Mwalimu wazimu

Teaching makes me high. I just had another classroom Javascript lesson. I hope the ladies get some of my enthusiasm, because Im pumped wiht adrenaline now. Its hard work with them, they dont like to answer questions yet. They would prefer to sit and stare at someone’s back to avoid my eye contact, even after I have asked a question. Even after I have asked a question to the class. So by doing stuff like standing silent at the front of the class and waiting for a reply, or by telling funny stories to try and get past the authoratitive figure thing, I am taking risks. And taking risks is a buzz.

One of the other teachers here wants to give me a local name. She suggested a few, but they seemed fairly arbitrary like, for instance: wafula wafula. I cant remember when I heard the word wazimu but I just fell in love with it right away. It sounds (to me at least) similar enough to mwalimu to be like a title. They felt fearful to call me that at first, because calling someone stupid here is a serious insult, but since I did the standing-on-the-table-pulling-shoe-laces thing, and, I thikn, since the dancing, its starting to stick.

I cut my left thumb twice: once last night pealing an avocado for supper, and once this morning pealing a mango for breakfast. Someone needs to learn how to use a knife. As someone who likes to hold a knive in my right hand, its hard work manipulating a ripe half-peeled mango with a cut left thumb. Well its hard to keep the goopy golden flesh out of the cut. Its also fun to cut bandages into strips and open tubes of savlon with a bleeding finger. Especially when cutting the bandage means opening the scizzors attachment on my Leatherman tool.

It was nice to come back to my little house after a very taking weekend in Nairobi wiht Maria and Luci’s friend. Maria was right, she’s totally crazy and I mean wazimu! She had this thing going all weekend where one of her many mobile phones was broken but it had numbers that she needed (for nefarious purposes) in its memory and most of the weekend seemed to involve moving sium cards between phones, poking hair-grips into defective switches, swapping chargers and so on. Then, on top of all that, there was some sort of interpersonal politics going on in her household and I felt, at several points during the weekend, that I was a pawn in some sort of domestica chess battle. We talked about some of the issues, but talking, by itself, is just a start. I know she will read this and I am playing a game about being honest, on one hand, and revealing someone else’s private business on the other. Perhaps I have already said enough. We saw zebra, antelope and giraffe in Nairobi national park on sunday afternoon, but most of my safari weekend was spent watching the behaviour of afluent ex-pats.

I got some letters at the end of last week: One hand-written from Denise, and one typed and with coloured pictures of the LSE performance, and the lindy exchange, from Nikki. Thanks to you both. The post address works, then for letters. I look forward to seeing what adventure my first parcel brings me.

3 Comments

  1. lydia Says:

    Teaching is a good way to be high!! Totally in agreement on that one! Sound as though you are the first student centred teacher these girls have had. Go for it! 🙂

  2. Ollie :() Says:

    😛
    ok, so what’s the Kenyan for Dancer? wazimu swingman just doesn’t cut it for me…

    come to that, Cardinal Yellow trousers may do just as well.

    anyway, the promised present is finally on its way to you after some revisions caused by reading this blog. Should be with you soon.

    lots of love,

    monkeyboy
    xXx

  3. Mark Says:

    yah, presents.
    Monkeyboy, you are a star

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