Liz's colonic journey

Just thinking

I’d never considered the problem of melting suppositories before today. I’m loving the warmth and being able to wear t-shirts without feeling the tingles. It’s supposed to go up to 35C. Pat, Victoria, Elphaeus and the hounds are all feeling the heat, while I’m quite sprightly. We’re having bursts of cold from the aircon to make things livable for the majority, during which time I wander around the garden.

Back to the suppositories, the need for which, comes up roughly 3-4 days after chemo is finished. I don’t fancy putting them in the fridge for hygiene and logistical reasons. Shudder. So what does one do to avoid them changing into impossible to use shapes and creating pools of waxy stuff in the medicine cupboard? My solution is a cooler bag with a small ice pack. Remove one prior to use and allow to warm to room temperature! Amazing how problem-solving skills are transferable.

  1. Identify the challenge
  2. Consider the causes
  3. Consider what would reverse the cause, without creating more complications
  4. Consider whether the materials are available
  5. Put plan into action.

This profound analysis is not helping me with the problem of getting Bwalya and my paper ready for next Wednesday at HELTASA (Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of SA). We’ve got the skeleton and bits and pieces all over. We just need to pull it all together –fairly quickly. We’re quite excited because the presentation is in a format called Café Conversations, rather than 20 minutes to present followed by 10 minutes of questions. This is actually sort of a round table with everybody who wants to, giving the benefit of their insight once they are in possession of the ‘talking stick’.

Our subject is Iconic imagination and Epistemological Access. Big words but an simple question, which came from Bwalya watching a TED talk in which Nigerian writer,……..*., talked about her youth growing up with the mental picture from her consumption of story books of princesses as figures/icons who were white and pink and drank tea with an extended pinky finger. Clearly with such an icon, the notion of an African princess was difficult. Bwalya pushed this idea to providing an explanation of some challenges she found in teaching visual literacy. Our presentation is subtitled: “Marian Munroe is a white thing”. Bwalya is wondering whether the university’s notions of what counts as valid knowing in Arts and Design draws too much on westernized icons, preventing students from accessing the type of thinking/inspiration that creates new images and artifacts. By extension this plays into the learning of Physics, IT and Mathematics (which constantly draw on metaphors for description). It applies to the Social Sciences. Think of our images of what conflict is and what peace might look like. Lots of work here.

I think the topic is provocative enough to get everyone wanting to chat about what is global culture (the graduate who is able to interact internationally) and what is local and which should we foreground. It also pushes the “what is knowledge?” button. Is knowledge what enables you to function practically in your day to day life, or is it what improves people’s circumstances over a lifetime, or is it an arcane mechanism for preserving status?

It’s kind of a suppository challenge really! And this is how university-learned thinking can transfer to everyday life and vice-versa.

I’m delighted that the young people and younger people I work with are asking these questions, and I feel good that they’ll be great teachers as a result of their curiosity –  knowledge creators. And the world can be a better place. I’m looking forward to being in Stellenbosch next week, and hearing what all those folks have been working on.

I hope someone is applying their minds to the ridiculous salaries of Grade R teachers in KZN – if the East Coast Radio report is true – they earn R25 per hour compared to colleagues in other provinces earning R45. Not that people do this work purely for money, but who can live and read and think on R4000 a month?

Just thinking…

* I can’t for the life of me remember this writer’s name. Chemo brain moment!

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Comments on: "Just thinking" (1)

  1. wishing Bwalya and you a wonderful trip … Hamba Gathle! (sorry B don’t know the Zambian equivalent) • looking forward to hearing about the experience on both blogs! x

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