Monday - The week started in Deventer. It was a relatively easy day for us, as we had a 'normal' amount of students coming to the boat 44 in all. It was one of the first times we had a real big and nice quay. Most of the time we have to make do, which is not always easy. The weather was warm and sunny, the students did not give us much trouble and the evaluation at the end of the day went very smooth. A perfect day.
Tuesday we were in Zutphen. We had students from two high schools, 145 in total, which is pretty much the limit of what is manageable on the Zeester and also the limit of what we as a crew can handle. We had to work very hard, also because one of the schools was a school that specializes in 'anti-authoritarian teaching'. That made it really hard for us to do the brown-eyes blue eyes exercise the way it has to be done. The kids tried to revolt, tried to walk away and were totally obnoxious. We all were exhausted when the day was done.
Wednesday we arrived in Doesburg. We had 67 students there and apart from a little trouble with the harbour master -who was under the impression that we had moored at the wrong spot- it was another routine day. At 10.30 in the morning we did a chat session on the #ZA Channel. It was nice to be there again, but the communication between the students we had on the boat and the people who were in #ZA was a bit crosswired. It is not easy to talk about a heavy subject (racism) in a chat-session with South-Africa when students say things like "I hate racism". period. Of course it is not that easy. What do you reply when you're living in a country that has just started a healing process? We talked it over with Dianne and Chris and Ruth, and we all agree that for a next chat-session (maybe next week?) we have to prepare in advance. Ruth and Chris will question students a few days about a subject. After this we will make a case and present it on the list, the homepage and through Dianne Faktor, and a few days after this we will announce a date/time, so everybody will have time to prepare. Oh yes, about the mailing list - We think it goes vey well. The only problem is that we are so busy here. We would love to reply on a lot of things, and the're also a lot of messages from students waiting to be translated. We'll have one or two 'slow' days next week, so we will take care of it then.
Thursday we woke up vey early, the weather was a bit 'greyish', or as we like to call it in Holland 'modern' weather :-). We where in for a suprise. At 10 in the morning, when the first students arrived at the ship, the sun broke through the clouds and it was summer! It heated up very quickly and we had a beautifull day in Arnhem. The ship was moored at the rigtht bank of the river Rhine, in front of the local government building of the Province Gelderland. During Lunch time, The Kuni Kids did their concert and a lot of people, most of them civil servants, came to listen. Later that day digitaries from the City dropped by for a refreshment and a chat. The students this day were not a real challenge. Most of them were nice and well behaved.
Friday we sailed the river Waal to Nijmegen. It was hot, so very hot! 34 degrees celsius (92 Fahrenheit) which is a bit abnormal in The Netherlands. We put up a big tent on the quay and hosed down the ship with water all day. We had students from two schools that day - and on top of the fact that the weather was making them very hard to handle, amongst them were some so-called 'problem-kids'. This day wasn't funny at all. In the afternoon, when we were all tired and hoarse, and soaked with sweat, 50 of the blue- eyed's revolted and walked away. Also a lot of commotion erupted when we had to become 'physical' with a few (Suzette took a kid by his shirt and shoved him to the right when he jumped in front of a truck, Ronald had to break up a near-fight and later Suzette put a girl who was very obnoxious back in line). By the time it was two 'oclock they were all screaming bloody murder and 'mistreatment' and 'violence'. We immediatly broke off the exercise and put them through the evaluation, which settled them down a bit. After that we had a long talk with their teachers about all the claims they had made about physical violence. What a day. The crew debriefing after that was also a bit overheated. Good thing that the weekend is there and that the weather forecast for next week says that it's going to be nice and sunny, but maximum temperatures only 27 degrees, which is quite nice. Greetings from the overheated and crisply baked Zeester Crew! (Antoine, Suzette, Ruth, Chris, Mireille, Seyda, The Kuni Kids, Deniz, Kitty, Ronald, Radjinder, a.o.)