Day 4 is the busiest day of our 6-day rotation, so we're ending the week on a packed note! I slept in after yesterday's late night at Riverwalk, and got up just in time (okay, a few minutes late) for Cultural Literacy. Fred and Jazil did an awesome tag-team job for a student in describing UK university interviews and application processes, while the rest of us kind of chilled and were useless. It was interesting to hear how different the American college application procedure is from the UK, Canada, Australia, etc. though. And, of course, the huge news of the day was Brexit. Jazil, who's an Irish citizen, and Fred, who's British, both felt the weight of the referendum the most, but the entire school was talking about it. Not to make any political statements, but no one I've talked to has said anything positive about the decision. Fred especially is acutely aware that this completely alters his career path by limiting where he's allowed to live and work, and that he's lost rights today that he had yesterday.
After a sandwich break—featuring my favorite egg-salad-cucumber sandwiches—, we talked to our usual Lower Form 6 about preparing for university. This turned into answering any questions the students asked, including what we were looking for out of our college experience (yikes). We next sat in on the Lower Middle 6 class, which was going over some local history. The teacher pulled a trick of discussing what it felt like to be a "settler" and a "native" (setting it up to seem as if he was referring to white colonizers and Zimbabweans) and then last-minute revealed that the settlers he was talking about were Batswana, and the natives Basarwa (bushmen). I hadn't known most of what was taught, and I enjoyed getting more context for the history of where we're living and teaching.
For my one-on-one time today, I met with the girl I've been tutoring in math. She's super goofy and sweet, and she worked on her homework patiently while another student approached to talk about books. It was an awesome conversation, and it turns out that he and I have a lot of favorite authors in common—I just felt bad knowing that I was supposed to be helping my regular tutee while I chatted with this other student. But it all ended up fine, as we finished her homework assignment for the next day by the end of the period. She was very excited about having no math homework, which was really cute to see and celebrate!
For the 6th and final period, I chilled with Harsh in the library as we flipped through random magazines. I mostly admired at the photos in National Geographic, but I'm pretty sure he was intensely absorbing everything in Time magazine and/or The Economist. Donald also came over and worked on his laptop with us for a bit, and then all of us headed to lunch.
Our afternoon was wiiide open, since the usual Bundles of Brightness meeting had been cancelled due to the trip to Malwelwe (which was also cancelled due to a bit village event) the next day. After Siqi and I swung by MaP Journalists to receive new assignments, we headed to the library to meet the other interns and concretely plan out events for the students for the rest of the summer. Our final calendar, created with much indecision and many votes, features: 1) a weekly Monday discussion group called "MaP Think Tank," in which we'll have students pitch broad topics and then flesh them out together, e.g. education (who has access to it? how should it be taught? what responsibility comes with being educated?), gender issues, the role of government, etc.; 2) a weekly Tuesday workshop to go over SAT prep, writing resumes, personal statements, and so on; and 3) random other fun events, like a movie night this Saturday!
As we were planning, however, I kept getting distracted by students at the other tables who apparently stay after school on Fridays to play board games! Once we solidified our plans, Zach, Harsh, and I jumped in and challenged a few students to a game of "30 Seconds." I had never played before, but it's a pretty standard game of describing a word or phrase to your team members and counting up how many they guess in a given period of time (30 seconds). Aka my FAVORITE type of game ever and we beat the students twice. I'm very thankful that they were older so they could take losing, because I think it would've been hard for our team to let the other team win haha. It was also fascinating to hear how differently the students and our American team went about describing the same thing! We all had different associations with words, and if our teams were mixed I think it would've been a lot harder for us to guess each other's clues.
Anyways, after the confidence boost of winning at something (and a spontaneous game of monkey-in-the-middle when Harsh and I ran into two awesome Form 1 boys playing with a basketball), I headed back to the annex to cut huge sheets of colored papers as part of the interns' library display. Then it was heading out once again to the Bean Bag Cafe for an early dinner before the Verbal Emancipation performance at 6pm! Siqi and I both got chicken sandwiches, which were yummy, and Heba got a chicken wrap which was extra yummy. We were eating early since Verbal started at dinner time, and also because students told us that dinner was intestines. But plot twist: once we realized the doors to Verbal were still closed at 6pm, Zach and I went to check out dinner, and we actually recognized the intestines from a meal we had eaten our second day of being here without knowing what they were! We both opted to split a piece of the delicious fried dough that comes served with them, but no intestines for either of us tonight.
We returned to the group to find seats at Verbal, which I was both photographing for MaP Journalists and filming for the group, and enjoyed an INCREDIBLE performance. I've never seen a student show so well-run. There was a set of a bar, and students would enter and sit while the performers before them were doing their act, so transitions were beautifully smooth and seamless. While I can't describe the range of topics and emotions covered through the spoken word poetry, original songs, and raps, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the night:
- "Sometimes I look up at the sky and I cannot find you." - Tshepang
- "What if I didn't want to see the sun rise?" - Bame
- "Of course, you told me you loved other movies better than this one." - Kutlwano, during an awesome metaphor comparing herself in a relationship to a movie she and her partner watched together
- "She told me my mind is full of wonders." - Lisa
- "And there are dreams and there are dreams and there are dreams and there are dreams." - Tawanda, who's coming to Harvard in the fall!
- "My mind is my body and I am unbound." - Also Tawanda
- "I jump straight into your soul as quickly as others jump into hello. Show me what makes you fly." - One
All of these require the context of the rest of the language and each writer's performance, because I really can't explain what an amazing job the students all did. I was COMPLETELY blown away, and ended up recording a lot more video than I intended just because I want to be able to re-watch some performances. From one girl who had the most raspy, jazzy voice to a rapper who got the entire audience HYPED and poets whom I respect 110% for their bravery in getting so personal, every act brought something new and fresh to the table. SO glad we were here for their show this year!
And so, after this busy day of classes and the adrenaline of playing board games and then the stress of shooting/photographing a LONG show (it ended up running from 6pm-9:30pm), I am wiped. So ready to SLEEP! Night, everyone!