It’s not been a great week at School. Firstly, because two kids in Year 8 were diagnosed with H1N1, all of Year 8 has been at home, working via software that allows teachers to post work and students to submit work, chat, discuss it, etc. A few of my kids have submitted things electronically, but not all. Next, until today, it has been freezing, but not unbearable (once one is in a classroom with a functioning heater). Finally, on the only day of the week on which the sun appeared, the power went off, and, with it, the water. We persevered until noon, and then loaded our charges onto their buses and sent them home.

It is amazing how much modern schools rely on electricity just for the teaching – no power, no computers, no internet, no photocopying or scanning, and, no expresso machine in the canteen!

We were home by 1pm, and Helen took the opportunity to garden, with “help” from Machiato. Later, Helen went for a run, and I went for a stroll through the village, to a supermarket on the other side of the expressway. It was quite nice (comparatively speaking) when I set out, but was cooling rapidly by the time I returned, at about 4.30pm.

I returned though some of the back streets. I noticed two blokes examining some very red-looking meat at a stall near the wet market. I was dismayed to realise that the rest of the carcass was quite clearly dog. There are many things on sale at stalls and markets around Yong Tai, and, presumably, every other Chinese village, but this is the first time that I’ve realised that I really didn’t want to know.

The official reaction to H1N1 is interesting. Apparently, some local health officials turned up at School late one afternoon, and had the full bio-hazard gear on, like something out of the X-files. The story is that the other major international school in town is worse affected than us, and will actually be closed for the beginning of next week. Still, I read, a while back, that an outbreak of swine flu in the provinces could have devastating consequences, so the authorities jump on anything that remotely looks like H1N1.

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