Monday, July 30, 2012
It was a very hot night of sleeping and a few wild dreams that may be related to the “hallucinations” side effect of my malaria medication. We went to morning mass, ate breakfast, and prepared for the day. I walked over to Aligegeo Secondary School with Sr. Loretta. It was an interesting morning. First period begins at 8:00. On Mondays the students have an assembly, which starts at 7:30. It didn’t get going until 7:50, and by the time it was over, it was 8:20. There is only one textbook for Form 4 English, so I had to make copies of the lesson for 70 students. The copy man didn’t arrive until 8:15, so we sorted out the copying after the assembly. I got to class at 8:45, after the first of the double period was over. The funny thing about it was administration, faculty, and students aren’t phased at all. There is a big lack of structure in the school day. Sr. Loretta said it’s something they are working on. It’s just completely new to me, since I’m so used to a very strict schedule in high school. But don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t devastated that I couldn’t spend those 45 minutes sharing the wonders of subject-verb agreement.
I finished the next three periods with some more participation from the shy kids. At break time, I prepared the lesson for tomorrow. I joined Sr. Loretta for her Form 2 English class in the afternoon. After she went over the basics of her lesson, I talked to the students about why I am here and a little bit about my life at home. I asked if anyone had any questions for me, and they all giggled nervously. A few brave students raised their hands and asked in Pidgin about sports in the US and life at PC. Sr. Loretta translated, and I gave thorough answers. The best question of the day was, “Madame, are you married?” My “no” reply was quickly followed by “how old are you?” Dad, don’t worry I don’t plan on coming home with a husband.
My Business Studies minor expertise was also put to work today. The admin has been collecting school fees and exam fees from the students for the past few weeks. The cash was stored in a cardboard box. I helped a fellow teacher count and recount the money. The Deputy left the box at my table in the teacher’s room and told me I was in charge of it. She was joking...but not really. Later, she took a taxi to the bank to deposit the fees. It is difficult to collect the money for tuition from the students. Few parents have steady jobs. Most sell what they grow in their gardens at the market, and so money earned is immediately spent on food and immediate needs. Saving isn’t common, making it hard for parents to cover the cost of schooling.
After the visit to Sr. Loretta’s class, I returned home. Chrisma was waiting for me by the path. She is in primary school. Her teacher was absent today so her entire class was sent home. I fixed lunch for us and we relaxed in the house. Brother Roger and Brother Rob left Auki today for Honiara, so I saw them off on the ferry with Bishop Chris.
I walked to Kilu’ufi Hospital to pick up Cayla at 3:00. She had an amazing day - helped deliver a baby girl whose mother named her Cayla! There are a few patients who have basic needs that can’t be helped. Two boys have been waiting for crutches for weeks. Cayla and I are going to attempt to make them for the boys. We’ll look for some supplies in town and try to make something happen.
Later, we weeded around the house. Chrisma kept us company, and Veronica and Patrick provided some background music. We played jump rope and soccer, getting ourselves nice and dirty. After evening prayer, Sr. Loretta, Sr. Matilda, Cayla, and I enjoyed dinner together. We’re watching Sister Act right now, and it’s hilarious to watch with the nuns. They absolutely love it, and I swear Sr. Loretta is an incarnation of Whoopi Goldberg.