Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Torch and Mattress

A minor success this evening! I headed up to Kovalam Junction to get a bite to eat when I decided it would be sensible to buy myself a torch. The street to my house doesn't have lighting other than the occasional strip lamp or light from houses and it's pitch black at points - with mud and puddles to the sides. I got to the electrical store and had just made the purchase when all the lights went out - good timing or what?! It's an LED torch which takes AA batteries - and I have a set of rechargeables with me - so there's a decent amount of light and the batteries should last well.

As in the last few days there's been a teacher ill or missing for some reason. Classes are then doubled up and I generally assist with these bigger classes. They've mostly been art and maths - no English yet so I haven't had a chance to help with those classes, which is where I think I'll be able to help the most.

I helped one 15y.o. girl for maths today - just basic stuff. We were doing subtraction and I really think that she hasn't grasped that physical items can be represented by characters on paper - it really was that basic. We'd have a card which said something like "11 - 7 = " and she'd write down 11 marks and then cross off 7. Well, that was the theory! She'd often write more and cross off fewer, then even if she did end up with the right answer she'd write down something else! I think I could do more work here and hopefully teach her something.

This is in contrast to the kids who arrived at my house for tuition from the woman next door. They ranged in age from 6 - 13. Even the 6yo understood numbers and was doing sums mentally, and getting them right! I spent half an hour with this little group, reading them a story (which they found boring - was it me? or was the story incomprehensible?) and then doing things like sums, colours, items of clothing, parts of the body, sports etc etc, which they were much more interested in. They were lively little things, in contrast to some of the kids at SISP who look as if they've missed out on their childhood - no messing about, no eagerness, no spark - some look like little adults at the age of 6 or 7.

I haven't been able to get Internet for this place yet. Reliance has no cable to Kovalam. I need to try Asianet or BSNL, TATA etc but without Internet or a phone book I don't know how to contact them... However, one other success today - I did manage to find a shop and order a coil-spring mattress! It's coming tomorrow or the day after.

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