Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mmathethe Typing School for Boys

Man I wish I lived up in the Kalahari just to be able to name this post—but I'm in the southern part of the country and loving it equally. Botswana may have been a well kept secret to most if not for Mma Precious Ramotswa, yet the books are not flaunted in stores here. Even though she is only a character in the Ladies Detective Series, she portrays a woman of great character with true principles. She uses wisdom and native common sense to solve problems, and realizes that a chance remark, a careless involvement, may make the difference between a life of happiness and one of sorrow. The Lady Detective series evokes an image of Botswana, the values of its people, the simple characters and choices, their lagging technologically. Having read the books a long time ago, I reflect back on them and take refuge in how Mma Ramotswa weaved in and out of her dealings with people.

The rythym of Botswana life is a leisurely pace, and, like Mma Ramotswa, what I've learned having lived here a year now, is that you cannot interfere with Batswana's without running the risk of changing them profoundly. Innately, I think that the Batswana know this, which is why it takes so much time for them to really accept you on a deeper level, and trust that what you have to offer will be the right thing. It's almost a remarkable shift of what has occurred in relationships after being here awhile, especially with the teachers.

Having said my Botswana schpeel, I have not started a detective agency as of yet, but, as such, I have followed suit and started a Typing School for Boys---well, it started me, when out of the blue, Lefika came running up to me asking to teach him how to type---he didn't know the word type, so he motioned with his fingers. He told me he only saw people around here typing with two fingers, and that if he was gonna be a lawyer one day, he needed to know this. I love this kids brilliance, reasoning, and his curiosity that there's a world outside of a small village. So, religiously, he's come daily, and a group of 5 kids, plus my Supervisor, have followed for the typing ride. Half hour increments they file in and out, some staying to watch others, some more competitive, some just hungry for knowledge and skill. It saddened me though, when, Stanley, who is in middle school, was as stiff as a board, thinking that he would get beat if he made a mistake, and confused about his hands not moving properly. The sad part is that these kids are taught in such a linear fashion, and they have difficulty even coordinating specific games on my i phone. So after soothing him down, adding laughter and humor to the typing, Stanley is relaxing, starting to enjoy every moment, making sense out of the typing games, and he makes sure he's the last one of the night so he can get extra time.

It's been so much fun having my little typing school, and like Mma Ramotswa, I'm realizing that how you say things, and what kind of involvement you have, has an impact beyond what an outsider can even imagine. Now if I can only get young Lefika to stop kicking his chair while typing, I'll really have accomplished something!

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