salad. Watched a tv soap. Looked through the book about natural medicine. It is divided in illnesses and what the symptoms are. With a list of the medicines you can find in nature and which you can buy in a shop. Could not sleep, at 12 midnight I ate a biscuit and a few pieces of liquorice, that did the trick.
13 Sep 2016
The students in the first group arrived in time. They made a ball from a piece of newspaper and tied it together with a piece of yarn, with a loose piece of string hanging from it. At the end of the string a loop was made. When you put your finger in this loop and hold it tight, you can throw the ball and it will come back. When young, we used to have great fun throwing the ball at people, who were frightened it would hit them. We made sure it did not. A piece of elastic thread gave even more fun. The students enjoyed it too. A few students wanted to knit. From experience I know that teaching knitting takes an awful lot of time. I allowed the students who could knit to do so. It went wrong straight away, because some did not know how to make the starting loop on the needle, or made a mess of it. But I let them continue.
When we sang the English version of Frére Jaques, one of the students who came from the Belgian Congo sang it in French and wrote it down on the board. After that, I sang it in Dutch. The students were quick to pronounce the foreign texts correctly. They sang a Botswana song in English to the same tune for me. “Mother is cooking, soup and meat, unions and tomatoes, come and eat.” The singing often was too enthusiastic and loud, and I had to tell them to be more quiet. Which in fact is a pity.
The second group was very boisterous, but they worked hard. They had finished the cards and the paper ball. The next job was making a drawing on a card, coloring it and cutting the card in four pieces, so it became a jigsaw puzzle. Some of them made the drawing too simple, the pieces looked similar. When I discovered several telephones on the tables I became angry and the telephones disappeared quickly. The noise of the conversations became louder again. Botswana people have a sharp, loud voice, and in a small space they want to drown out the others. It did not help when I told them that I did not want to hear another word until 12 noon. There also is a problem with hats and caps. They are not allowed to be worn during lessons, it seemed that three students had set up a battle to find out what my reaction would be. In the end they all came off. After class there was a visit by two other senior students.
Luncheon: spahetti, hached luncheon meat, cabbage salade. I have supplemented this with a whole meal biscuit. Had a snooze, washed clothes. Wrote a letter for one of the students who arrived last night rather late. She had to work overtime, she said. I suggested that I wrote a letter for her boss with the request to make sure she left work in time. Hung cards on the wall. Asked the cleaning woman to sweep the floor, while I moved the tables and chairs to the sides. She mentioned that she did not have money to buy air time. I muttered something as an answer. It is becoming irritating that people beg in this manner. Three of the boarders who were doing their attachment at a school came to have a look in the class.
The evening class was quiet and the students worked with full concentration. Meanwhile they chatted quietly. I gave the letter to the student. One of the students mentioned that she only could attend classes two evenings a week, the other two evenings she taught at a school, which was arranged already before she started this course. We sang “Father Jacob” in English and French. I hoped they will remember it, I did not get the impression they had written it down.
Supper: porridge, red spinache. Have thought up some craft work for tomorrow.
12 Sep 2016
The first group of students worked quietly. I asked them who bought things by instalments, no one did. When I asked them if they knew paying by instalments is more expensive than paying cash, no one answered. Sometimes I get the feeling that they think: never mind her talking. The second group was boisterous again. I gave one student who complained about a headache and stomach- ache a paracetamol. No one mentioned buying in instalments when I asked them. At 10.45 am we sang a few songs. Some of them had finished their work. Because I had not foreseen this, there was nothing else for them to do but to find the ten differences in the pictures. On account of the strong wind the door had to be locked, it kept being blown open. But now it rattled and it seemed like someone knocked on the door to be let in. After having appointed a class assistant who had to help to tidy the room, the other students left less rubbish behind them. After the lesson a few senior students of the Early Childhood and Education came into the classroom. They were full of praise for the work that had been accomplished. They were sorry that they had not been taught this kind of work.
The director at Nampol told that this year the government had not sponsored one student to study at Nampol. Colleges that have connections with the minister of Education and his wife were privileged by having students enrolled The other colleges are feeling discriminated.
After lunch I watched the English mystery serial on tv for a while. Settled some administration in Nampol’s office and asked for the sticking material for the embroidery- and weaving cards. It looked very much like a kind of putty. I stuck the cards which had been finished on the wall, and they did not fall down. In my room I translated the book Ten little mice (like the book Ten little niggers, but since the word niggers is not allowed to be used in The Netherlands, mice were used for the story) into English. However, it has not been used in the lessons. Otherwise it would have gone well with the knitted mice.
