Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Jackson Five got it wrong....

ABC isn't as easy as 1,2,3 (for Tamil people at least)

My usual pick up at 9am from David, promised nothing more than long drives and plenty of toilets to visit. I had had better mornings. There were five of us in the car and due to me being the thinnest, I was placed in the middle back seat, squashed. I don't think the fact that I was nearly a foot taller than anyone else was brought into play. All good naps start with the promise that you are only going to rest your eyes briefly, but sleep quickly takes over and the next moment you wake up 45 minuets later, often after snoring, fidgeting and resting your head on the shoulder of another without realising. This is what got me through most of the day. My sleep mode was very accustom to the frequent beeping now and does no longer believe we are approaching a fatal accident anymore. I hope my senses retrain when I get back to England.
I was first awoken as we entered through the gates of an all girls school, 1,500 of them. It was remarkably quiet as the girls were still in class, some taken outside in the shade, and we had time and space to investigate the newly finished project there. However at 11.10 all hell broke loose. Their only break of the 8am - 2pm day was not going to be wasted. A stampede of screaming, giggling, and in my opinion very frightening girls approached, must be what it is like to be Jack Wrigglesworth. They were all desperate to ask questions and talk to me, but for this I needed my interpreter. Paramasivan was patient and calm in his approach and I tried to follow his lead. Questions were flying at him and I am sure they were filtered before they came to me. Their main interests were why I wasnt married, why I wasnt wearing "normal" clothing and was the food the same in England. I did my best to give informative answers. Lots of photos were taken and when the camera was pulled out the pushing and shoving would have impressed some professional front row rugby players.
Lunch down the road was extremely hot, Indian style, and I was even glad to see some of the Indians with their tongue out trying to cool it down. I try to be careful not to fall into the trap of the HSBC man who keeps getting endless amounts of eels and I learnt to leave just enough to say I'm full, its a fine art. We went on to a few villages, just in case they thought I might be running out of lemons, and the heat bore down on us for the rest of the afternoon. In one of the meetings, which was large, me and David were presented with flower necklaces. They smelt amazing and I had only really seen them in films before. I felt very privileged for having actually contributed so little. I think I try to play up to the role a little sometimes, to justify my being there.
I got back at 6 and knew that for me, the hard part of the day had just begun. Yesterday I went to the classroom to ask the teacher if he could break the class up into small groups of about 5 or 6, so that each day, I could, for an hour or so, have one group to teach English. One older boy, who is not part of the class but part of the family here speaks very little English as he has problems with learning. I asked him if he would like to learn and he quickly dismissed it. I told him that it was fine, it was his choice and if he didn't want to learn I was certainly not going to make him. 10 minuets later, away from the class, he approached me. He did want to learn but I could see his concerns when younger kids were streets ahead of him. I agreed with him, that on top of the lessons, me and him would have one on one lessons so that he could catch up. Our first one was today at 6.30. We got through the first 5 letters of the alphabet and their sounds. It will be slow and long but also very rewarding. I am very excited by it. I thought that I had it covered with the class. I had just worked out a great system with Allwin, the older boy, and thought that applying the same system with the younger children would be effective. In the first 5 minuets they had the whole alphabet under their belts, along with sounds and words to match. My lesson plan was out the window before I was even settled. We improvised and made games about sports, which is always a good medium for young boys.
I am exhausted now and I have to be up at 7 to go through F,G,H,I and J with Allwin. I managed to make some use out of the lemons by the way. Made a makeshift crepe with sugar and lemon. It was more of a Nann with a hint of lemon, but wasnt too bad.

The photos:

The girls at class

Fascinated by seeing themselves on the screen

My patient interpreter of the mob

Spot the odd one out
Pink dress right?

3 in one go = Big village

A terrist house, family of 4 or 5 in each

 The chosen one, (They think anyway)

The board and work experience boy

 AntonySammy next to me

Local bus service

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