Saturday, 10 April 2010
naked men and monks
The first fieldtrip from Markham College was a strange occurance. A fieldtrip to look at tectonic action whilst only travelling 10 minutes away from the school (you couldnt quite do that in Birmingham, although the great Dudley earthquake does come a close second to the Lima coastline).
We started out at 7.30 (yep school really does start at 7.30 - its a killer) and we all jumped into a minbus hired for the day. The kids seemed aprehensive and did not look overly excited about the idea of a fieldtrip down the road from school.
Len Hussey was the man in charge of the group and he turned up to the trip attired in what can only be described as 'urban combat' gear. I felt a tad underdressed for the day without a bandana on. Len seems to break the trend of geography teachers wearing tweed and cords and instead wears a combat jacket, bandana and sunglasses (clearly remnants of his time in the Peruvian army!) (see the photos).
The first stop was looking at the cliff faces and where water is pumped out to be taken to the shanty towns of the local area. We then saw a coastal upwelling as water naturally pumps out of the ground as we reach the water table (an impressive site that started to get the kids interested in the day).The hunderds of boats in the sea is also a sight to behold. Hundreds of tiny row boats belonging to the local fishermen who provide the fish in Lima. The big trwaler boats only fish for fish to be sent abroad and the local fish comes from these tiny boats (see the photos in my flickr account).
the next highlight (apart from the tectonic faulting) was the strange man on the cliff face. Len was talking to the kids about magmatic insurgencies whilst a couple of the boys started giggling. I tunred to tell them off only to see what they were laughing at. Behind Len was walking a man who had just come up from the nearby shanty town, nothing funny in that, but then on closer inspection the man was not wearing any trousers ........or any pants!!!. He just had a jumper on and was slowly walking along the path, everything on show. Thankfully none of the girls turned around and Len kept focused on the geography rather than noticing this man's geographical feature of his own. Although even with his jumper on, he was clearly still cold!!!!
The day then progressed to plan, with no further nakedness and with the 18 year old kids getting more and more into the trip. That was until we reached the final cliff face and we were confronted by a monk. The monk prayed for us and held his crucifix aloft calling for help from the Gods. He then slowly walked around the coast and to the end cliff face (see the photo - you can just about see the monk). He then started praying again, before diving head first into the sea below. The pupils cheered and screamed, I panicked as the waves were huge, but he came back to the surface unhurt and then started clambering back up the cliff.
The day was a success and the oddness of some of the people in Lima never fails to impress.
On Friday I had to do a lesson with my form on respect. They had to list people that they do not respect and this time their prejudices rose straight to the surface. I went around the class, one by one.
"who do you not respect"
and the answers came thick and fast
yes, you read that correctly. One kid actually said gays. I stopped the session and asked how they could say that?
"have you seen gay people kissing sir?" he said "its disgusting"
so I stopped the lesson and spent 15 minutes explaining why they should respect gay people but the kid just would not have it.
Then the kids all spoke up and said
"ok, sir. We can accept the gay thing but we do not have to respect bus drivers. They cut you up, they shout at you, they are dirty, they have no respect for anybosy else, so I have no respect for them"
Now when they are talking about bus drivers, they mean the combis. They are not talking about your normal West Midlands Travel driver. These buses are a nightmare, they do cut everyone up, the buses are packed, they are dirty and the drivers shout almost as much as they use their horn. I could understand the kids' argument but again I tried to explain why respect is important. But it was like teaching respect and understanding of German people to a group of British war veterans.