Day 22

Waking up on Wednesday morning, I was faced with the task of how to bathe and use the bathroom without access to water. Though the indoor plumbing hadn’t worked in my apartment since I returned from my trip on Sunday evening, there was an alternate water source (a large plastic water tower) within the school from which I was able to fetch water to bathe and to throw in the toilet when I needed to use it. When I woke up on Wednesday, however, even this alternate water source had ceased to work so I needed to figure out where to get more water. Isaac pointed me towards a tap just outside the school gates, though I received conflicting advice from Becky who told me to have the cook fetch water from this other (mysteriously unexplained) source. Apparently, the difference between the two sources was that the first—outside the school—released harder water which was more suitable for bathing, while the other source released softer water which was better for washing clothes (toilet water TBD). I’d never before been in a position where I needed to think so much about where I’d get my water for the day, and the small annoyance I felt at having to walk to fetch bath water was coupled with a newfound appreciation for the shower and sinks in my apartment which magically produce water each morning without contest.  

I only had one photo class on Wednesday: with Class 6. As of now, Class 6 is my best-behaved class so I was really looking forward to teaching them. We briefly went over their Scavenger Hunt Assignment, their homework (everyone did it!), and the new Brainbirds Assignment. The kids had a harder time doing their assignment than the other classes did, as the exam schedule really interfered with the activities that the students and teachers were doing (and made it harder to photograph day-to-day school operations). Nevertheless, the students tried really hard and 13/16 of them were able to produce pictures that, if not great, were at least following the assignment.

 A photograph of Josh singing (and other Josh playing the keyboard) at graduation rehearsal, by  Osman, Class 6.

A photograph of Josh singing (and other Josh playing the keyboard) at graduation rehearsal, by Osman, Class 6.

 Students study a "graphic" (newspaper), by  Alberta, Christiana, and Ruth, Class 6.

Students study a "graphic" (newspaper), by Alberta, Christiana, and Ruth, Class 6.

I had a few hours between the end of my photography class and the beginning of my pageant practice, so I used this time to do some more wash. Though I had already cleaned the clothes I wore on my weekend trip, I still had dirty clothes from Monday-Friday of last week. Doing wash here is really intimidating to me for some reason, so rather than doing all of it in one batch I decided to split it up and do half of it Wednesday and the other half Sunday. As I prepared my three wash buckets, I tried to find for myself where this alternate in-school water source was. I had seen the cooks hanging around this other water tower (to be fair, it is an extremely large plastic container, though that description doesn’t seem to do it as much justice), so I went over to investigate. Unlike our first tower, this one did not have a tap through which you could run water. It did have a removable top, though, so I dragged a chair over and climbed up to see what I was working with. When I removed the top I was able to see that there was a good amount of water inside, though unfortunately the water was too low for me to bend down and scoop it with my bucket. I climbed down and had just about resigned myself to using the hard, outside water instead, when Sir Cornelius suggested that some of the students help me to fetch it from the tower. Several boys ran over and grabbed buckets of water from the container, though their buckets had the added benefit of a rope being attached to the handle (a note to remember for next time). They fetched me my water and I did my wash, probably unsuccessfully, in about an hour and a half.

When it came time for lunch, I was hoping to grab some mango from the local fruit stand. I walked the quarter mile to the stand in Israel, though only to discover that it was closed. This was a little discouraging, as I only had 15 minutes to eat lunch and was wasting the entire period on my walk to and from the closed stand. As someone who routinely relies on the Internet to inform me on whether a not a restaurant or store is open, it was actually a pretty new feeling for me to wonder when the stand would open again… and with no way to find out other than repeatedly walking to and from the shop, and crossing my fingers.

By the time I got back to the school, it was time for my pageant rehearsal (I guess lunch would have to wait). The girls didn’t really feel like dancing, so I came up with an alternate pageant-related activity: making paper sashes for our “crowning.” Using recycled paper from the office, scissors, and a stapler, I made sashes for each of the 7 girls and drew on each one, in large bubble letters, “Miss Brainbirds.” The girls each grabbed markers and colored in the letters on their individual sashes to make them more unique. This activity took up a good hour (as, every five minutes, I was chasing away students who had crawled through the room’s broken door). When we were done we went through our dance a few times, and then called it a day.

 Princess (Class 5), Tracy (Class 2), Meghan (KG), and Chelsea (Class 1) work on their sashes. 

Princess (Class 5), Tracy (Class 2), Meghan (KG), and Chelsea (Class 1) work on their sashes. 

 Sandra (Class 4) and Ruth (Class 6) work on their sashes. 

Sandra (Class 4) and Ruth (Class 6) work on their sashes. 

 Chelsea in her finished sash.

Chelsea in her finished sash.

I ate a late lunch of crackers, cheese, and jelly, and then graded photography assignments for the rest of the afternoon. When it finally came time for dinner, I made a second attempt to walk to the fruit stand and, this time, I was lucky. I bought a mango and some small bananas and headed back. 

Quasi was visiting Mariana at the school this evening, so when I returned to the school I saw him playing with the kids in the courtyard. I ate my mango and watched the kids running around and, when I was done, I joined them for several rounds of Concentration 64. We finished playing around 6PM, and I then fulfilled my promise to the girls of showing the end of our movie. We watched the last half of Shrek and, when it ended around 7, I was so exhausted that I started getting ready for bed. I think that I somehow broke my mattress here (if it wasn’t already broken), because I haven’t been getting a ton of sleep lately. Hopefully, going to bed this ridiculously early will be help.