|An Unofficial Inquiry
Author: Sha Ka Zu Lu Warrior PM
Mafia Island is a really sleepy backwater, a slice of the old Swahili Coast, where local people go about their traditional way of life relatively undisturbed by the outside world. Before this study the working and effects of the Mafia were only understood from a political and economic vantage point.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Words: 1,885 - Published: 01-12-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3091426
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"An Unofficial Inquiry" by Vittorio Emanuelle, January 2013
Disclaimer: All characters presented here are product of fiction. Any resemblances to real characters are of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.
AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one should attempt to act in the same manner as described.
Summary: Mafia Island is a really sleepy backwater, a slice of the old Swahili Coast, where local people go about their traditional way of life relatively undisturbed by the outside world. Before this study the working and effects of the Mafia were only understood from a political and economic vantage point.
An Unofficial Inquiry
After work, Amanda Jaie approached her colleague, Bethany Lore, smiling feebly, still feeling tired after so many classes. Children were rushing by, shouting, yelling, screaming and otherwise enjoying their free time.
"Where were you and Ricardo last summer?"
"Oh …" Amanda placed hand on her mouth, looking around as if ashamed. "… Zanzibar Island."
"Zanzibar Island?" Bethany frowned, still grinning widely at laughing Amanda. Amanda nodded.
"Yes. It is also known as Unguja, and is by far the largest and most famous of the islands that make up the Zanzibar Archipelago but there are several smaller islands that are also part of the group."
Amanda sighed as birds sang above them, toppling trees all around them.
"How was it?"
"Well … it offered spectacular diving and snorkeling to Ricardo, I suppose …" Amanda sighed, shaking with her head as if in disbelief, remembering Ricardo's smile. "… These rustic island destinations offer a more exclusive, away-from-the-crowds experience, you know …" Amanda played with her bag like some little girl, making Bethany envy her. "… And are perfect for honeymooners and romantics." She eyed Bethany in some special way as if announcing a marriage. Bethany looked away, unhappy with her present relationship with Carl.
"Anything special about that island?" Bethany pursued, biting her lip a bit.
"Well … I guess it's important to remember that Zanzibar's diverse coastline also means different experiences across the island."
"What do you mean?" Bethany smiled shyly back.
"Well …" Amanda sighed again, watching budding flowers above. "… Just browse that area guide and list of places of interest or … or simply talk to one of those 'African Safari Experts' about where to go in Zanzibar for a holiday that will match your expectations." She nodded at the end.
"You mean … if I dare to suggest to Carl … it wouldn't be the same for us?"
A car screeched as some careless boy tried to pick up his ball.
"I am just trying to say …" They watched as the impatient driver sped up, leaving boy dumbfounded a bit. They immediately approached him and patted him, trying to calm him down.
"Care for some afternoon tea?" Bethany watched the boy run away, obviously thankful to both of them.
"Well …" Amanda looked at her watch and then nodded, smiling. "Why not?"
Bethany took her under the arm and they laughed in a merry manner.
In the milk restaurant, Amanda also ordered a fruit cup along, watching cars passing by outside in some dreamy way.
"Several years ago, …" Amanda picked a nut, crunching it slowly. "… I started a job with a boss who was focused on metrics." Bethany was drinking coffee with cream. "… He used to tell me that it was all about what we actually measure and what we accomplish …"
"True …" Bethany agreed, slurping a bit, lazy to lift her cup all the way up to her lips, bowing her head as if sniffing her murky drink.
"I mean … that which gets measured … gets done, right?" Bethany nodded silently. There was a woman with a yellow scarf over her head outside, waiting for the bus. Her spectacles had a sharp ends. "… And so we need to make sure we are measuring the things that are most important. I guess …" Amanda giggled a bit.
Bethany noticed a black boy in short pants, staring at the white boy who was licking an ice-cream.
"But for our students, grades are the metrics of their educational life, I think." Bethany offered back.
They watched the bus drive away, some children playing and fooling at the back.
"I mean … we measure their progress in school based on the grades they receive and other indicators like … tardies, absences, citizenship scores and the like, right?"
Amanda nodded, licking her long, slender spoon.
"And I've noticed that so much is riding on grades and test scores in our modern educational system." Amanda nodded. "… Admission to competitive schools, college entrance, … scholarships … and even participation in favorite extracurricular activities … depend on grades." Bethany saw someone's puppy propping on its hind legs, expecting a bone. "… Even car insurance rates are lower for children with good grades."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" Amanda placed hand over her mouth in order to prevent mouth spill.
"But it's true …" Bethany jeered, looking around carefully.
Amanda looked at her and then laughed some more.
"I mean … whether your student has poor grades, or whether the grades are just less than you know she … or he is capable of, … the conversation about grades can actually be a tough one."