10 Sep 2016
Woke up at 5.10 am, stayed in bed until 6.45 am. Walked around the Nampol campus, searched for animal tracks, had a look at plants. There were few flowers as winter is not finished yet. The Nampol campus consists of several small single storey buildings. Three are dormitories and one is the diner/ kitchen. There are four buildings with a total of five classrooms and a building with offices and reception. It is located along a dirt road which leads to the main road from Gaborone to Molepolole, about 350 meter from the main road. I find it difficult to describe the structure of the Botswana ground, but the author E.M. Forster did (even if this was about the ground of India) in his book “A passage to India”. If I had not known any better, I would have pictured myself in Botswana after having read this description. Quotation: (Translated from the Dutch translation, so it is not the original text) “He was small and lithe, delicately built, but in fact very strong. Even so the walking tired him, like it tires everybody in India. Except for the newcomer.“ (Correct, I began to walk slower when time went on.) “The soil has got something hostile. It gives in, so that the foot sinks into a cavity, or it is unexpectedly tough and sharp and pushes stones or crystals against the foot sole. A number of these small surprises are exhausting.” The Botswana ground consists of solid rock, covered with coarse, sharp sand, in depth from nothing to 90 meters or maybe even more. In some places the solid rock appears above the sand in coarse, frayed and uneven fragments, like the tops of mountains appearing above the fog. Therefore, although you look at the ground constantly, you often trip over the rock stone. Because of the loose sand your feet cannot push off against it when walking, often making you slide backwards. This also makes running difficult. You should not push your feet off like you do on a solid surface, but jump upwards. I saw someone who lifted his heel, turned the front part of his foot 45 degrees in the sand with the heel going outwards and then pushed off, his legs continuing to move outwards until the put them on the ground again. He made good speed. Although I do not know if this was because of his special way of running. Breakfast at 8 am. Swept my room and took all the rubbish (I have stopped separating it) in a plastic bag to the rubbish shed. Once in a while this is collected and thrown into the municipalitie’s land fill. It only is taken if it is in closed bags or boxes, but everything was lying loose. It looked like the bags were torn open, which could have been done by goats, as the shed door was open. The word I have to learn today is “tswee tswee, thank you”. The resolution to learn one Setswana word a day did not last long, there was no time to concentrate on it properly. Packed my bag (toiletpaper!) to go to the shopping center. Arrived there at 10.15 am and had a look at all the shops. Found at long last a nice skirt, which also fitted. At the public toilets there was toilet paper !!!! And out of one of the water taps came water!!!!! There was nothing to dry ones hands with, but wearing an underskirt is always handy. At the internet/copy café it costs two Pula to copy an A4 sheet of paper. Went to Kentucky Fried at 11.30 am for the appointment with the car mechanic student. Just after noon someone at the Nampol reception called to say he was there. He had been at KFC earlier, but had not seen me. While eating a tasty piece of chicken he told me that during his study he had asked for help to let us know that he would like some money to buy small things for himself. He was told not to do this, it might endanger his bursary. ?????? I was alarmed, because this was a mistake on our part, he should have had pocket money. He told that students had to bath with cold water in winter and that the 18 month study suddenly was shortened to one year. There had been other problems and after four month he was sent away. He still had some clothes at Nampol which he would collect coming Friday. What I should belief of all this? I did not know. I told him that I would discuss with Henk if he had to pay back the school- and boarding fee for the four month. After returning at Nampol played rummikub. I showed the student how to play it and after one game she understood and she played a game by herself. We talked about the attachments the students were doing at that moment at primary schools, as there were no pre schools in the vicinity. One student told that there were 40 year old students in her class. Some swore at her. My suggestion was that she should write on the blackboard the things that were not allowed to be taken into the class, like telephones, sweets, chewing gum and swear words. Back in my room, a few people came to visit, one brought food. We looked at pictures taken in the CKGR. Not only have I met few people who have been in the CKGR, they also no next to nothing about the people and their culture.
