I got a suuper slow start this morning after Heba and I were both complete fools: last night, she went to bed at 9pm while I stayed up editing photos until 1:30am (stupid Michelle), she woke up at 3:30am and started reading because she had already slept so much, I woke up at 4am to her light and turned over to go back to sleep (and apparently groaned, "Heba, it's FOUR O'CLOCK!!!!!!" which I do NOT remember saying), my alarm went off at 6am for breakfast which was immediately silenced, and then we both actually got up at 9am, just in time for my period 3 meeting. Yikes.
So imagine the transition from a very on-and-off night's sleep to a conversation with a student who asked if we could talk about gender issues. I was still a bit groggy for the first few minutes, but warmed up quickly as we chatted and got into a super interesting conversation. She asked about what gender studies classes look like at university, and brought up a lot of her thoughts on how to achieve gender equality, who's truly a feminist, whether it is possible for someone to be transgender if gender is a social construct (I challenged her on this one), etc. I REALLY enjoyed talking to her, though we have many different views. One question I want to pick up next time is how to handle the tension between fighting internationally for what we believe is a basic human right and the fact that there are women who are content in their positions as unequal citizens under their religion or cultural tradition—where should our priorities lie then?
We ended up debating straight through periods 3 and 4 before I had to tutor another student. Nearer to the end of our conversation, the student actually disclosed that she is bisexual, and described her romantic history of being attracted to both men and women. I felt honored that she was comfortable sharing this with me, as it's illegal to express interest in same-sex partners or acts in Botswana; and I admire her for being open about it. While I've talked about LGBTQ+ issues with a number of students, she's the first person I've met or heard of who identified herself as non-straight here so far. The student asked if we could meet regularly, and I'm already looking forward to trying to develop maybe a bit more structured lessons together.
Next, I tutored my regular student in English. I've been getting a bit frustrated recently, because we're working on a story about a superhero (as I've mentioned before), and he seems super unwilling or unable to use his imagination to write what happens next! I think part of it comes from not really wanting to practice writing, since he prefers to read comic books; but he has a LOT of trouble with spelling and grammar (we got stuck on spelling the word "with" and remembering to capitalize names today) and really needs to work on both. So I think I may need to become stricter with him. I'm just unsure whether it's best to keep him practicing creative thinking while writing about what he's interested in, or whether it's more efficient to have him write true stories so we can focus on the act of writing itself without wasting time on thinking about what happens next. Hmmm...
I sat in the library until lunch, ate with Phenyo, who has had a super busy day, and then headed to MaP Journalists and African Philosophy. I had missed African Philosophy last week because I was photographing/filming Naledi Feeding for the SPE office, and apparently the students had asked for more lessons about African studies. So, today, we played a trivia game in teams. I paired up with the student who invited me to Camphill a few weeks ago, warned him I would be completely useless...and then was COMPLETELY and UTTERLY useless. I literally didn't know anything. To be fair, the questions were tricky and most students got stuck, but wow. It made me feel so ignorant. Here were a few of the questions:
- What are the working languages of the AU?
- Answer: Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, and an African language if possible.
- According to Forbes, who is the richest woman in Africa?
- Answer: Isabel Dos Santos, who lives in Angola and invests in oil.
- What is the most widely spoken African language across Africa?
- Answer: Swahili. The other multiple choice options were Hausa (primarily in Niger, Nigeria), Zulu (mostly South Africa), and Amharic (mostly Ethiopia).
- What is Agenda 2063?
- Answer: A goal of the African Union to introduce an African passport.
- Which island is home to the House of Slaves and Door of No Return?
- Answer: Goree, an island in Senegal where slaves were kept before being shipped off to the Americas.
- #AfricaNot4Sale is in response to what social media campaign?
- Answer: #AfricaRising, which is about there being increasing opportunity in Africa, since while there are more opportunities people do not want foreigners buying and monopolizing stakes in them. The other multiple choice options included #IShallNotForget (about an underage girl who was raped by a member of Parliament), #BringBackOurGirls (about Boko Haram kidnapping girls from the Chibok school in Nigeria), and #MyJihad (about Muslims taking back the word "jihad," which means "struggle").
Were these easy questions and I just don't know anything? I'm not sure. But I'm thankful I got a list of books, poems, and movies out of the lesson that I'd definitely like to check out!
Our final event of the day, which I set in motion knowing that we'll be returning from travels on our remaining Mondays and will probably be too tired to go out, was heading to Bull & Bush for Monday rib night! The restaurant had SUCH an awesome, festive vibe, featuring little fireplaces scattered around the outdoor seating area, a bar set inside a traditional Batswana hut, and live synth music. Siqi and I split the Monday Madness rib special, which was 600g of pork ribs and a side of either "chips," mashed potatoes, or vegetables for P85. This meant that we each paid almost exactly $4 for a TON of meat! It was soooo good, and we also found out that there's a Wednesday trivia night and Thursday pizza special, so I have a feeling we'll be coming back here.
After dinner, which—typical—lasted for three hours, I headed back to the boarding house to cover Heba's duty, since she covered mine last Thursday when some of the interns went out. I watched Ring of Lies (a South African tv series) with some of the girls, checked everyone into bed, and then headed back to bed myself!
So grateful for an early night today. Talk soon!