This past weekend we experienced a scenario that is so sad...or funny depending how you view life in sunny sa.
A group of SA teachers have arranged, as part of a reciprocal deal, to bring some English and Ghanian teachers out to SA to experience their teaching methods.
So the SA teachers, very well intentioned, arrive to greet their guests but then realise that the guests havnt been picked up at the airport. Problem is that there is a funeral to attend, so they go there first. Three hours hours later they pick up the British contingent who have been patiently waiting. The Ghanians they discover are still in Johannesburg, who having arrived there, thought that Durban was just down the road from Johannesburg and now had no money to fly onto Durban. After a lot of phone calls the English say they will pick up the tab to bring them down to Durban. Their SA hosts remain silent.
Eventuallly the Ghanians arive. The accommodation arranged and the actual configuration of people that finally arrived was different. After about an hour of discussion on who was not staying (rather than who was), a lot of silence from the SA hosts, we finaly get everybody bedded down. The problem here was that the SA hosts, who were also staying, had their eyes on a particular room and had deliberately been obtuse and devious to create a favourable situation for themselves.
No dinners arranged no drinks offered - just lots of smiles and hugs and loud talking. The local headmaster finishes off the remains of lunch as the rest look on waiting for dinner. The English, thirsty now, offer the party a drink from the bar. Mistake as 'the drink' turns into a free for all, at their expense.
It turns out that the schools are closed as this is a long weekend, so the teachers cannot do what they came to do. The teacher that doesn't know where Durban is, teaches Geography, the local organisers are principals of their schools cannot organise, the history teacher wants to see Rourke's drift where the boers fought the british and is surprised to see so many english names down here in Natal. (I was also surprised to see so many English names still ...but thats another story.) Do you wonder why kids world wide do not seem to know anything?
The Ghanians with no bucks are demanding and generally being poor guests, the SA's badly organised and poor hosts. Everybody shrugs, smiles and laughs it off. We were thinking that these guys wanted a cultural exchange..they got it - whats the problem........ha - maybe that there is another four days of this?
Is this a small taste of whats in store for us next year? It seems that as long as we can smile and retain a sense of humour 2010 is going to be a huge success.