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Wednesday, 15 July 2009


Class started on time but then the cleaner asked if the kids could take the sheets and pillowcases off their beds so that was another twenty minutes gone.I'm trying to do The Very Hungry Caterpillar the stage version and of course no one listens. Kids are falling off the stage, they are touching equipment the electricians have left lying around. The builders are drilling next door and upstairs and it smells as if something is burning. We went back to the classroom and the builders had taken the door off its hinges so the kids decided to hide behind it, then poor Enrique who is nine and on medication knocked a glass over and then sat in a corner picking some of the sixty insect bites he has received in the last week. The dust from the building work started to leave a thick film of dirt and dust on every surface so the kids had to clean the tables and I swept the floor but it was a waste of time as later the dust was back. Then there was a punch up between Macarena and Javier. That was after Luis had scratched Javier and Javier booted Luis. There was an argument about a certain bird of prey called a Quebrantahuesos ('bone breaker') or Bearded Vulture which lives in the Pyreness and whether it drops its prey from a great height or only the bones. That went on till I told them to put a sock in it and for that I am a Fascist and a 'Bruja' a witch or just a plain old cow. The Irish teachers are all in shock and worried they are going grey. There is also a conference going on at the camp with 300 Chinese Christians and the kids are running around making 'slitty eyes' and telling me it's 'horrible' this 'invasion' from China and how the Chinese have probably brought Bird Flu with them and one boy was convinced he had it and kept showing me his hands as they had little bumps on them. Meanwhile a girl had developed a strange rash on her chest and another was asking me how to pronounce words she had written down and another was screaming in my ear. All this in one morning and this is how it is every morning with slight variations. I keep trying to reassure the Irish that this is 'normal' and nothing compared to some of the camps I've done here with some real horror stories but they just tell me they feel like zombies and want to go back to Ireland as soon as poss.

To lighten the mood I reminded them that being in the camp meant they didn't get news from home so they had been spared the story of the Irish man who chopped down a tree and saw Mary Mother of God in what was left of the stump. At a push it looked like the outline of a nun but still people came from miles to touch and kiss it.

It has been so hot about 35 degrees or more depending where and when you are standing and a couple of times I got that sensation of falling or fainting and had to catch myself quickly. Roll on next week.

1 comment:

Cade said...

Hi Ana, we just met at colin's blogue. Just checking what you are on about and feeling a bit sad for the "overwhelming" response to your blog. Not a bloody comment!
Well, you just have one now. Not a reader, though, as I just scanned through and started to feel somehow depressed, but we may meet again at colin's, you never know ...

keep it up!