White Water Canyon at Canada's Wonderland has got nothin' on tubing down the Sakeji river in the middle of a thunder and lightning storm! but let me start at the beginning.
the morning started the same as usual, breakfast at 7am in the dining hall. i decided against the 'polar bear dip' at 6am simply because i'd been up till midnight on the phone with my parents and wanted to get some sleep! after breakfast the kids have a bit of free play and then SWEETS!this is one of the things they look forward to all term. a small 'store' is set up where each child is allowed to "purchase" a certain amount of candy. there is no money actually involved but the different types are worth various amounts so how many sweets they get depends on how 'expensive' the sweets are that they choose. after the kids are pumped full of sugar, the day begins. the kids begged me to referee a soccer match for them. so i agreed and we went up to the field. they weren't too happy then i chose the teams for them (instead of guys against girls) nor were they impresesed that i allowed the juniors (grades 1-4) to play a quick game first. after about 20 mins of play i allowed them to play "zambian/sakeji" style (no outs, no rules, boys against girls) for the next 15 mins. i joined the girls team, which annoyed the boys :). the boys were also quite annoyed that the girls scored the first (and only) goal. they came up with all kinds of excuses why it "wasn't fair" etc. but we girls knew they were just upset that they were beat out by the girls. :D
after our morning tea the children were rounded up and taken down to the pool/river for the rest of the day. Lina and i didn't have any duties until 2pm so we enjoyed some free time of our own. we were going to go down to the river to join everyone for lunch, but as it started to rain about the same time, we quickly changed our minds and ate at home. around 2pm we wandered down to the river. Lina was on swimming duty and i had volunteered to go tubing down the river with Mr. Poidevin and the senior (grade 7 & 8) students. it is hard to describe the tubing experience unless you've done it yourself. this is not like tubing back home, well it is a bit i guess. first we had to walk to lizard point. about 1/2 way there it started to rain. at first it was a gentle rain but we could hear the thunder approaching. however instead of turning around and walking back we decided to try and beat the storm... ya right! if you've ever been to africa in the rainy season you'll realize how futile it is to attempt to outrun a sstorm. by the time we were putting our tubes in the river the thunder was quite close and we'd already seen a few flashes of lightening. for those of you who don't know me very well, you will not understand how afraid i am of lightening! i tried not to think about the lightening as i plopped myself down into a tube and floated out into the middle of the river. i kept telling myself to watch out for snakes and lizards instead. such comforting thoughts. i was supposed to be at the end making sure all the students got through safely. the students jumped on their tubes and away they went, what i didn't know is that they were 1/2 on their tubes and 1/2 in the water kicking to propel themselves faster. so before i knew it everyone was out of sight and there i was slowly floating down the river. it would have been rather peacful actually if the rain hadn't been pouring down so hard i could barely see where i was going, except of course when the lightening flashed. i used my arms trying to propel myself faster but generally ended up bumping into trees and rocks. i was starting to get kinda freaked out and was praying pretty much constantly that i would not get struck by lightening. by the time i reached the dam the others had gotten out and were waiting out the storm unto a chota (little hut). i jumped off my tube and swam to shore. not easy to do with a wet chitangi (long piece of material used as a skirt) wrapped around my legs! we waited until the storm had passed over then got back into the tubes on the river to complete our journey. of course it started raining again, but not quite as heavily and the lightning flashes were a little farther away. it was quite an exilerating ride! like i said before, i don't think i'll ever think of water water canyon as exciting again! they need to add a thunder storm and snakes and such to make it much more exciting! i didn't actually see any snakes or lizards on my little adventure but that doesn't mean they didn't see me!
so, after our great adventure we got back to the river play area in time for afternoon tea. :) i went back to my house to have a shower and change before i had to supervise the children. as it was raining (still... again?) they got free play in the dorms. i wandered back and forth between the boys and girls dorms to ensure that everyone was having fun yet staying out of too much trouble! i had a few good chats and laughs with the senior girls which was nice as i haven't had much time to get to know them yet. the kids had an early supper which they were allowed to eat in the dorm (normally they would have had a 'bag' lunch outside). the staff had a nice supper of beef fajitas (sp), barley salad, coke and fanta to drink and some yummy cheesecake and fugde for dessert! after supper the kids got their 1/2 term video. this term they're watching "UP". i've never seen it before but it's quite funny. the best is watching this kids reactions! they get SO into it! i had 2 little girls on my lap who both jumped about a foot at one part. i think the staff members are enjoying it as much as the kids are! :) we finish the movie tonight (weather permitting). after the movie the grade 5 & 6 girls wanted me to spend the night with them. i told them that i wouldn't spend the night but i'd hang out with them until lights out. Lina visited with the grade 7/8 girls in the next room. it was fun sitting and chatting with them for an hour or so, giggling and laughing as young girls do. it was like being a big sister to 10 girls. they had fun playing with my hair while we hung out.
today (tuesday) is the second day of 1/2 term. unfortunately it didn't start out so well for me. i was up sick all night last night. i'm not sure if i'm having a reaction to a food allergy, if i swallowed too much river water yesterday or what. there are two children in my class that have gotten malaria, but as i'm not really showing any of hte symptoms for maleria yet we're pretty sure that's not what my problem is. i was able to keep down my breakfast (i cooked eggs and toast for myself) so that's a good sign. mrs ronald, the school nurse is making me drink gatoraid to make sure i get re-hydrated again which should help.
this morning Lina and i were planning on doing the water games thing. but it rained all last night and even this morning and it was cold. so we changed our minds and decided to do rollerskating/blading with the juniors (grades 1-4). the seniors were rather put out, but we figured that they have enough extra priviledges that it would be nice for the youngers ones to be able to do something that the older ones couldn't do. the school has a number of skates etc but most of the are too large or broken so it makes it difficult for the younger kids who are just learning. we also had a shortage of knee pads and helmets which meant that just the grade ones got them. the kids were great sports though and had a blast! one of the staff members had a veggie tales cd with bob, larry and the gang singing 70's music at a roller rink so we figured it was perfect to skate to! :) i even dared to put on a pair of skates and show 'em how it's done! surprisingly i didn't make a complete idiot of myself or fall even once! despite the kids best efforts to knock me over!
it's now my break time so i'm just gonna finish up this really long blog and get caught up with some correspondence.!
if any sakeji alumni are reading this i'd love to hear some of your 1/2 term stories! feel free to comment!