Some men in grey suits entered, placing their hats on the hat hanging rack. "... What can someone's dad do to make sure that talking about grades is actually motivating … without demoralizing your student?"
Bethany started to gesticulate with her hand and fingers a bit and Amanda nodded again, wiping her mouth and checking for stains on her light colored dress.
"I believe we should set clear expectations." Bethany nodded, sipping her coffee. Men threw some disinterested stares in their general direction, one opening the newspapers. "… First, … everyone's child needs to know what you expect from them before the school year even starts, right?" Bethany nodded. "… and then … reviewing their schedule and talking about classes that will be hard for them given their unique gifts, as well as …" Amanda sighed, playing at the rim of her decorated fruit cup, licking her spoon. "… Classes that might be relatively easy. And then … letting them know the grades you think they can realistically achieve with your help."
"Oh, yes. I liked that one." Bethany giggled, narrowing her eyes and burrowing her head deeper within her shoulders as if wishing to hide.
"Also … we should strive to separate the child from the grade."
"Uh-hmm." Bethany nodded with her mouth full. "Exactly!" She finally burst out, some other restaurant customers throwing inquisitive stares in their direction. Bethany blushed a bit. "… I mean … we should remember that education is only one aspect of their 'growing up experience'." Amanda nodded, swallowing her cold ice-cream, waving with her hand as if it was hot. "… And also … cognitive skills … they are not always accurately measured by grades in our school." Amanda nodded, watching some greased young men in leather jackets listening to loud music in a cabriolet that stopped at the red traffic lights across the street. "… Each child is a whole person, in a manner of speaking …" Bethany felt encouraged to continue. "… And, and … and grades do not really define them." She whispered the last words, turning around to check on those two suspicious guys, not wishing to be labelled as a "communist".
Some rock and roll music played from the jukebox. Suddenly even their chosen milk restaurant resembled one of those numerous "sock hops", making Bethany sigh in some regretful manner.
"You know what …" Amanda waved with her spoon as if it was some kind of a magic wand, grinning and peeking around. "… I think we should focus more on learning and less on grades."
"Right!" Bethany nodded, smiling to her.
"I mean … if you have a son who has a great command of biology and chemistry, for example …" A large man with a large beer belly entered, swaggering and swaying a bit as he walked, making them risk bursting into open laughter. "… But …" Amanda placed hand over her mouth, her eyes widening as she laughed silently. "… But struggles with spelling."
Amanda suddenly stopped as if remembering something. Bethany frowned a bit.
"So his grades are often low in science, …" Amanda's gaze became hazy as she started to yawn, apologizing. "… Even though he clearly understands the principles and practices."
"All right." Bethany finished her coffee, playing with sugar.
"While we work on his spelling issue, …" Amanda was playing with her spoon. "… We should also remind him how bright he is in the sciences!"
"Sounds great!" Bethany withdrew her head again, grinning like some squirrel at Amanda.
"I mean …" Amanda continued with her fruit cup, looking at the watch. "… If they are learning effectively, … the grades will usually follow after time!"
"Yes!" Bethany stared at Amanda's eyes. "… Oh, Amanda … how smart you are!" They embraced, arousing suspicion from those guys in the grey suits. Large man had waist suspenders over his shoulders.
Bethany noticed with relief that there was a lack of that usual teenager's crinkle of lettermen's jackets and that annoying, soft scuffle of socked feet across a wooden gym floor.
After they finished, Bethany was walking Amanda towards the bus stop.
"So … Amanda …" Bethany smiled at her coworker. "… How should we approach the matter then?"
"First of all … I would describe before your prescribe." Amanda nodded and Bethany couldn't resist and kissed Amanda in her cheek. Some elderly lady that was also waiting for the bus, glanced at them under her spectacles as if mildly shocked. Bethany ignored her. "… We should definitely talk regularly about grades, …" Some motorcycle "gang" passed by, making noise across the street. "… And talk about why they may be where they are."
Amanda paused as some ice-cream vendor passed by, announcing his presence with some sweet music, children already licking their lips as they spotted him.
"We should explore with our chosen child the causes for his or her lower than expected grades." Bethany nodded, placing hand over her eyes, noticing Amanda's bus with regret. "… I mean … are grades lower than you expect because homework is not being turned in?" Bethany pursed her lips and shook her head in a negative way. "… Are homework assignments turned in, but … test scores are poor perhaps?" Amanda noticed the bus as well and sighed. "Also … does your student need help with note taking or perhaps some listening skills?"
The bus finally approached and Bethany kissed Amanda again on her cheek, making Amanda blush a bit.
"You know what … before we eventually decide on our approach, …" Bus driver was waiting, shaking his head and tilting his hat upwards a bit as if in disbelief. "… We should definitely fully understand what is at the root of the problem."
Amanda nodded and then waved back to her, showing a telephone sign with her hand, Bethany sending her smooches, thrilled to have such a wonderful colleague working with her.