February 6, Day 555
The kids are graduating today!
I hop out of bed, excited for the day ahead. I was so tired last night that I didn’t get a chance to frost the cupcakes for today’s class or make brownies. Walk to the kitchen and whip together a blue buttercream frosting and put the brownies into the oven.
Eish, my kitchen is a mess. I’ll deal with it later.
Make breakfast. Meditate. Drink coffee.
Get dressed and pack my things to bring to class at the Brigade this afternoon and discover it is too much to carry. I call Mabe and ask him if he can pick me up but he says there’s no car that is available and reminds me that the power is scheduled to cut off at 2 pm, and that’s the time my class starts.
I send a note to everyone in the class to warn them that we won’t have electricity, so please bring their movie projects onto a memory stick and we will watch them on my fully charged laptop.
Call Moemedi and ask him to pick me up. He comes right away. I pile into the taxi holding a dozen blue cupcakes and give one to him. He eats it with one hand and drives with the other.
When I arrive at the DAC office, no one is there.
Walk over to Chedza’s office to ask if I can borrow her laptop for class tonight, but when I get there I find she is not in the office today.
Oh well. If there is one thing I have learned teaching this class it is that I cannot stress myself just because something doesn’t go the way I expected it to. I used to really stress out trying to make everything perfect, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t help. The Batswana community will always show up to help someone in need and I am sure that even with no laptop to watch movies on we will find a way to get it done.
Sit in the office and work on DAC stuff. Mabe comes and we talk for a while. Mr. Wasetso shows up and we bring him up to speed, since he is supposed to be the acting DAC for Catherine while she’s gone.
Moemedi shows up right on time to take me to class. I load my things into the car and he takes me to the school.
When I arrive at the Brigade, it is 1:50 pm and there are several students working in the computer lab on their projects. I remind them that the power is set to cut off in 10 minutes and to save their work onto a memory stick, not the computer, so that we can see it.
Tshepo is very excited that we are going to have a party today, so we turn on some music on the speaker and we all start dancing in the room.
“Oh, Ms. Abbie I am not a good dancer!” Tshepo says.
“Come on Tshepo! You’re great!” I say. We laugh and dance up a storm in the computer lab.
“See? I told you on the first day of class that we would be friends by the time this class was over. And here you are, my friend!” I remind her.
Karabo takes all of the certificates I printed and says that the Brigade has a laminating machine and she will laminate them for each student. I give them to her.
Sure enough, at 2 pm, the power goes out, just as Karabo gets through half of the first certificate. She pulls it out of the machine, a crumpled mess. I tell her I’ll find a way to have it reprinted.
With the power out, we all go outside and wait for the rest of the class to arrive. I find a log under a tree and sit, enjoying the shade and feeling so happy that the class is so excited to work on their video production projects.
Cosmos comes to join me on the log and says that he heard I used to work in finance. He tells me that he watched a documentary recently about George Tsoros and was inspired. He asks if I can teach him foreign exchange, because he wants to get into FX trading.
I tell him yes, I will teach him what I know about finance, but that FX trading can result in losing money. It’s better that he know the basics of finance first before FX trading, so I tell him we should have a class together and I’ll teach him what I know.
We are just waiting on Phemelo and I see him arrive in a car full of friends. He stands by the car chatting with his friends for a long time.
Finally, I walk over and yell to Phemelo.
“Hey, are we doing this?!”
He agrees, and joins the class. I give a lesson on how to use social media, the dos and donts of posting pictures of yourself and other people on the internet and what the difference is between each platform.
Mabe arrives with Bontle, along with the Brigade headmaster, a few of the parents and Mr. Noah.
There is still no power, so Phemelo offers to play the movies on his laptop for us to view. Everyone takes a chair and gathers into a circle around the laptop. Each student comes up, plugs in their memory stick and plays the movie that they shot and edited.
I’m SO SO SO SO PROUD! They all did a GREAT job.
We have a certificate ceremony and I call each student to the front and tell them each what makes them unique, and then take a picture.
Music turns on, we all dance, eat cake, cupcakes, take pictures outside.
Soon it is all over and the students help me clean up the classroom. I don’t have a ride home, and Mabe has a car full of people. So, he offers to drive me to the center of town and then go back to the Brigade to pick up more kids.
He drops me off by the grocery store, and I thank him for the ride.
Begin the long walk home. Just as I come out from the path behind the prison, I hear a car beep and slow down. It’s Danny, he is giving a ride to my sitemate somewhere.
“Get in! I will give you a ride home!” he says.
I haven’t seen Danny in FOREVER! He used to be my favorite taxi driver but then I think he became busy and we lost touch. It is so wonderful to see him!
He gives me a ride home for free and says I should call him when I need taxis from now on. Cool.
As soon as I walk in the door I immediately feel a sense of relief. I did it!! I came up with an idea of something I could teach, wrote the curriculum, found the students, found a way to also tie it into an HIV education and did the class. I’ve been teaching this class since November and it is finally over. At times it was scary to find a way to figure things out or enroll people into believing what I said I could do, but it all came together. This feels like magic!
Relax on the couch and watch “Grey’s Anatomy”. I keep hearing a crying baby goat in my backyard, so I walk outside to see what is going on. I see a dumb little goat standing at the top of a gravel pile in the empty lot behind my house. It can’t figure out where the exit is in the plot, so it is just standing at the top of the pile crying and hoping another goat rescues it.
I have to say, I love goats, but they are by far the worst animals on the planet when it comes to problem solving. They tend to travel in herds and often if one stands a little too long under the brush or wanders off and loses its herd, it will simply just stand there and cry and cry until one of the goats comes back to find it. It apparently never occurs to them to actively look for their herd. NO. The herd must find them.
Lost your mother because she’s standing behind a tree?
The herd walk too far and you can’t keep up?
Don’t see your walking buddy?
That’s goats for you. So, I walk into the backyard and the goat approaches the fence to say hello to me.
Okay, okay. I walk into the empty plot and open the gate for it. The stupid thing keeps standing on the gravel pile lost. I brave the snakes and thorns and walk to the gravel pile and it finally moves and runs out of the yard.
Walk back to my house and finally relax.
Take a shower in the dark.
Go to bed.