Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stealing Chickens and Eating Pigeons…

Springtime brings all kinds of funny events to Tweeling.

The other day one of the teachers came to one of Kate’s classes and pulled out two of my normally-well-behaved boys. The boys came back to class giggling, but with sore hands.

They had been “caned” by the head of Refeng-Thabo’s discipline committee (the student puts his/her hand out and the teacher hits it with a stick) for stealing a chicken in the township. It’s really hard to keep a straight face while telling the students that it’s not right to steal other people’s chickens…

It was even harder to keep from laughing when Moketsi said “Well, he was the one who slaughtered it…”

The Motales didn’t steal these pigeons, but caught them in the garage. Kagiso kept two as pets, and before long there was a baby pigeon, and there are currently two little eggs.

Danny caught two more, who were not taking well to the cage. Yesterday there were no kids anywhere, so we knew that something had to be up.

Kagiso came to Kate and asked for chicken spice, which he brought into the garage.

Intrigued, Kate followed him and found Kagiso and Simphiwe grilling up two decapitated pigeons…

The better weather has drawn kids from all over town to the ongoing 7th Street soccer game.

Yesterday, Andy had a record number of boys looking for him to play soccer with them.

There were so many, in fact, that they were finally asked not to play in the street and had to move the daily 7th St. soccer match to the town school’s soccer field.

While the boys played street-soccer, Kate had a few volunteers to help with her porch-garden. The girls are going to take care of Kate’s zucchini, pumpkin, and basil plants while she and Andy are away with their parents, who are coming to visit this week. The girls each have their own pumpkin plants (which they gendered and named) that Kate has promised them a big pumpkin from and will leave them with when she and Andy leave in December.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Arbor Day at Refeng-Thabo

Spring has finally come to Tweeling, with sunny weather that reminds us both of Tucson. Kate has planted zucchini, pumpkins, and chilies in pots on the porch and is already developing a sunburn.

Spring must be the time to move your cows, because there were 100’s of cows walking down the highway that passes by Tweeling.

I have no idea where they came from, but all of a sudden there were 20 tiny saplings parked in pots outside of Refeng-Thabo.

There are just under 20 different classes of students at Refeng-Thabo, so we decided that each class would have its own tree, a sapling that the class would be in charge of planting, watering, and singing to…

Friday just happened to be the end of Arbor Week in South Africa, and it was a gorgeous day that was perfect for planting. A few boys that were found outside of class were conscripted to dig 20 holes around the school grounds. Kate taught them the song from the movie “Holes” (“Dig, diggin’ up holes, diggin’), which became an instant classic at Refeng-Thabo.

A very sweet celebration was made for the new trees, with a ceremonious presentation of a tree to each class. As everything does in South Africa, the celebration included the students’ beautiful singing and dancing.

Much to-do was also made about the actual planting of the trees, with the students singing to the tree, saying prayers for the tree, and dancing in a ring around the tree.

The classes waited to plant their tree until Kate came to take their picture. The school has promised to pay for a large photograph of each class with their tree to decorate the classrooms.

The extra tree left over after each class had planted theirs was dedicated to the boys’ under-15 soccer team (this being Africa, the school has over 10 soccer teams). This team won the Mafube Municipality (it’s like a county) and is representing the municipality in the provincial tournament this Saturday. The team attributes their good luck during matches to the great team t-shirts donated by Deanna Harris. Notice Moeketsi, wearing his shirt in the center of the photo.

Spring is also the time to replace the 7th St. community soccer ball. This is the third and final ball that came to Tweeling all the way from Tucson and is kicked all day after school up and down 7th St.