Friday, July 16, 2010

A New Term

I have just taken a stroll through the early morning streets of Joubertina. I went to do the banking. Money was on my mind. After a few steps the icy air had turned my thoughts to the new term, what awaited us and what we might be dreaming of.

The walk also reminded me of England. I never owned a car there and my years at College in Berwick Upon Tweed on the border of England and Scotland were walking years. We used to step out of our stone cottage and take to the high road, winding up and away from the old Roman walled town, to the college.

Down below us wound the River Tweed, strung with its three bridges. The high old Roman aquaduct, now topped with the railway, the trains clattering over it as it strides over the river with big high arches. The trees I remember as mostly bare, the delicate branches of bushes iced over with lacy frost.

It was a schoolroom of cold, and I learnt lessons there about the joys of walking. And here in Joubertina I experience it again in a way, because the mountains around us are topped with snow, and up the road at Avontuur I am told, the snow lies fifteen centimeters deep.

And then I find I am dreaming of surfing, because I often dream of water, and Kelly Slater is down the road in Jeffreys Bay. The sky is wide and that washed out winter blue where the sun is only lemony, and I am still thinking of a still, calm sea as I take the turn across the churchyard and head down the hill towards town.

At the church offices I encounter the Dominee and so come out of my reverie to talk of things, Joubertina things, school things, Koshuis things.
I become aware again of the jingle jangle of the bank packet in my bag. The Koshuis has money worries and I dodge the thought that I have to feed a child three meals a day for R10, or even less. There are so many needs amongst the Koshuis children. We have twenty five children, and they are all poor really, just about all subsidized by the state. Our building is down at heel, with a leaking roof and sagging ceilings, where the water pours through. The girls and boys share a building, upstairs and downstairs where they are sort of supervised and so...

My job description is kitchen and finances only, but I felt for them as they lived there, with nothing to do, no recreation, only study time and a fuzzy, snowy TV crackling away in the corner of the dining room. Ai, things seemed depressing to me, so I wrote a letter and the kind Dominee printed it in the 'kerk' bulletin and sent it out, to those out there, them who have, for those who do not.

I smile now here, on the icy street, when recounting how the children are loving the recreation time we have introduced , made possible by generous gifts from towns folk , where before there was only boredom. I remember the night before, the energy of the table tennis games, the skill around the wonderful pool table. The giggles of the little ones playing with pink ping pong balls as they joyously bounce around the room, getting under foot...
The domino games, played with gestures and expressions surely learned in some other place from adults in another world.

We have pictures up now (the big five) and a carpet, and books to line the walls. We have noise and expectation and energy and life..

And yet - its Friday and I am tired, already.

The truth is when I dream of water, somewhere in there is a sailboat, to sail away on. And thats where I am today, all thoughts of England, and the sea and surfing and sailboats.

No comments:

Post a Comment