BLOG ENTRY 10TH March 2009
The job at the AIDS orphanage is going well. Some of my kids have started to read words. I am teaching them through Jolly Phonics. It is difficult for the kids because they are already familiar with the alphabet and say the letters but their names rather than there sounds. So I am almost having to retrain their instinct reactions.
Some of the kids however are really struggling. I decided that 3 of the kids need more one-to-one. We have been learning 6 sounds since 3 weeks, and these kids can’t even name one of them. I am hoping that making the letters with clay will help them.
I have spent the last week reading a book on dyslexia – it is very interesting and enlightening and suggests that it is caused by disorientation which they can cause without realising it. It more or less says that ‘curing’ dyslexia is about changing the minds eye to see what is really there rather than seeing what our imagination sees. It suggests that to help dyslexic kids read – that they associate a clay picture with the word (as well as the Davis Orientation Counselling Procedure). So if the child has trouble reading the word ‘sun’, then it is suggested that they make a sun out of clay – so that they can associate the word with the picture. There are approximately 200 trigger words which cause disorientation and for those it is difficult to associate the word with the picture – such as ‘the’. So reading this gave me the idea to help the kids who are struggling to make the letter sounds out of clay. This method can also be used for very young children and will help them learn the letters.
The kids I am teaching are great. They are so full of life, and fun. They are eager to learn. Although the job can be very challenging it is completely worth it.
The other night at the babies home there was a film and bonfire night. There was a family from Belgium travelling around the world in a truck for 3 years showing kids films! They had just begun in Africa where they were planning on being for a year, then South America for a year and Asia! The film was projected onto a canvas which was set-up and attached to the truck.
I overheard an interesting conversation between the father and one of his sons. The boy was complaining that he had already watched this film before and he wanted to watch another one. The father berated the son, telling him that he wasn’t the only child here and that all these other children had never seen this film and that’s why they were here – for the other children. The son didn’t sound too happy – but he was content to watch the film – again! It was only the beginning of their trip, so I can assume that he will have to watch the film at least a few more times, for the other kids. The film was good and Nathanial sat glued to the screen (from a safe distance) all the way through!
About a week ago there was the most spectacular storm with thunder and lightening – it was so loud. When it was windy – somehow 3 bats managed to fly or get blown into my bedroom – I am still not quite sure how! Needless to say I was not impressed! I swiftly exited my bedroom – or as swiftly as I could muster at 4’o clock in the morning! I asked our gardener if he could get rid of it, or kill it as soon as he walked in the gate. He told me he couldn’t find it, although as soon as the sun set the bats came out again! I presume that they have all gone now, or died stuck in a crevice! A few nights after that I walked into my bedroom only to see to mice running around in my bedroom! Again, I have no idea where they are! On top of the bats and mice there are rats living in the ceiling. They are so loud and sound absolutely huge! I only hope that they do not find a way into the house!
A few nights after I wrote this post, I discovered that the mouse had managed to nibble its way through 3 packets of biscuits and into the box of Nathanial’s oats. I borrowed my neighbours cat and hoped that she managed to kill it.
The weather has been so hot recently! I walk to work all the time, and it’s a complete killer. It wouldn’t be worth my while having a job and taking a piki to work! I feel very African walking for an hour in the hot sun although fortunately for me – thank You Jesus - I have the luxury of shoes! I draw much attention and ridicule when I walk to work, since I push Nathanial in the pushchair most of the way – and to people here that is ridiculous. It would be a long way for his little legs to walk that far and mostly it would take me an extra hour if he was on foot. I wonder if the Ugandans find it so ridiculous because they think that I am lazy. I mean after all they carry their kids round on their backs. But, well at least I leave behind me a path of much laughter and tears (from laughing so much!).
I often have a little trail of kids walking with me – it is fun too talk to them and interesting to learn more about their lives. Once the kids walked all the way to work with me, waited and then walked all the way back with me! I enjoyed the company and I genuinely loved not being harassed for money. It was rather strange that they didn’t ask me for money, but it endeared me to them even more. I left them each with a pencil – they were ecstatic!
Nathanial is growing! I have had to get rid of some of his clothes! Size 18 months are getting too small, and he is starting to fit into 2T – 3T. His feet are also growing, I have been to all the shoe shops I know of, but have been unable to find him a pair of open shoes that fit him. There are tons of trainers and closed shoes here – even snow shoes, but I want my kids feet to be able to breath in this stinking hot weather!
I took Nathanial swimming the other day. Amy took her two kids too, but they ended up spending most of the time just dipping their feet in the water so she took them home. Despite whining a lot Nathanial enjoyed himself. I am thinking of taking him for swimming lessons once a week for half an hour. I think he would really love it and at least it would get him doing some exercise.
Nathanial doesn’t really play when he’s outside – he’ll just stand there and tear a leaf into tiny pieces. He rarely moves an inch and can be in the same spot for hours! I have tried to encourage him to play and have showed him plenty of times what he can do – and have tried doing it with him. I hope that is something that will come along with time. I would buy him a bike or something, but when we were living at the school and they had one there he never used it, or just sat on it and stared into space!
I think Nathanial has an allergy to Corn. It would explain why the day after his birthday his eyes were nearly swollen shut and his face looked like a balloon! That was the only time he has had Posho whilst with me. He used to eat stuff like sweetcorn and things with a minimal amount of corn and that would cause his hands and feet to balloon. I have taken him off everything that contains corn for 2 weeks and the swelling disappeared.
I am going to have to go to Kampala on Friday to sort out a work permit! It will cost me 3 months wages to get a one year work permit! Probably plus a special pass or two! And goodness knows how many trips to Kampala it will take?!
I am getting a tad more adventurous with my cooking! The other day I made Ratouille – oh my goodness it was so nice even better than the ones you can buy in the tin!
UPDATE 28TH March
I had an interesting incident at the hairdressers the other day. I went to get my hair trimmed, I don’t like having a long ponytail when it is so hot. So I asked the guy in there if he did “Mzungu” haircuts, he said he did. I was a little sceptical at first but I then went on to explain using hand movements to reiterate what I was saying. I told him that first you wet it, then comb it down and snip off the ends, his exact response was “Yeah yeah”, the kind of ‘Yeah Yeah’ that teenagers use when they think they know everything! Anyway, so I showed him how much I wanted cutting off whilst my hair was still in a ponytail, before I knew what was happening he had already grabbed a pair of scissors and just snipped my ponytail off without even taking it down! So much for knowing what he was doing! Anyway, I walked out refusing to pay the guy who bodged up my hair. I had emergency reparations made to it later that afternoon. The first guy was charging 30p and the second guy was charging about £5, so I guess it is worth paying that much extra!
I went to Kampala 10 days ago to sort out my permit. I had all the documents that were specified on the official list. Of course, I was sent back needing two more ‘documents’. I returned a week later with all the extra documents that I needed plus the two extra ones. Again, I was sent back needing more!
The mouse that was in my bedroom has now made its way into the kitchen. I have had to buy containers to store all my food in, as it made its way into the porridge oats and the pasta and the biscuits. Nathanial was sitting in the living room the other day playing with his toys and I was reading a book when he exclaimed “Mummy, there’s a frog,” pointing in the direction of the kitchen. I went to investigate, hoping to catch it and put it back outside. What I saw was not a frog, it was either the mouse that had quadrupled in size since I first saw it, or it was a rat! I didn’t really get a good enough look at it. I discovered the hole where it comes through and will try and have the landlady fix it.