Wednesday 25 July 2007

Siloe High School

We're now in our third week and there are still no sign of Des and Dallan's bags and there's no response from them about me and Dee's stolen things. So I encourage you all to boycott British Airways or at least throw something at their offices or employees. Helen if your reading this, when you start being a pilot you're not allowed work for them ok?Right, rant aside we're doing well and moved onto our new school and accomodation. Tuesday was a national holiday for the King's birthday so all the people were hammered across the country. We moved into our new accomodation Mafateng Hotel in, oddly enough, Mafateng. The hotel is some cross between the amenities of a convent with the clientele of a brothel. There is a big spiral staircase leading up to our rooms which is like something out of Scarface just to add more confusion to the whole place. Our new school is Siloe High School, about twenty minutes away from where we are staying and a nice little place. After spending a week in two seperate groups we join back up into one big group again fo rthis school. The class are really friendly with plenty of characters. The principal is hilarious and really chatty and despite the class being a little bit latre she keeps us occupied until they all arrive. Des is not going to be around with us as much as previously as he is working on some HIV/AIDS awareness software for Camara and has to go visit clinics to interview people and do research. HIV is a massive problem over here in Lesotho with 30% of population infected, one of the highest rates in the world. As much as I love the work we are doing over here and think it's very worthwhile, we are quite buffered from issues such as HIV because we deal with teachers and slightly more well off people. But the problem really can't be ignored and it's great to see someone like Des actively trying to make a difference and educate people about something which is one of the biggest issues of our lifetime. The taxi bus drivers who we have hired for the week are the funniest lads I have ever seen. Barely a word of English between them but as soon as they heard we were Irish they lashed on a Westlife CD and blasted it every time we got in the van. We foolishly had a big singalong and dancing session to "when you're looking like that" and ever since they have it on a loop. The driver keeps on looking back over his shoulder to laugh at us arsing about the place and pays absolutely no attention to the road while his little sidekick just laughs his hole off. Sadly there is video evidence of us doing Westlife which will probably end up on YouTube at some stage and come back to haunt me.After three weeks of teaching we pretty much have the material and our classes down to a fine art. Everybody has their own little speciality subject and we really are working well as a group. Again I must say how lucky we were to get a group like we have, everyone really seems to gel well together and theres been no major fights to speak of. Again there are some stand out pupils who I take aside and teach basic web design. As our course is quite basic some people who already have a basis in Word, Excel, Paint and other applications can get quite frustrated going over stuff that they already know. That's why it is so good to be able to offer things like the web design to challenge them a bit and allow them to gain something from the course. Another one of our contacts over here, Simon, attended this course and as we had our graduation ceremony he gave a speech about SchoolNet and the work they do over here. A large group of the class made a decision afterwards to commit to meeting up and continuing the learning process together after we have left. Things like that are really what we are striving for over here. Giving these computers and these courses is pointless if peple don't take it upon themselves to keep learning and it's great to see them making a promise to do just that. So after saying our goodbyes to both teachers and taxi drivers and checking another school of the list we move on now to the capital Maseru and our final week in Lesotho.

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