9 Sep 2016
At the start of the lesson the principal came to ask how things were, meaning with the three boisterous students. I did not know, as they attend the second lesson. The students are still working on the cards. In order to prevent them from getting bored, I set them a riddle. “If you walk 10 km to the north and then 10 km to the south, how far are you from your starting point?” The most logical answer would be 0 km. But, if you are starting 10 km south of the North Pole, you can return to your starting point, or go into another direction to the south. For another riddle I had drawn a circle on the schoolboard and divided this in six parts. From a six character word I wrote five characters in random order in five parts, in the sixth a question mark. Which character ought to be in the part with the question mark? During the first lesson there was one student who knew the answer, in the second lesson there were more. While they were waiting for the pricker, or a needle, the students kept themselves occupied with “Find the differences.” From our reginal newspaper I had collected the daily published double pictures. In spite of finding it difficult to find the differences, they kept at it. Half way through the lesson I taught them English children’s songs. Today: Hickory dickory dock. For this I used an old alarm clock and one of my knitted mice. The mouse run up the clock, and when this struck one it run down. They enjoyed it. Suddenly I noticed a telephone on a table. I thanked the owner for giving me a present, while it was not even my birthday. She had a fright, and I told her that this time she was allowed to keep it, but next time I would take it in. Another one was connected to her telephone with a wire and ear plug. My “What does this mean?” made the telephone disappear very quickly. In spite of this, the lesson was enjoyable. After the break the students entered in groups, most of them too late. One jolly joker asked if I had had my break, which I answered with yes. “But I still have to drink my tea.” Which I mentioned as an excuse for having a drink in the classroom, which they are not allowed. He told me I had to drink it straight away while it was still hot, they could wait for five minutes. I found this nice thinking but started the lesson. But another group entered, and I could do nothing but keep myself busy with my tea. After that I separated the three trouble makers, and had the back row exchange seats with the front row. I was happy with the students coming up to my table. The disadvantage was, especially when there was a queue, that they talked to each other. I told them it would be better if they listened to what I was explaining. This worked for a short while. Instead of giving them a ball of wool, I now cut of the necessary length of yarn. What happened last year, and this year too, is that they worked with what we in former days called a lazy women’s thread, a thread which s three times as long as is needed. A long thread takes more time to pull through the cloth, wears down, so the last bit looks different from the first part. Apart from that, the remaining thread was thrown on the left over heap, so much was squandered. To put a thread through the eye of a needle, this was done by putting spittle on the end and to flatten it between forefinger and thumb, but this made the thread thicker instead of thinner. When you unravel the end of the thread with the needle, put a little part of it around the needle, squeeze between forefinger and thumb, pull it off the needle still squeezing, it has become flat enough to go through the needles eye. They thought this was very clever. To make a knot at the end of the yarn, they wet the thread, rolled it into a dirty little ball, which made a tiny knot. If you put the end of the thread across the needle, wind the thread four or five times around the needle, put thumb and forefinger on all this and slide it to the other end of the thread, this makes a sturdy knot. When I got the mouse out to sing Hickory some students were really scared. If they had been able to get up to walk away, they for sure would have done. After Hickory they wanted to sing Baba black sheep. The three bags full of wool, standing with their arms around each other, were singing so convincingly, that they really looked like three happy bags full of wool. Not everybody had understood what the idea was of pricking out the drawing, but after a while everybody’s picture had come out. There still are only two prickers. A waiting list had to be made. When I happen to meet the principal I forget to ask if he has seen the shoemaker. When I think about it, he is not around. After class a student asked what I wanted them to give me as a souvenir. I said a drawing by all of you. Last year I used cello tape to stick the cards which are finished on the wall. I was convinced that there were a couple of rolls in the box, but that was not the case. I asked the principal if he might have some, he would let me have something else tomorrow.
Luncheon was samp (boiled white maize) and beans. One of the boarders showed me her portfolio with paper weaving and tie and dye samples, which they had learned from a volunteer last year. Tomorrow between 3 and 4 pm they will come to play rummikub. Had an appel and a piece of biltong. Washed some clothes, it was too windy and there was too much sand in the air to hang it outside. I wonder if the clean clothes might be covered in sand when it is not windy. Read a bit and wrote a few lines. Played the recorder, it sounded awful. At half an orange and drank a cup of tea. Normally I do not eat between meals, but now I often think about food, it is becoming an obsession. Hang the washing on the line outside. Had another cup of tea and a slice of Dutch spiced cake. Fridays there are no evening classes, so supper was early. Spaghetti, luncheon meat, sauce, cabbage salad and a glass of cold water. Someone went to by airtime, I asked to bring me for Pula 100. He came back with four scratch strips each Pula 10, there was no more in stock. Watched tv in diner. This is standard set on the South African broadcasting station. They love soap serials, in which the most stupid problems, which could be solved easily, are lapped up like heartbreaking, pitiful happenings. When I asked why they enjoyed watching these, while they have enough problems of themselves, someone answered that it took their mind of their own problems. Back in my room a second large spider run away in a flash in the direction of the table. I am hoping they eat mosquitos.
