Thank goodness my day is almost to a close and I can say that it is ending on a much better note than how my day had been playing out.
I woke up this morning ready for the day and went through my usual ritual. I even woke up early enough before my alarm that I had time to finish a great book I was reading (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) AND make spiced apple crepes while still managing to leave promptly by 7:30am for my hour walk to school (for those of you trying to do the math, I woke up around 5am!)
As I was walking peacefully in the sunshine I noticed a man riding a horse with two donkeys trotting alongside him and his galloping horse. I mindfully established my path and moved out of the way. One ass (true to its name through and through), despite ample trotting room started to veer in my direction and was heading straight for me! If I hadn’t ran off into the grass I would have been pummeled by that jackass! Unbelievable. I nearly lost my morning coffee.
Once I got to school I taught my English lesson and then observed the cooperating teacher “teach” a lesson. What ensued broke my heart and I left the school grounds. The students hadn’t remembered the information they had taken notes on yesterday, so out came the thick whipping stick, and with every question the teacher asked that the students did not respond to or answered incorrectly, they got beat. I sat there quietly, wincing at every “THWACK” I heard. One little girl started to cry which only fostered more lashes.
I remember how violently my heart broke and ached the first time I witnessed children getting beat at school. I haven’t been in the presence of corporal punishment for a very long time because my teachers know and understand that I do not agree with it and do not want to witness it taking place. I am not here to change my teachers’ opinions on whether or not they should beat their students, I have simply asked for a mutual understanding and that they not do it in my presence. They have observed me in the classroom and know of my alternative classroom management strategies, but today was a good wake-up call, I suppose.
Like I said, I left school and went home before I bursted out in tears. I had already taught my planned lessons so there was really nothing keeping me there, and Lord knows I needed to get away. Luckily I did not run into any donkeys while walking home, but rather, had a lovely walk with a woman. I greeted her as I passed by, but then she wrangled me into conversation. She asked questions in English and I responded in Sesotho. It was so pleasant. She was walking with a one-month-old baby on her back to the clinic that’s behind my house. Just as we were nearing our destination the baby started to cry; I asked if I could sing a lullaby that my mom used to sing to me. I started to sing and the baby’s crying came to a halt. I couldn’t believe it (and was brought to tears at the deepness and profundity of that moment).
How could I have gone from a near death (please excuse the hyperbole) donkey tackling, to a heart breaking experience, to a sheer humbling and uplifting human encounter? Honestly, I swear, the emotions I experience in one day are like those of a menopausal woman!