Felicia Black
Felicia Black
South Africa 2011- 2012
I am a recent Belmont graduate (Class of 2011) and I am going back to South Africa. I first went to South Africa in the fall of my junior year at Belmont and I had so much fun I decided to apply for the Lumos award and have been lucky enough to go again! Check out my previous blog at http://coming2sa.blogspot.com/ I will also be updating that blog as I return to South Africa so check ‘em out! Read More About Felicia →

Signs of Improvement

Wow. I haven’t written in a while. Sorry about that. I have been busy but mostly I haven’t written because I haven’t had anything good to say. These past couple weeks have not been good. Suffice it to say that I am tired of being taken advantage of and underutilized. But actually the end of this week got better. I talked to Mel about it (I was hoping that that wouldn’t have been necessary but it was) and she had a meeting with my teachers and the head of the department. To my horror, it was just MY teachers and didn’t include Joel’s teachers which means my teachers knew that I was the one complaining (they told me this later) and that I wasn’t too happy. I was horrified. That’s not how the meeting was supposed to go. It was supposed to be a general meeting with all the teachers and just giving them suggestions for improvements. I was horrified but glad that I spoke up because I did not want to spend my last weeks here grading papers (which is what I had been doing).

Thankfully, the teachers weren’t too upset at me (at least not to my face) and I finally got to do more. I got out of the classroom and into the library working with small groups of students, which is what I was doing before. I’m not sure why I stopped doing that but for some reason after I got back from holiday, everything was different.

So the last couple days this week were good which was good since I think I was at my breaking point. There are still other frustrations like why the government finds it necessary to teach two different kinds of number systems to the kids (our teachers choose Egyptian hieroglyphics and Roman numerals). It seemed like a waste of time but at least I was out of the classroom and actually I taught an English lesson and it went really well. That is amazing for me because usually I struggle a lot with English (who made up these rules anyway?). The students struggle a lot with comprehension and answering questions in complete sentences. Often they just copy sentences out of the passage instead of actually understanding what is being asked and how to answer it. But I broke down my lesson a lot and we went through the story several times and even though it took an hour and half, they wrote their sentences beautifully and seemed to comprehend. That’s a big step forward.

Yesterday was a really nice day. Sarah, one of the long term intern and I went into Cape Town via the train. It took two hours. It wasn’t bad though because we were in no rush and we did eventually get there. We even meet this coloured man who talked to us almost the entire way and he made the ride seem much quicker. Once we got to Cape Town we headed for Green Square Market where I started negotiating the prices for the things I wanted. I always enjoy doing that. I wish we did that in the States. It’s so much more fun. Unfortunately the thing I really wanted, these awesome pants in a ton of different colours, that price was not up for negotiation. It took some of the fun out of it but I am very happy with my purchase. I also bought my fiancé (still have to get used to that) an ostrich egg, which I was able to get a good price on.

After the market, we went and had lunch on Long Street at this amazingly cheap and delicious 24/7 Indian restaurant. It is a little piece of heaven. They give you so much food! My chicken tikka masala and garlic naan was delicious. Sarah and I were both very full after that meal.

After lunch we met up with Angie, one of the girls from our house who was staying in Cape Town for the weekend. We decided to go to the beach since it was such a gorgeous day. I suggested we take the minibus because they’re super cheap and I personally think they’re a lot of fun (even if they are dangerous). They try to cram as many people as possible in a tiny minibus and that’s exactly what they did to us. I was fine because we were only cramped for a bit before more room opened up.

We ended up at Camps Bay and if you ever come to Cape Town you must go there. It is gorgeous. It’s in a very wealthy part of Cape Town and the beach is beautiful. Yesterday the water was freezing but Angie and I jumped in anyway and it felt great after being in a stuffy minibus. We couldn’t stay long because Sarah and I had to catch the train back home but we soaked in a few rays and even got some smoothies before getting a cab back to Cape Town. We made our train no problem.

Our ride back was less eventual since it was shorter but we were joined by this mother and her three adorable daughters. One of the daughters was cracking me up. She kept trying to steal a balloon from her baby sister and then when that failed tried to get a balloon from someone she didn’t even know. Finally the girl with the balloon gave it to the little girl and she was very pleased with herself. It was hilarious. It was wonderful Saturday.

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