Monday, February 15, 2010

Law and Order: South Africa-style

Just a few weeks ago, all the PCVs in SA20 gathered at teacher training college outside Pretoria for a couple days of in-service training (IST). First of all, we had a blast. Every night had a different theme, and everyone got into the activities. We had a talent show during which my puppy conducted Beethoven's 9th with a little help from J and C, T demonstrated a series of unmarketable skills (he is actually quite marketable himself with a PhD in physics), K put coins up his nose (weirdly fascinating) and our overall winner hosted a PCV singalong to the tune of "I'm Evil". The other acts were excellent as well, but too numerous to name. On PCV prom night, people dressed up in everything from curtains to garbage bags and danced the night away in a room decorated beautifully with toilet paper. We even had a costume party where people came dressed as anything that started with a P, C or V. I was a pirate, but there were also preppies and velociraptors. Unofficial PCV activities included riding a mattress on top of a skateboard down a hallway. Overall, the technical sessions may have been a bit of a bore, but we managed to have a lot of fun anyway.

When IST was over, most people returned to their sites immediately. I didn't. Remember the robbery from PST? Well, the local police finally decided to go to trial about a week after the end of IST, so I holed up in Pretoria until the court date when I was needed to testify.

At first, it was great. I saw movies, went shopping, hung out with people I rarely get to see and ate the most wonderful food (McDonald's, Chinese). Then I got food poisoning. From what, I don't know, but I was sick as a dog. It was awful, and I barely had time to recover before the "cultural experience" of the South African criminal justice system.

The safety and security officer for Peace Corps accompanied me to the court and walked me through everything that was supposed to happen. The key word in that sentence is supposed. First, court was being held at the local tribal office. Second, the prosecutor was hours late. Third, the defendant failed to show up! Now they're going to reschedule, and I have to trudge all the way back out there. I am not at all excited. Court isn't held frequently in the village, but there's a lot of crime, so it was really crowded and, of course, I was the only white person there. Awkward. Maybe next time I'll be more prepared. I will let you know how it goes!

Back in the village, I started teaching grade 5 maths and grade 10 English, but tomorrow the grade 10s will begin being transported to a secondary school in the next village. I'm thrilled for them, but I will miss teaching them. The grade 5s are any unruly bunch, but I'm working on it.

Anyways, I hope everyone has sent all their spare change to KLM. If not, there's still time!

1 comment:

  1. Ah! it sounds like you are having an AMAZING time (besides the court debacle) and making progress with your students! Also, I just wanted to point our you, in SA, are more technologically advanced than me, in USA. Jealous of your new phone! I hope you recovered completely from your food poisoning, that sounds dreadful! Love you and miss you!