Monday, July 8, 2013

The Veld School, Round Two

A few weeks ago I once again accompanied my learners to the Veld School in Aus – an outward bound/life skills kind of program, run by a well-meaning but very strict man, Om Dion. I wasn’t quite looking forward to the week, because my memories of last year were not so nice – freezing cold, not bringing any snacks [very dumb on my part], being surrounded by naughty children 24/7, and most importantly, the scariest experience of my life thus far, climbing a mountain in the pitch black, no flashlights or anything, all while children tried to hold on to me and I tried not to be the first person to fall to their death. That said, this year the Veld School was a breeze! I remembered to bring snacks, it takes A LOT for naughty kids to get the best of me nowadays, and I brought all the warm clothes I have in Namibia. PLUS, I didn’t have to climb the mountain again!!!! The other veteran teacher and I were beyond relieved when Om Dion said we didn’t have to climb it since we’d already done it once – surviving the first time was lucky, going a second would have tempted fate. Thank goodness!

Team Cheetah dropped off in the veld... notice that only
one of the boys is actually trying to use some map skills!
They're in for a long night.
The drama continued to be heaped onto the kids prior to their veld excursion. They learned their map skills, and then were told to remember to put towels around their necks for the hike, because when leopards attack they go for the neck. I know this was said partially in jest, to see how gullable the kids were [very much so, most of them had their towels around their necks the whole time], but the day we got there Dion told the teachers that a shepherd had actually just barely escaped a leopard a week prior. There really are leopards, hyenas, and snakes in the area, and I would not want to be alone in the veld at night! Good thing groups of 12 year olds are too loud/cumbersome to be attacked! At the final lunch before they were dropped off, Dion told the kids they could save the bones of the oryx meat we had eaten, in case the hyenas came for them, so they could throw them to the animals and run in the opposite direction. All of a sudden the girls started to dash for the bones on the boys’ plates [they had been sent to run up the mountain for being too loud]! The kids survived their adventures through the bush, climbing the mountain, and not getting dinner for the night because they failed to find the food vouchers hidden for their respective teams at their coordinates.

Teamwork competition day - they could have just stepped over the
stones to get to the other side, but they didn't listen closely
to the directions! Most ended up trying to high jump over the wire!
This year the girls were the ones causing all the problems, and the teacher from the other school in Luderitz that was with us, who was also my roomate for the week, was really driven crazy by their antics! The girls were passing notes to the boys, and were caught playing spin the bottle even! Middle School drama. I think the biggest reason, among the many others, that I enjoyed the camp more this year, was that I understand Afrikaans so much better a year later. The majority of the camp is conducted in Afrikaans, if not by the instructor, then basically the whole time by everyone else, learners and teachers. It was definitely a week where I realized how much I really understand, even if I choose not to speak it to my kids.