So I am going to start this post with the most important piece of information through the eyes of a Brit… yes you guessed correct; the weather!
It is only Tuesday morning and already we have been gifted with a thunder storm this week. Now, back home there is a thrill in watching the lighting pierce the skies and listening to the thunder echo around the buildings. You can snuggle into the sofa with a cup of Earl Grey tea steaming on the arm rest and watch the latest episode of Suits.
This isn’t quite how the story goes in the Dominican Republic. Every evening the sun goes down at roughly 7pm and so after that, unless the generator is running, you are plunged into darkness making very simple tasks, such as taking a shower, a lot harder – especially when you are trying to avoid the cockroaches that roam around!
So as you can tell, last night I was home alone preparing lessons when the light above me flickered for a moment and then went out. Then the rain started. Now I am quite used to rain having spent the last 18 years of my life in Scotland, but here when it rains it is totally different – the whole village goes silent and everyone is housebound. I was once told this is because Dominicans melt in the rain!
This morning I woke up to the usual 32°, endless blue skies and no evidence of the hectic night before.
Now, I have something a little sadder and more shocking to share with you. As I expected before coming here the treatment of children is very different to the treatment in the UK. There is no health-and-safety-gents to ensure everyone is wearing a high-vis jacket and a ‘bob the builder’ hat, and certainly no rules against hitting children in schools.
I have witnessed countless occasions where children pull each others’ hair because one of them stole the other one’s pencil, break into fights while you are attempting to teach the secondary colours, and pinch each others’ arms just for their own amusement. But today hit me a little harder. While I was preparing for my first lesson two grade 1 boys (age 4/5) snuck into my classroom and started playing around. I ignored them while I wrote up the key words on the board. It was when I turned around to find one of the boys lashing the other with a leather belt.
I was stunned to say the least.
Petty fights are one thing, but I still can’t quite believe that four year old boys are capable of whipping each other with belts. What this led me to questions is: Where are they learning this? Who is teaching this behaviour? Why Why Why is this happening?
I would be a little naive to say that this is going to be a one time thing, but all I can say for now is that I really hope that this does not progress into anything worse and actually damaging.