Today has been interesting and productive.
As usual, I did my 40 minute walk to work, arriving soaked in sweat and having to cool off by sitting under one of the ceiling fans in the staffroom. Even at 6:45, when I start my walk, the temperature is quite high and I can just feel it rising by the minute. The humidity adds to the impact of the heat and, although I try to walk slowly, it soon gets to me. The walk goes through quite lush vegetation and by small houses – an unkinder soul than me (should there be one) would call them hovels. I pass the same people each day: a teenager – probably a bit soft in the head – who stands at a junction aiming a toy gun at everyone who passes; an old man in a sarong and sort of turban sitting on the railing of a bridge over a small river or open sewer, it’s hard to tell which; mothers in the street outside their homes, fussing over their daughters’ hair and tidying their school uniforms; several fathers cycling to work with their kids on the cross-bar; stall-holders filleting jack-fruit, sellers of tea and other indeterminate drinks; old ladies sweeping the area round their houses with brooms; hopefully friendly tuk-tuk drivers and so forth. There are also innumerable wee shops which are hard to identify as such unless there’s a gaggle of school-kids buying sweets.
So, having cooled down a bit, it became obvious that today had all the signs of being another long and boring sit in the staffroom. After two hours or so, I thought “dash it” (or something) and stomped off to see Madam and groused at her. The upshot is that I’m no longer going to The International School (TIS) on Wednesdays and she has added some ICT to my timetable on Mondays and Tuesdays.
After that, I walked back to base, had a shower – the temperature had been rising steadily – and crossed the road to TGS. After another chat with Rick, I joined him and a class of seven 10-13year olds and we did some Scratch programming. Rick claimed to enjoy it, the kids seemed to and so did I. I then went to meet the ICT teacher. She’s a young(ish) mother who, before reaching motherhood, was a professional database programmer and she clearly knows her stuff. She is well ahead of me in database programming and seems a good teacher. As luck would have it she was working with the class I’d just had so I joined her for that and following classes. In fact I stayed until 3pm, for an “after school” session with two of the class who want to get further ahead as they are moving to other countries.
A high proportion of the kids are white. All seem to be fluent in English, that being the mother tongue of many. I met a few staff – they don’t have a staffroom, including Rick’s wife and a mix of SL and incomer staff. I like the atmosphere, which is relaxed and informal. Partly because the school might be described as a primary / junior secondary, there doesn’t seem to be too much exam pressure. Some of the older ones – such as Rick’s class – occasionally go to GIC (Galle International College??) to mix with other kids and get a wider range of experience. TGS is a small school with roll of about 150 and the staff seem to know everyone’s name. The grounds are pleasantly green with space for the smaller kids to play.
Interestingly enough, my landlord is also theirs: Sera / his father own the plot the school is on. Rather awkwardly, there is a minor feud going on about the chopping down of tree and snippy phone calls seem to be passing back and forth. Both Rick and Sera have been bending my ear on the subject. I, of course, am keeping right out of it but my sympathies lie with Rick, having seen tree in question lying on the ground.
After work, I walked the 2km up to a nice bakery that Sera showed me on my first day in the apartment. It’s a local Harry Gow (for those who know Inverness) and they do jolly good pastries. You can eat in or take away: I did the former and scoffed a flaky pastry thing filled with chicken cheese and tomato, then something a bit spicier whose details I don’t know. An EGB washed it all down. After a quick trip round a supermarket, I cheated and got the bus back to base.
I was intending going elephant etc. hunting in Yala this weekend, but have decided to postpone. I’m fairly tired and want to get my hair cut – not that that will take four days! No doubt I’ll be regretting my decision by Thursday afternoon, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday stretching ahead. I might just go for a shorter jaunt one day, perhaps to the beach or even up to Kalutara where Jo and Ben stayed years ago.
That’s all for now folks!