8 Sep 2016
I was feeling very tired in the morning. All the students were late, except three. Several of them were boisterous, and I warned them a few times. It did not make any difference and I asked them what they would do if their pupils were this noisy. “Beat them.” (Beating is allowed in schools, as long as it is in proportion to the offence.” “Does that help?” “No.” I told a young man to bring his chair and work and sit in front of the class, which he did not mind. In this way I noticed that his work was very neatly done. This class room was far too small for 22 students. There was not enough space on the table for them to work, because they were sitting too close to each other. As mentioned before, at the back of the room there was a long table, and one along the side of the room. On the other side was the door with on either side windows. On the fourth wall was a white schoolboard for board markers. In front of this was my too small table, and in front of my table was a long one, with one side against the side table, so no one could pass there. It is suitable for four students, but it was shared by six. Behind were three single tables, with a shelf underneath the table top, so there was no space to put ones legs under it. But there was space for the door to open. Behind these were two more tables like the front one. Behind the last table stood four bar chairs, too high for the tables and also impossible to get ones knees under. I went along the tables to help the students with their work but there was not enough space between the chairs and the table, so I had to ask the students to move their chairs forward so I could pass. The result was that they also moved their table, and the space with the chairs in front became too small. Also, the students had to stop their work for a moment. If I let them come to my table, it meant that sometimes five students had to get up to let one pass. As my back was beginning to ache from bending over the tables, this seemed however the best solution and no one complained when I announced the new work method. Apparently people in Botswana are used to quite some inconveniences. In one group three students were at times quite noisy and provocative, which irritated others. In my opinion they had more energy than they could get rid of during the lesson. And maybe today they were livelier because they noticed I was behaving differently? Maybe they were disappointed because my patience was less than in previous days? I apologized for this and explained that I was feeling very tired. Later it became quieter, maybe also because I now was feeling more relaxed. Luncheon: dumpling, “soup”, boiled cabbage, carrot and tasty, very salty beef. In the classroom I placed the tables further apart from each other; it might help to move between them more easily. The first student for the evening class left again, she was ill, but she had tried to be present. There were three students, they worked well. This gave me time to unravel the bits of yarn which the day students had thrown on a heap after they were finished with them. After the lesson I asked advice from one of the principals on how to handle the three boisterous students. They were known for their disruptive behavior, he advised to put them apart from each other in the class, which I had already decided on. I declined supper, cannot remember why. In my room I had some fruit, Dutch spiced cake and a cup of tea.
7 Sep 2016
It is not literature that I offer
No, certainly it is not.
It is merely a report
Of what I have seen.
And see every day.
It still is taking too long before all the students have settled down at their tables. But the lessons went more smoothly now the wool, needles and two prickers had arrived. The students had three cards they could work on: the embroidery card, the weaving card and the “cutting out” card (when making holes very close together on the line of a drawing, the paper tears and so the picture is cut out). If they needed assistance with one card and had to wait, they could continue with the other cards. The talking became steadily louder; regularly I had to remind them to use a whispering voice. Which they did for a short while.
Luncheon: rice, gravy (which is called soup, it looked to me like water thickened with a brown powder and sometimes a few scraps of carrot, it gives some flavor to the rice, pasta or dumpling), small piece of chicken, cabbage salad and beetroot and a large orange.
I cleaned the remaining tables and four chairs. While I was at it, the cleaner came to sweep the floor. A visitor came for a chat. We talked about the independence and self- reliance of women in Botswana. She wondered why women voted for male politicians, while they knew they were not capable of doing much. I have said nothing, because there is a lot to say about it, and that might have been understood as offensive. The evening lesson went well. All the women have got a job. I told them that I admired them for working the whole day and following an evening course. Supper: pasta, a sharp flavored curry made with tinned fish, red spinach and beetroot. I was given the telephone number of our other sponsor student. In a text message I asked her how she was. There came a text message with the request to call her. One can ask the provider to send a message like this free of charge, probably because Batswana are chronically without airtime. I called her and she told that she cannot attend the graduation on 23 September as she did not have the money to pay for it. But we already had paid for it, inclusive the hire of the special garments, for both students. Why did she not know? I told her, she was very happy.
