Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A Couple of Notes from the Travel Diary, Part II

A Home School in Action

Yesterday we were discussing the thralldom to crystal methamphetamine as it is being experienced in provincial New Zealand.

A more positive experience on our travels was had when we stopped off at a small country town for coffee and some food.  Working in the cafe was a woman and a young girl whom we estimated to be about ten years old.  We were intrigued about the young girl.  This was a school day, and clearly the child was not at school.

It became obvious pretty quickly that the older woman (maybe the girl's mother or "auntie") was involved in training the younger girl in the disciplines of commerce: serving customers, operating the "machinery" in the shop, taking orders, and so forth.  What impressed us was the way the young attendant spoke to us.  She looked straight at us, greeted us, and asked how she might assist us.  There was an air of confidence about her that can only come when a child is exposed to the encouragement and loving support of adults, of whanau.

We looked at the menu, asked a couple of questions, and her older colleague helped her answer.  We placed our order, she entered it into the electronic cash register, then operated the card payment equipment, and delivered our receipt.  We then went outside in the sunshine to tables and chairs surrounded by a neat garden, growing all kinds of herbs and vegetables doubtless being used in the culinary creations inside.

In time the young girl delivered our coffee, then the snacks.
  Whilst doing this a fork slid off a plate and hit the ground.  She immediately picked it up, apologized and said, "Let me get you a new fork."  When we thanked her, she responded with a polite, "You're welcome".  She later came back to ask whether our food was satisfactory and asked whether she could get us anything else.  And so on . . . .

Clearly there was a training programme in action.  Clearly the older woman was training the young girl.  My mates and I were impressed to say the least.  We wondered why the young lady was not in school (the local school bus had dropped off pupils just outside the cafe whilst we were there.)  Maybe the cafe was a working home-school?  One thing was clear: leaving aside for a moment the "three R's",  we realised our "waitress" was getting a solid education in the disciplines of life, in learning how to deal with customers and people in general, and in the basic "rules" of social interaction.

All things being considered, this young lady was clearly getting a sound education in the disciplines of "doing life", as they say.  After our discussions the previous day of the ravaging effects of "P" it was an encouraging encounter to say the least. 

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