Sunday, November 6, 2011

More on Classes and Student Work

Literature and Composition class has been busy since crossing the border into Namibia. The class began writing college essays. The students have completed a second draft of their essay and are working on revising and editing the final version. Additionally, we continued our study of poetry. The students chose a poem to explicate and recite to the group while on the Orange River. They also wrote original poems based on photographs they saw at the District Six Museum in Cape Town. Below are Ali and Audria's poems. Ali's poem on is based on an image
of a band. Audria's poem is based on an image of fishermen pulling in nets on a beach. In the coming weeks we look ahead to to starting The Second Coming of Mavalo Shikongo, a novel set in Namibia.

Unite the hollow, the chirp, the blast, the rat-a-tat-tat of music
Beat to the rhythm of a racing, well-scarred heart
Trumpet out the pain of harsh, threatening images
Cheer for the wounded, the dead, and the survived
Smile for another day, another song, and another sound.
Fight for your comrades, the people you meet.
Defend the sound existing apart from the crackle of guns.
Believe in your struggle, take heart in your fight.
Determine if the music sounds for what is right.
–Ali, Junior, Montana

"To Fall"
is men dragging nets
All trying their best.
Wetting faces, soiling clothes.
In the sand, they stumble
Muscles crumble
Salt waves rage around their ankles
Fish smothered, lives past
Toiling now finished
They fall.
–Audria, Senior, Indiana

History class has shifted its focus from South African to Namibian history. As diamonds are a major part of the development of this country, we learned about the history of diamond mining in Namibia. We explored the effects of diamond mining on poor countries in Africa, took a closer look at how diamonds travel around the globe, and asked how and why this stone is highly valued. We supplemented our studies with a visit to the abandoned diamond mining town of Kolmanskop; this vestige of the German colonial presence in Namibia is literally being swallowed by the desert. We have begun a unit on the brutal colonial history of Namibia and look ahead to an in-depth study of the original residents of the Namibian desert, the San people.

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