6 Sep 2016
I went to the class room before breakfast to write English children songs on the blackboard (I love a sixpence and Baba black sheep). The students were not in time, apart from that, writing their name in the register took a long time as they had to search extensively in their bags for a pen. It took until the third week before most of them remembered that they had to be in front of the classroom door five minutes before time, with a pen in their hand. Some of the students could not continue with their embroidery card because the box with materials from last year had not arrived. So I told them riddles and asked if they know that answers to many questions are often to be found on the internet and whether they consulted Google. That is, if they had the money for an internet subscription. From the reactions I understood that this was the case. We sang the songs, which they learned quickly, again and turned Baba black sheep into a play. I invited students to come forward to play the role of a black sheep, 3 bags full, a master, a dame and a little boy who lives down the lane. It took some time before volunteers stood up, I had to point them out. The singing now went a bit more laboriously, some did not enjoy singing solo. But they succeeded. The students taught me a Setswana song and outside the building they gave a demonstration of the song/ game “London Bridge is falling down”. This was another version then the English one, this was about a bridge and a train. Students from other classes came to watch. We had great fun. I explained that when children are taught in this way they will pay more attention and will remember more of it.
The cloth dolls and the knitted ones were a great success. I explained that they can be used in class to ask a child that has its birthday, or needs some extra attention that day for some reason, to look after it. All the students wanted to take care of one, so from then on, most lessons started with the question “Whose birthday is it today?” Sometimes there were indignant remarks from others, when it turned out someone falsely had claimed it to be her birthday. The students sometimes carried the dolls around with them when they had to be somewhere else in the room. One of them had taken a piece of cloth that was lying on the “storage table” and made it into a sling.
There were 8 “new” students for the second lesson. The reasons they had not attended yesterday were: Had not paid the school fee; went to the clinic; went to the hospital; had something else to do. I was rather annoyed with the last reason and told them sternly that this will not do because they are disturbing the lessons for the other students. This lesson went roughly the same as the first one. But these students said they did not have the money to access internet with their telephone. I take it that the first group does not have the money either, but did not dare to say so. Or maybe they did not understand my question. The Nampol computers can be used from 2 pm- 3 pm, but then the students have gone home, apart from the boarders. At 0.20 pm I lay down for a rest and woke up at 1.30 pm, because I had set the alarm for 11.55 am. Had a meal, a shower and did the washing. After that, went to the office to look for the box with materials, the box was there, I took it to the classroom and unpacked it. There was no cupboard in the room, but there was a long table on two sides of the room, where I have placed all the materials, hoping the students will not turn it into a self-service. I mentioned to one of the principals that there were only two prickers, did he maybe know where they could be bought, or someone who could make them. He promised to inform at the shoemaker’s, he thought they would have them. Heard no more about it.
I managed to make an appointment with the car mechanic student for Saturday noon at the chicked fry restaurant I took our sponsor student.
I found two students of the evening class in another class room. One of them was new. They did not want to come to our classroom, they wanted to wait for the other students. My explanation to the new student that I wanted to tell her what had been done yesterday did not make a difference. A pity, the evening lessons are already short. I did not spend time on telling them about the dolls, but continued with the embroidery cards, in case the electricity would fail again. Which did not happen. Two students had left their card at home, they have started with weaving on a card. After class, I pointed out the really bad lighting in the classroom to the two principals, one of them would discuss it with the directors. Both principals are from Zambia, where apparently, education is on a higher level than in Botswana. The evening meal was maisporridge (papa), “red” spinach and pumpkin. And a glas of cold water. One of the boarders assisted me in taking my washing from the line.
