I will start this blog post by describing the most predictable morning in the lives of Heba and Michelle of all time.
Despite going to bed at midnight last night, we agreed that we would wake up at 5:45am in time for breakfast, and then just take a nap during the day if we were tired. Naturally, come 5:45am, we both turned off our alarms and reset them for 6:30am (in order to wake up in time for assembly, which is not mandatory for us though we like to go anyways); come 6:30am, we ignored the alarms once again, and finally crawled out of our beds and emerged from the girls' annex at 7:20am, just in time for a 7:25am class.
Anyways. Today the interns who weren't tutoring other students led a Cultural Literacy class about factors to consider while choosing a university, including size, geographical location, city/small town/rural, weather, academic programs, extracurriculars offered, financial aid packages, etc. I once again am not in love with the way that the interns collectively dominated the conversation, instead of letting the two students think out loud about what they're looking for, but I really hope that when we begin individual sessions (eventually??) this will no longer be a concern.
Following a yummy sandwich break (aka breakfast), I had a blast tutoring the student I meet with the most in English. His teacher wants him to practice speaking English correctly and writing in English with proper grammar, and he LOVES Marvel superheroes (I think I mentioned this yesterday), so we're writing a story about our very own superhero. The superhero's name is Invisiman and he's made of Vibranium and can also turn invisible. The student at first seemed more interested in hearing my ideas than using his own imagination, which was maybe my fault for being too enthusiastic from the getgo; so by the end of the lesson, we adopted the method of each of us taking turns adding a sentence to the story. It was so much fun! Naturally, this devolved into something like this...:
- Student: "Iron Man built Invisiman for Ultron."
- Michelle: "But then Ultron became jealous and decided to destroy Invisiman!" (insert huge explanation by student about how Ultron is already dead so this is actually impossible- I insisted we pretend Ultron is still alive for our lesson's sake)
- Student: "Invisiman helped the Avengers kill Ultron instead."
- Michelle: "But how?!"
- Student: "By killing him." (insert explanation by me about need for 1) full sentences, and 2) overly dramatic action scenes)
- Michelle: "BUT HOW?!" in big comic book-style bubble letters
- Student: "BY DESTROYING HIM!!!!!!" also in big bubble letters (end with much angst on student's end about whether or not Invisiman should dress like a ninja and be armed with a ninja star or dress like Kylo Ren and have a sword built into his arm)
It was great haha. I think he enjoys our informal lessons and as long as he's practicing speaking/writing/thinking in English (and I'm correcting for grammar and spelling) I think I'm doing my job, which is awesome.
To backtrack a bit for context, this morning I was very excited about being free periods 5 and 6 to nap. And instead, my period 4 meeting with Phenyo ended up extending all the way through periods 4, 5, and 6, and into lunch! I'm not complaining because we were doing what I love—it was just very not-what-I-planned. I showed him the photos I edited yesterday from Naledi Feeding, which was a bit disappointing because he wasn't as excited about the ones I loved and instead just wanted the pictures of the delivered food. When I pulled up the videos of interviews with four separate households benefitting from the program, however, he revealed that he wanted me to subtitle them so he can use them in his report.
For some more context, subtitling is the most annoying and tedious post-production task of all time. It's also really hard, since you have to work super closely with another person who needs to be really communicative, clear, and patient about where translated sentence fragments stop and start. Each line of text requires its own separate title card, so you end up lots of typing and lots of detail-oriented work when it comes to getting the timing and translations right. Phenyo and I worked at this for about three hours today, and managed to finish three of our four interview clips—about five minutes of dialogue TOTAL. And while I knew it was eating up my break and a tedious task, I also LOVE stuff like this. It's literally the work I love most. I liked that the Setswana became understandable to me, I'm proud that our final products provide people with a voice (in that donors and school administrators may be able to understand their needs as explained in their own words), and I generally am happy with detail-oriented, project-based work.
This is also the first time I've believed that something (ahem ahem the documentary I'm supposed to be shooting for my nonfiction filmmaking class this fall) could come out of my work here! I'm STILL not sure where the story may be, but at least now I have interesting footage I can understand about something that matters to me. So I felt productive and helpful after that...and as always, ready for lunch.
We ate chicken in a thick red-brown sauce and a starchy mixture of samp (dried maize kernels) and beans. The students were surprised that Heba and I had never heard of samp before, when we asked what it was. There was also cake for dessert, which made me so happy! It was a dry, dense plain cake with a thick layer of frosting ("cream," according to the students) whose flavor I couldn't quite place—POSSIBLY lemon??
Anyways, after sticking around to chat with a few students, Heba and I headed to (you guessed it) Choppies. I was out of chocolate—though I resolved not to replace it with any more temptation—, cookies, and milk; and Heba needed cereal and granola bars. It's SO NICE to get off campus for a bit, even if just a five minute walk away. I liked that my grocery basket ended up having a color palette, as I stocked up on granola/muesli, milk, plain yogurt, a granola bar, and some much-needed Oreos. I realized that besides my grilled cheese sandwich the other night, and the occasional cheese sandwich at 9am snack break, I haven't had any dairy here, which I miss. So hoping to add yogurt & muesli to my go-to snack list, in addition to Rice Krispies, oatmeal & raisins, and fruit & peanut butter! The total came out to P64 (about $6), so not too much damage done in light of the joy I anticipate the Oreos and milk especially bringing me. ;)
When we got back from Choppies, I was confused as to whether or not there were SPEs today because it was some kind of special school day (clearly not at all in the loop here). While I had been hoping to check out Bollywood Dance and maybe Zumba, I ended up chilling and writing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's blog posts haha. And then of course posting them under Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's dates (shhhhh...).
By the time I had finished writing and uploading photos, it was about 5pm, and I had just enough time for a lovely run around the track before 6pm dinner. The fields were empty except for a pick-up game of soccer and girls' volleyball practice, so it was quite peaceful jogging in the chilly air at sundown. And I ran non-stop for longer and farther than I have since arriving here thus far! Which felt so good, and which encourages me to continue my streak of running every day. Day 4, here I come!
I went straight to dinner in my running capris and tshirt, and sat with three roommates in one of the younger Forms. They're all goofy and fun, and two of them happened to be carrying gifts that Austin had given them! I took a photo of one boy wearing his hat and the other carrying his shorts to send him. It's really sweet to know that when interns leave, we (hopefully) remain in the kids' hearts in some way. Also at dinner, we were introduced to a new intern who just arrived from Oxford! His name is Fred, he studies history, and he'll be replacing Austin as Jack's roommate in the boys' annex.
In order to properly welcome Fred (and show him around the one place that we kind of know), all the Harvard interns and Roxbury Latin boys took him to Riverwalk. A few people ordered food or drinks and we all sat and chatted in the Linga Longa Lounge. I was pretty tired, after Heba and my alarm disaster this morning (also Donald had given me Game of Thrones episode 7 and I had been LOOKING FORWARD TO WATCHING IT ALL DAY), so while I was quieter tonight it was still nice to be out with everyone.
Next, a taxi home (we now know to bargain for P30 from Riverwalk to MaP) and bedtime! Crossing my fingers that catching up on GoT will be in the cards for tomorrow...