Put A Lid On It!

Yesterday, after my 2pm – 4pm class finished (at 4.30, because certain of those students can be a bit slow 😉 ) I went to get ready for dance class.

I went to the house and changed clothes, quickly drank some clean water and headed out for the dining hall carrying my big music system.

Monday and Wednesday are timetabled for games after 4pm. In the past, I understand, there used to be a lively sport scene here with volleyball competitions between classes and so on. Now there is nothing. Nobody organises and the students don’t even bother to go get the balls and whatnot out of the store. The principal was keen that I should start doing dance lessons again this term as we are almost through building a new building on the site and there will be en opening ceremony with guests and that would be a good time to do a performance. So last week, with a bit of effort, we herded some ladies up into the dining hall and forced them to dance.

That’s what its like here. Like the way we force them to learn IT, against their will and beyond their interests. Some will join in as its a novelty. Come the second week, enthusiasm has died off.

Yesterday no one came. I plugged the monster machine in and played the music as loud as it would go — certainly loud enough to be heard from the classrooms where, I suspect, the students were seeking cover from the fierce sun and the even more fierce (apparently :angry: ) dance teacher. I sat on the step near the door listening to the music and waiting for **anyone** to turn up…

  • Put A Lid On It — Squirrel Nut Zippers
  • The Shim Sham song — Bill Elliott
  • Brooklyn — The Young Blood Brass Band

… no one did. One student walked past and said:
“You are alone today?”
I answered, “Apparently”.
She went on to say that she thought they didn’t want to dance today, but then that they **might come**. The latter seems to me to be a typical response here. I think it is considered polite to “give someone hope”. Keep ’em hangin’ more like. I could give a list of similar occurrences that seem, from the perspective of **my** cultural background, rude to the point of being intended to irritate.

After Brooklyn (which is on that tape because I use it as a warm-up sometimes) I got up, switched off the machine, coiled its cable and walke back to my house where I continued to sit outside in the shade; this time reading Harry Potter And The Whatever It Is This Time, and drinking cold pineapple juice.

I’m not mad with that one lady who told me they might turn up; I know she meant well. And I have decided not to be personally offended by what happens, though it feels like bad manners. The same happened the last two times I started teaching this dance. I conclude that there is no interest. If anyone **wants** me to teach Charleston Stroll or Shim-Sham when I get back, it’d be a pleasure.


  1. Mark Says:

    A couple of chapters into Harry Potter one of the other volunteers telephoned, in tears. She’d had a terrible day and was talking to the VSO office about quitting.

    I mention this because it might seem as if I am bitching in this entry. I’m not. I am having a great time. The fact that Im on the last straight here makes me care less about everything and so I’m having a better time than I have before. My placement has been a dream compared to many and I do appreciate it.

    I joked with a canadian visitor lately that being a volunteer is just like being on holiday. Parts of my placement have been just like that. Others less so. Most of my struggle so far, however, has been in my head. The psychological issue of trying to do something worthwhile while at the same time adjusting to all the differences. It is in this spirit that I offer the story above. It’t to show that, little by little, Im beginning to accept.

    Which is not to say I’m not still looking forward to going home 😉

  2. davidz Says:

    i still have to copy someone else all the way through the charleston stroll and my shim sham break remains … um … idiosyncratic.
    so a lesson or two would be smashing 😀
    (assuming i still live here)

  3. Cad Says:

    How can anyone not want to dance to the "Squirrel Nut Zippers"!?
    Let the jazz band make some noise
    Step up ladies and watch out boys.
    ?mirror on the wall,
    Who?s the hot band in the hall? ?
    Let everybody sing
    Get on out there and do your thing.

    PS: Listening to that ^ now 😀

  4. Jan Says:

    Hey Cad where did those words come from ?
    is it a song ? I am missing somthing but it was good
    and yes thay need to get a life and enjoy what is on offer , as not a lot else is around there …
    Blimy I think they are missing one hell of a bit of life..
    shame …

    any sign of the books yet ? love Jan xx

  5. Drew Says:

    I’ll take you up on the Charlston Stroll. 🙂
    A Cookie lindy workshop all weekend 🙂 leaves me shabby this morning.

    I’ve been working on Dean Collins Shim Sham again recently

    Maybe you could also help us choreograph the "Cheesy Poo Stroll".
    The idea is to find one of the best/worst songs in swing and then to enhance it with a dynamic shoreography all the worst and stoopidest old jazz steps, add some cheese and there you are.
    (I guess it would look a lot like the jitterbug stroll)

    Drew 😀

  6. Mark Says:

    You’re taking a bit of a risk with that last comment, drew, boy!

    Did you ever see the Oompa-lumpa shim-sham that Tom and I did? That was pretty cheesy.

    I could do with learning the DC one, only had one afternoon of classes, not enough!

    We’ve just been watching the solar eclipse here, great fun, photos to follow 😎

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