5 Sep 2016
Again my breakfasted consisted of bread, egg and tomato. I have thanked the cook for taking good care of me, but that I had told him yesterday that I only wanted sorghum porridge. He made another portion of porridge. As I had to be at the classroom by 7 am, I took the tea with me. As there were not enough tables and chairs for the expected 22 students in the classroom, they were going to be brought this morning. There also would be a consultation with the two principals of Nampol. The principals, the chairs and tables arrived at 7.10 am, the chairs and tables brought by the students. The room could now accommodate 19 students. It is not clear to me how many students there are for my course. At first I was told 47, then 44, then 42. The principal will ask the printer what the price is for copying the coloring plates I brought. We started the lesson by me introducing myself and telling them the class rules (to be in time, no sweets, chewing gum, telephones and talking.) We started with the embroidery cards. They made a drawing on a card and on the lines they drew dots, for holes to be made with a pricker, 0,5 cm apart, to use for the embroidery. If the holes are made closer together, the paper might tear. Some of them found put the dots too close together so some erasing had to be done.. But they all enjoyed it. As there were only two prickers, there was a lot of waiting, and understandably, they began to talk. Suddenly it was 9.50 am, 20 minutes past the beginning of break. I quickly sent them away and went to the diner to collect a cup of tea. At 10 am there was no one of the second group. I found two students. The principal sent one of them to look for the others, and then there were six. It turned out that some students had not paid their school fee for September. The lesson went the same as with the first group and they also enjoyed working on the embroidery cards. From last years’ experience I knew that students find it difficult to arrive in time. To distinguish late comers from in time comers, they now have to register on two different sheets. As the promised register had not arrived yet, I used the printing paper I had brought. (At the end of the course the register still had not arrived.) I also knew that on unlined paper names are written down quit large, so I drew a line lengthwise and put numbers on the paper, and the names were written nicely behind these. Lunch was maize porridge, small piece of beef (few people eat pork and there is little of it in the shops, and it is rather expensive), a small piece of chicken and a kind of reddish spinach. The copying of all the coloring pictures would cost Pula 1000 (about € 90). This is a lot of money, so I will choose the best ones to be copied. I sent the car mechanic student who did not finish his study a text message to make an appointment. I went to the classroom at 4.50 pm where no one was. One student I found in another classroom. At 5.20 all six of them were present. There is for them no separate registration form, because often there are problems with the transport so they cannot be blamed for being late. There are private taxis and public taxis. The public ones operate like a bus service. One stands on the side of the road and when there is space in a passing taxi, one gets in. Whether your drive is 1 meter or 10 km, the price is Pula 4 (less than € 0,40). Because evening classes are from 5 till 6.30, I kept the introduction short and we quickly started with the embroidery cards. The lesson went smoothly, the students worked concentrated. They are older than the average day time student and have a job during the day. There was only one lightbulb in the classroom, which gave not sufficient light tobe able to see the colors of the embroidery yarn, colored pencils etc., in short, to work by when it became dark. When the electricity failed at 6.20, I taught them an English children’s song and they taught me a Setwana one. Electricity failures do not have to disrupt the teaching, we shall continue with songs. The car mechanic student sent text message to let me know that he would like to have a talk with me, which I was pleased about because I did not expect to be able to get in contact with him. I did not manage to make an appointment, the network failed. After 40 trials to send it I gave up. A text message sent to Henk later on went off straight away. Supper was a dumpling and tea. Later I was as only one given a more elaborate meal, it was a share of a birthday party meal. In the meantime the electricity failed a few times.
4 Sep 2016
Breakfast consisted of sorghum porridge and tea. I have asked the cook for a bucket, cleaning solution and a cloth to clean the tables in the classroom. I was given a bucket with a little bit of water, a lot of mysterious smelling cleansing liquid and a tiny, terribly dirty looking string of cloth. The cook told me I did not have to clean the tables because the cleaner would do it on Monday. I told him I needed the tables now. Besides, even the windows had not been cleaned yet. I had brought my bag and purse, because at ten o’clock someone would come to take me to the shops to buy some food for lunch, for the student’s visit. No one came at ten. I went to my room to rinse the cleaning solution thoroughly from my hands. Returned to the classroom and started to unpack last year’s box with materials, which at last had been brought in. When I became tired, I intended to return to my room to have a drink but on the way I was called to go to the shop. Apart from food, I bought three cleaning cloth to clean the classroom windows. And four rolls of toilet paper, printed with jolly looking flowers, for Pula 26,45 (€ 2.50). For this amount you get nearly 12 rolls in The Netherlands. No wonder people are so frugal with it. I could not find a chamois leather for cleaning the windows. At the checkout I discovered my purse was left in my room. The shopping was placed at another checkout and I went to look for the woman who had taken me to the shop. She paid for the groceries. (When in my room unpacking the groceries there was one bar of chocolate missing, while it had been paid for. I expect someone must have been hungry.) While we were in the shop, the car driver had taken the car somewhere else and had not returned when we were finished. At 0.45 pm I was feeling very tired and hungry and found it difficult to stand up. So I suggested taking a taxi back. Just before we came to the main road the car appeared. On arrival at Nampol, the student had arrived too. I made a cup of tea and served it with a slice of Dutch spiced cake. The conversation was a bit uncomfortable; we did not understand each other’s English. Also, she was busy with her telephone. We returned to the shopping center where I just had come from (5,5 km) and which direction she also came from, and had a meal at the Kentucky Fried Chicken. The leftover food was taken by the student for her supper. Back to Nampol. But she had to leave at 2 pm to catch the last bus for that day. There was no time to give her the presents and let her choose one of my knitted hats. I gave her some of the food that I bought for her. And Pula 20 for the taxi to take her to the bus rank. I went with her to the road where she waited for the taxi and she departed, again in the direction of the shopping mall, where we had just come from.????? Again I continued unpacking the handicraft materials. I took down handicraft work which students had hung from a wire across the room, because they were in the way. As I had missed lunch I at a piece of biltong, normally very tasty, but this was dry and tasteless as a stick from a dead tree, a piece of bread left over from the festival and tea. Read for a while, had a shower. Luckily the water was warmer than the days before. At 6 pm the cook brought rice, chicken, beetroot and cabbage salad. After having eaten it I went to get a broom and swept the room. There is a gap under the door where the sand comes floating in happily. Watched tv, until the electricity fell out. It came on and fell out a few more times. Went to sleep at 8.15 pm. When later on I woke up, the light was on. In the bathroom there was a large spider sitting on the wall 30 cm away from the toilet. The insect sat flat against the wall with its legs spread out and looking like a circle. If it scented danger its body went up quickly (like an accelerated movie recording of a Citroën car before driving off) to run off in high speed. We soon got used to each other.
