Well hey there amigo, I humbly want to say thanks for stoppin by and takin interest in what this girl is doing! While you read, Keep in mind that the ideas and thoughts expressed in this thing are mine and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Peace Corps or the United States government...blah blah blah...go read!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Half year already???

In exactly one week I will be able to say that I survived the first trimester of school in Angoche. I feel like I’ve been running around like mad but not getting much of anything done. After a handful of random school cancelings for reasons that definitely wouldn’t fly elsewhere, 6 complete schedule changes for 8th-10th grade students and teachers, and the addition of nearly 300 students to my teaching load just last week, I’ve had few opportunities to actually appear in front of my kids. The disorganization drives me absolutely mad. I have gotten through just 6 complete lessons with only half my students in 2 months. I gave a multiple choice test last week thinking it would be easier to grade…and promptly decided I’ll never do it again. After using 30 minutes of class time the previous day to explain and practice multiple choice verbally and visually, I still received answers in essay form as well as some true/false answers. I also caught about 20 kids per class cheating. I wanted to beat my head against the chalkboard. I’m going to think of the whole trimester as a learning experience for me—just figuring out what exactly I’m going to have to do to teach the lil hooligans biology. Although school has by far been my greatest source of frustration, I think my favorite moments have been in the classroom. In response to a cholera outbreak that has caused quite a frenzy with all the misunderstandings of how people get sick, I decided to teach all my 8th graders about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and preventions of cholera. I assume there was divine intervention in the classrooms that day because for about 30 minutes 130 8th grade kiddos were glued to me as I explained cholera. They were asking great questions like “Teacher, do you have cholera in America? Why not?” and “If we can prevent cholera by keeping clean, why did my sister die and not the people who live on the street?” Quite an intense experience.
Although my kids are wild, immature, and unruly most of the time, I love the goofy 8th grade personality. It’s pretty easy to make them laugh and get excited. I have most of them convinced that I built my own house on an island right across the bay and swim inland, dry off, and walk the rest of the way to school every day. The nicest kids offer their dad’s boats as rides in the morning. lol I gave them an assignment 2 weeks ago to teach one other person about cholera and write a paragraph about the experience. What I got back was definitely not what I asked for, but way better. My roomie and I got at least a half hour of entertainment going through their ridiculously graphic drawings of sick people. Things get pretty weird here.
Speaking of weird, Alex and I have quite the array of fabulous fashion items piling up. It’s amazing how tickled the Mozambican women get when we leave the house in custom-made Mozambican garb. Hopefully in the future we’ll have a full line of Mozambican fashion to model for you on our blogs. Some of the stuff our tailor comes up with is pretty amusing. He’s no Stacy and Clinton, but we love seeing what he comes up with. We have also purchased 3 traditional drums (one for each white girl and one for possible guests) that we play on our balcony just about every night, definitely a little post-dinner treat for the whole neighborhood. I don’t mean to brag, but our patriotic happy hour has gotten a lot of attention lately…I think it’s really catching on here.
We’ve started meeting on Saturday mornings with our REDES girls- a group that promotes women’s health/education/support as well as our JOMA boys- a group that uses different forms of art to promote/communicate gender education. They’re both excellent groups of youngins and I’m excited to get to know them well. Our girls are busy prepping for Mozambican women’s day activities—should be a crazy fun day for us with them—I heard Angoche explodes with all sorts of fabulous festivities for the females. Both of our groups are also gearing up for conferences in Nampula City over the 2 week school break.
Yay for a little bit cooler weather!!! I was roasting beyond belief. I’m currently the only person in Mozambique with fully functioning sweat glands, which becomes a problem when the professora branca is expected to arrive at school looking like a pretty princess after a 30 minute midday walk with no shade. Everyone else has problems, but I’m the one who gets the hey-are-you-sick-or-something-? looks. Anyway, I’m super excited for the “winter” here. I shivered once at night last week—it was pretty exciting!
Alex and I have started running at night together and I think it’s boosting our popularity a few notches, especially after what happened a few nights ago. We got to main street and a couple of rowdy little kids started mocking us so we invited/challenged them to run with us. Before we knew it there was a herd of 15ish kids chasing us down main street singing Mozambican children’s songs at the top of their lungs. Hilarious. We really needed the extra attention. Not.
Today I realized that the end of this week will mark my 6th month here in Mozambique. That’s half a year already! Pretty crazy. Sometimes, I feel like a day or week will never end, and other times, I wonder where the month went. All the PCV’s in the northern half of Mozambique met in Nampula City the first week of March for our regional conference—an opportunity for them to pump us full of information, advice, and vaccines while we get a little vacation from our sites. I got a shower and air conditioning for the first time in 5 months as well as a lot of time with a lot of Americans. It was amazingly refreshing.
In other news, I miss you all like crazy. Sometimes I’m not really sure anything constructive and long-lasting is being accomplished by my presence, but I know its right for me to be here, so here I will stay. Meaning if anyone finds a couple thousand dollars in their couch, you would be more than welcome to purchase a ticket to Mozambique. I know the perfect un-touched little paradise, full of green coconuts, music, squirrely lil kids, and two professoras brancas who would love to host you…think about it…

1 comment:

    Reading your blog is a cool breeze to my soul; refreshing and motivating!
    Encouragement- you ARE in the right place! Your teaching job sounds incredible! Each day you show up to teach, you are changing these kids' lives Erin! You are changing their futures, and you are being Jesus' hands and feet, even and especially when words are not spoken.
    As you head into winter, I gladly welcome Japan's blooming spring! My area's full of cherry, peach, and plum trees, all in fluffy, flowery bloom. Summer here is supposed to be super humid and hot- I can't wait! I just had the coldest winter of my life- I got frost bite on my toes! sheesh!
    I miss you like crazy, and we really do need to skype sometime! I think I'll be a lil nervous! Its been almost 9 months since I've talked to you! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! Keep it up girl!