Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Day of Love

One of my grade 8s left me this present
on my chalkboard. In addition to the
message, it's everything I've taught
them in ICT!
Valentine's Day is a big deal here. Like huge. I began to notice something was up the day before, when the atmosphere at school was reminiscent of a sunny, warm, day-before-vacation type school day. You know, the type where everyone is happy and full of energy but no one can focus on school work? It was like that, and I had no idea why- it was a Wednesday for crying out loud! Anyway, I had also seen several students making Valentine's Day cards (usually during class) and just figured they were making them for friends, since you can exactly go to the store and get a box of 24 Valentines/lollipop combos featuring whatever movie star is in this year. I also knew that a group of students were planning some sort of show or something, because the faculty adviser had mentioned it at staff meeting and reminded everyone to wear red, but I had no idea what to expect. So Thursday I show up to school, wearing my the only red I own, and find out that in all liklihood, we be ending school at 12:30 in order to fit the entire show in before dinner time. Well, okay.

12:30 rolls around and I hadn't heard anything more so I just planned to keep teaching. Just as I got everything set up for my ICT class, the bell rang announcing the end of lessons. We all congregated outside the library where a makeshift stage/runway had been set up using teacher desks. Chairs were brought out of classrooms and set up under the two trees (the only relief from the burning sun) and the entire school crowded in the patches of shade. Basically the show was a beauty contest/talent show. Five girls (all learners of mine actually) were contestants hoping to be crowned Miss Valentine, in a contest that included swimwear, casual wear, cultural wear, formal wear, and a question round. In between each round, there were performances from other students, from dancing, to skits, to cultural performances, even an "eating an apple off a string" contest. The whole show was very entertaining and lots of fun to watch. I took literally hundreds of photos (mostly of the cultural dances) and just sat in awe of the whole thing.
Although many people at home know my feelings on the patriarchy of beauty pageants  I also couldn't help but smile as I saw my girls strutting their stuff around the runway. They were so cute and fierce and I was proud. (Don't worry Kell, I was still hiding a small look of disgust during the swimsuit round).

Some of the cards from
my learners
As they were tallying the points, a few older students got on stage and started handing out Valentine's Cards that people had submitted.  It was certainly not an efficient way of doing things, but hey, TIA. My name got called multiple times and I received quite a few adorable cards from some of my learners. They got all out on these too. Hand drawn/stenciled, colored, and with very nice, Hallmark like tidings inside. It's actually a little funny to read some of the phrases, because between the sentiment of the holiday, and their broken English, there are some priceless gems. Just to give you an example: "Vallentine's day is a day of love were we celebrate the day of love were we give each other flowers and other things and I choose you to be my Vallentine's Friends" and "Dear my teacher friend, I inform you that I am ready to receive any valentine gift such as card and anything that you wish to give me. Do it with happiness." Pretty hilarious haha.

About to crown the winners!
Soon the votes were counted, and in the end, one of my grade 8s, Olivia, won the title. Her smile when she was crowned was probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen. Unfortunately my camera battery died of exhaustion just as they were crowing her. Of course. I told the girls that if they wore their crowns and sashes to school the next day, I would take more pictures then. On Friday, true to my word, I brought my recharged camera to school and after the final bell rang, I stayed behind with the girls and some other learners who wanted to take pictures/see the ones I had taken the day before. After taking pictures of every possible combination of the contestants/other learners in the room, I turned the camera off and everyone huddled around my laptop to look at the pictures from the show. Let me tell you, having 15 learners all climbing on each other trying to see a computer screen made for a very sweaty half hour of going through the photos. When they had all been seen, I announced that I had to go and most learners left, but a few girls lingered behind and asked if they see the webcam work. Well since they had remembered the term from ICT class, I couldn't say no, so the three girls and I spent the next twenty minutes taking ridiculous selfies with my webcam and had fun playing with all the funny filters/effects. When four o'clock rolled around I insisted that I really did have to get going, and they probably did too! (Remember, some have a two hour walk ahead of them to get home).

So to sum it all up, Valentine's Day here is sort of the bomb.

If you want to see more pictures, here's the link to the facebook album.
and here's the link to the album with more pictures from Epupa.

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