3 Sep 2016
Had a restless sleep because of small cramps in my legs. Maybe it is not a good idea to play hopscotch when one is 73 years old. Got up at 6 am. Made some preparations for the lessons next week. As the box with the craft materials that was left behind last year, and which contained a pair of scissors, had not been given to me yet, I used my nail scissors to cut something out of a card. This did not appear to be a good idea as the scissors seemed to become a bit blunt, so I had to stop it. Breakfast: bread, cheese, scrambles eggs, two fish fingers, and tomato. Far too much, and I have asked for sorghum porridge for the rest of my stay. This is what the students are given. It is boiled in water, and eaten with sugar (a lot of sugar, I saw someone put 5 table- spoons full on it) and sometimes some cold milk. It tastes like buttermilk porridge, which I am fond of. Went to the classroom to arrange the tables and chairs with the assistance of the cleaner. I hoped she would clean the windows of the class room later that day. The Dithubaruba festival was to start at 9 am, we left at 9.45 am. I made a remark on this. I was assured that we would be in time as everything in Botswana starts an hour later than the arranged time. We arrived at 10.15 am, the festival started at 11.15 am, so indeed we were there in plenty of time. The festival was held on the grounds in front of a small mountain, on top of which was the burial ground for the paramount chiefs of the Bakwena tribe. The Bakwena tribe is the largest tribe in Botswana, and stretches as far as in the north of South Africa. Last year entrance to the festival was free of charge and everybody was given a t-shirt and an umbrella. This time the price of the entrance ticket was Pula 250 (€ 23) per person. (Minimum wage is about Pula 750 netto per month.) Around a large space were two galleries without a roof placedopposite each other. I do not know if these seats had to be paid for. On the third site was the VIP tent, on the fourth site the artists came on. We were seated in the VIP tent. In the front part of the tent stood a long table where the Paramount Chiefs, a couple of foreign ambassadors and other high officials were seated. Miss Heritage 2016 also was present. A strange sounding title. If I remember correctly, she had been chosen as being the most beautiful Miss Botswana 2016. Besides and behind them were rows of chairs for “ordinary” people, that is, the people who were able to pay Pula 250. Besides every chair there were two bottles of water. We were given a handful of dried corn (very tough), some roasted watermelon seeds and traditional fruit juice. We were seated on the left side of the tent but sometimes I went to sit on the ground in the front part of the tent, to take pictures and record films. There were many speeches in Setswana, a few of the speakers also said something in English. In between there were performances by dance groups, who deserved admiration for their energy and stamina with which they performed their dances. Most of the accompaniment was done by the women by way of clapping their hands. Especially the men excelled with their high jumps and fast dancing steps, but the women danced well too and it was a feast for the eyes and ears. It was irritating that the spectators in the tent were not able, or did not want to, stay in their seats but kept wandering out of, and into the tent. Thus blocking the sight of the performance, which was frustrating if you were taking pictures or recording a film. The press and tv crew were often blocking out the performance too. A group of Bushmen performed a play. A few bushes had been placed in the area where a lion (a construction covered with what looked like a lion skin) lay himself down. He got up again a few times to make himself a comfortable. A couple of hunters with bow and arrow, assisted by a few women to find the tracks (women are not allowed to hunt, but sometimes may assist in tracking), were searching all over the place. When they discovered the lion one of them shot an arrow through his head. The lion jumped up (there was a man underneath) and attacked the Bushmen. After a “vehement” struggle the lion was killed and he toppled over. The man crawled from underneath and ran away. The lion’s head was pulled of his rump, head and rump were lifted up high and in triumph carried away. Another group represented a slave driver with a number of slaves who were tied to a construction of tied together beams. The slave driver was busily waving his whip around and pulling the slaves backwards and forwards. A group of children from South Africa made a pleasant show of their dancing. The girls did the clapping and a bit of dancing, the boys jumped up high, in the meantime clapping with their hands on their calves. I think they collected more money than the other groups. Women sometimes came dancing into the area towards the groups and threw bank notes on the ground, or put them in the waist band of one of the dancers. It was striking that no one gave the Bushmen group money. Luncheon was in another tent. The Paramount Chiefs