Friday evening passed in the hotel room as I spent the time doing some analysis of the EREA review data. I figured I might as well do it when there were no alternatives!
Saturday dawned - the last day of the course. It was an easier day for me on two scores. First of all, it would finish a bit early in order to accommodate another class at 2pm. Secondly, I didn't have to "perform" - simply keep three parallel groups of presentations on time and keep an eye on all three simultaneously. Even after six days, I still don't really have a "feel" for the class as individuals. I know very few names, and have no real sense of how they are learning with any certainty. While people are saying nice things, it is hard to say with any surety.
Even on the last day the whole attendance issue yielded surprises. About ten minutes before morning tea, out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the two women who had decided she would come rather than do the make up work slipping off with her handbag and her folder. Not a word - just a swift exit! Part of me wanted to challenge her. Another part thought it would be clever t say to her husband - who was in the class - how sorry I was that I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye. In the end I simply mentioned the episode to Wahab. I suspect my concern about things like punctuality and attendance is a puzzlement to some of them. One of the comments in the nice thank you speech from the district Principal Officer indicated (obliquely) as much!
As many students made their individual farewells, one woman came to me to tel me that before taking this course she had been planning to change careers and to move into hospitality. She said that participating in the course had changed her mind. Better than the woman who told me after another course I taught years ago that as a result of our work on authenticity she had decided to divorce her husband (not in favour of me, I rush to add!).
The evening was a delightful experience as Wahab and Rukshana invited me to a celebration at a friend's house. They said there would be some prayers and a party. I had assumed it would be a Muslim gathering, but to my surprise it was a Hindu prayer service, conducted on mats out the front of the friend's house. They had six or seven musicians - harmonium, and several forms of percussion. Sitting cross legged for a bit over an hour was a bit of a stretch - but it was worth it. Wahab, having spoken at a Methodist funeral on Wednesday, found himself speaking at a Hindu prayer service last night! Fiji is certainly a multicultural melting pot!
The trip back to Sydney was notable only for the huge numbers of under two year olds who squeaked and squawked their way from Nadi to Sydney. Thank God for earphones, and the Kindle, which are a great recipe for distracted travel.
Next entries will be the big trip. Hold on to your track pads!