On Friday, it was payday. Normally, this is a pretty glorious day for us – we get to see how much money we will have for the next month, when we see how much or little we will have to sacrifice in the coming month in order to save what we need to. This payday, however, we got a little more – an apparent bad omen for the future of our school.
Kris and I didn’t think much of it at first. During our lunch break, our boss came in to give us or paychecks as usual. She handed out the envelopes in her normal sheepishly friendly manner, then sat down to talk to all of us. She kindly asked if any of us felt like we didn’t need our pension or health insurance. We asked around, and were told by our coworkers that South Africans won’t get anything from pension at the end of the year, so we decided that we didn’t need to pay the pension each month. However, we were the only ones to take our boss up on her offer, as our coworkers all would benefit from having pensions. She thanked us and then left quickly.
At this point, a number of our coworkers seemed to sit more on edge. Apparently, our boss asking us this may be a sign that the school is having cash flow issues, and are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Our coworkers said they had seen this for in their previous hagwans that had gone under soon after they had left them. There was an air of general gloom and doom in the teacher’s room that generally isn’t there on a Friday, let alone a payday Friday.
However, once work was over, the mood was lighter. We were reassured that it was most certainly not a sure death sentence for our school. It was simply a sign that we should watch out for in the future. Apparently hagwans will go under without warning, simply telling teachers to leave because the school didn’t exist anymore, and this is why one must be careful of signs such as that from payday, just to brace yourself for it before it happens.
Nevertheless, I remain relatively optimistic. There is nothing that we can do if it does go under, so there is no point in stressing about it. What will happen will happen. And when it does, Kris and I will face it the only way we know how – together.