and other VIP’s rose first and the lesser people were allowed to follow. Outside the tent trays with food were placed. One took a plate and cutlery, walked passed the trays and put the food on the plate. When we arrived the trays were nearly empty, but new trays were being collected from the many three legged cooking pots on wood fires (the size the cannibals used to cook their victims in). In the other tent one could take place at one of the many round tables. There were bottles of water on the tables, but from several the top could not be taken off. (I took two back with me to open later. With the nail stick used for handicraft I made four holes in the bottom and squeezed the water into a carafe.) The food had become lukewarm and was not very tasty any longer. There was maize porridge, sorghum porridge, samp and beans (boiled white maize with beans), some mashed green stuff, cold grated beetroot, cabbage salade and seswaa (beef, originally from wild animals like eland, which is cut in small pieces, dried, pounded and boiled in water and salt until soft). According to my experience of traditional seswaa there ought to be some sand grains in it. When we returned the performances were stopped for a while and an open truck with a couple of containers appeared in the area. The sand had become that dry that it blew into all directions, so that water had to be poured over it to settle it down. The tap of the container was opened and the water poured out from the sides of the truck. The truck went backward and forwards in the area and once it went backwards towards one of the galleries, spraying the people with water as the rather strong wind blew it in their direction. There were loud shouts, more from surprise than from anger. After a few more performances everybody was allowed to dance behind the famous Dr Vom. When I went out to take pictures I got locked in the mass of people so I joined the dancing and soon was part of the crowd, and so I was treated. Some people linked arms, someone else gave me a traditional walking stick to wave about on the rhythm, in short, it was very pleasant and jolly. At the end a 15 year old boy was given the task to take me back to my place. He thanked me for having let him dance with me. Time moved 60 years backwards for a moment.
Back at the tent the performances continued. It became dark and large lamps illuminated the area. We decided that we had seen enough and left. On the way back there was a call from one of our sponsored students, she is coming to visit me tomorrow.
1 Sep 2016
When the alarm went off at 6.30, I felt quit refreshed. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, bread and cheese and fried tomato. I little too much of a good thing. I could not take the teaching materials into the class room, because the room was still in use. I wanted to buy a Botswana sim card from the shop five minutes’ walk away, but the shop was no longer there. Unpacked my clothes, handed out a few presents, walked to the road to see if anything had changed. I could not see any differences, except for the shop that was not there. The sand on the path to the road was very sharp and hurt the soles of my feet when it went into my sandals, so walking was difficult. The pain will disappear when the sole become tougher. Which happened after a few days and the problem was solved. Read for a while, slept. Had lunch. I spent the afternoon meeting students, reading and sleeping. Looked at the teaching program which I had made. I discovered that the circle shaped sun eclipse was not on 2 September, but had been this morning at 6.30 am. A pity to have missed it, but maybe it could not been seen from Botswana anyway. Someone had bought a sim card, but it still had to be registered before it could be used. The grandchildren of Nampol’s director came. I have called them small and big angel, because they were called naughty, which they were not. We played hopscotch, with alternating success.
The water for the shower was cold!! I could have asked for warm water, but the geyser was not nearby. It probably would have reached me after I had finished having the shower. Discovered there are mosquitoes. Strange in a land where it had not rained for month. I explained to a student how beads are made from ostrich egg shells. You would have expected that she would have told me. She thought brown beads were made from brown eggs. She was surprised there are only white eggs and if you want brown or blacks beads, you have to fry them in oil. It seems to be dangerous in Molepolole. Not only were most windows protected with iron bars, my room also had an extra outside door made with iron bars. In the evening I had to put a lock on the inside of this door. I was not allowed to open the door at night. One evening last year I went to call the security guard because students were calling at the gate to be let in. He was angry with me, I should not have gone out, not even switched on the light in my room. The students should have called him. Sometimes there was no telephone network. After having tried to send a text message 40 times, I gave up.