samedi 29 novembre 2008

November down . . . 8 more months to go

Just two pilgrims giving thanks.

This is a mosque in Bani 40 kilometers north of me. There are about 6 mosques, one of which faces Mecca and the other five are centered around and facing that first mosque. Bizzare.

This is Dori where we celebrated Tday this year. Its sandy. Really sandy. My village is about 65 kilometers south.

This lady was trying to see me some kind of mystery grease ball. No thank you mam. Wend na lok raaga!!

This is the Thanksgiving day party. A bunch of volunteers gathered in Dori. We had chicken, grilled pork, salad, stir fried veggies, mashed taters, and rice ans peanut sauce. It was very tasty. I made hats. As you can see. What?? I get bored in my village.

That is little Aida Rebecca Zongo. She is one month old and so precious!! And peeing on me in the course of this picture. She is Karim Zongo's first child (he's an english teacher at my school). My life is full of babies. Later this same day Salmad pooped on my foot.

The kittens have gotten bigger and will be going to their respective families in a few weeks. Geez! They are cute and entertaining. The mostly black one is the little girl "Petite" and the mostly white is the boy "Petit." Petit will be living with the Ouedraogo family 4 doors down and Petite is going to live with two students, the Kafandos. I am 95% sure that they wont be eaten by their families.

The school year is in full swing now. I have papers and more and more papers to grade. See the stacks upon stacks on my desk. It drives me to the drink - 100 percent alcohol for me and a 50 percent average for my students.

dimanche 2 novembre 2008

New Editions

There have been several new additions to the courtyard. As you can see from the picture on the left, Eloise had two new kittens. Thank goodness they are already spoken for. I can't be living alone with 40 cats. My self-esteem couldn't take the blow.

Three new professors have moved into the courtyard as well. Like I've said before I live in what translates as "a singles home." Meaning that in the courtayd are several small houses for people who live alone. A new english teacher moved into my old house. We got a new secretary who has a baby - that's him on the left. Also, there is a new french teacher in the courtyard who is pregnant and due in december. So, its kinda like a sorority house. There are now 4 women, two men, one baby, and one 14 yr old student living in the courtyard. The women, being Burkinabe, gossip and chat all day long and are all up in my business and want to know what im doing and whats that and aren't i hungry and oh i need to get fatter and why dont i come outside and chat too. I am never wanting for company. Its really kinda fun. They crack me up and are all naming future babies after me.

Scorpion Carrier

That is a picture of what the locals call a Scorpion Carrier spider. I don't like them. They are sinister looking and huge. And they insist on living in my house. I see two a week or so. I can catch their movement from across the room out of the corner of my eye. This particular one crawled across the length of my body to finally rest there beside my head at the edge of my chair. Yuk. Im not as afraid of them as you'd think a person would be. Sure, I keep my distance but I dont scream and shout and stay awake at night worrying that they are crawling on me and laying eggs under my toe nails (they dont do that it just seems like something that would keep up at night). I dont even kill them. I'm too afraid that they can think and I'll find out that they do indeed bite. I mean, look at those pincers. They don't seem to be too afraid of me and so its up to me to relocate when they want to hangout by my right ear like this guy. Ive never ever seen them in the day or discovered a spider web or spider hovel etc that they would live in. And I don't really want to. The arthropods in this country way freak me out and when I'm trying to work by lamplight while simultaneously flicking away praying mantises that want to pinch me, mosquitos that want to give me malaria, locusts that want to make loud noises while jumping in my hair, and beetles (sp?bea?) that want to walk slowly across my lesson plan, and my neighbors one uping each other on the most horrible scorpion sting stories, and what not and I think "GEEZ!!! What is wrong with this country?!?!! Can't a person work without worrying about freakin bugs?!??!! I want to go baack to America!!!!!!"

samedi 1 novembre 2008

You Have to At Least TRY

I haven't posted in awhile. Sometimes I just don't have much to say about PC that you haven't already heard. Hard to believe but true. SO I'll just update everybody on recent events what's been shakin in Burkina.

The first day of school was the 1st of october, a wednesday. 5 out of 11 teachers were actually in Tougouri and showed up at school on the first day, myself included. I didn't even go back to the school until the monday following. By that monday morning (the 6th) about 8 of the 11 profs had arrived and were at least going into the classrooms. I was able to go into every class and talk to them about what we would be learning etc and what it means to study science and why its important to their lives. By the next monday morning all 11 of the profs had arrived. I began formally teaching!!!!!

Teaching is much easier this year but I don't like it any better. Here are the figures for this year: I teach (am in the classroom) 15 hours a week
2 6th grade classes @ 100 kids each
2 7th grade classes @ 90 and 93 kids respectively
1 8th grade class @ 60 kids
I teach in the mornings mostly except for wednesday afternoons which sucks big time because its hot and im usually in a heat induced lethargy that doesnt make for stupendous teaching.
No classes on fridays. sweet. escape.
All told, I'm very pleased with my workload and schedule. My only complaint is ... um ... well having to go into a classroom.

I did have one of those supremely peace corpsy moments the monday morning i began actually teaching. Usually the teachers all stand around in the mornings and chat a bit before going into class. We're just avoiding the inevitable. Anyway, as I walked off toward my 7am 7th grade class I was thinking about the exact same moment the year before . . . . . . (flashback) . . . . . .

I had been in the country almost 4 months exactly. The first three months of which I spent in training learning how to be a teacher in Burkina Faso. The fourth month was spent figuring out how to live and not die in my village. There are many aspects to what exactly PCV's do everyday. My "on paper" job is just one small thing BUT it was the shape that PC service had taken in my mind before i set off on the adventure - I AM A TEACHER. So it had taken me 4 months to get to the day when I started my job. Up until that point it was all training and now it was time to put it all to use . . . money where my mouth is etc. So i stood there outside the classroom that first day of real teaching last year and thought . . . geez, this is it. This is the exact moment where you decide if you really want to be a PCV. You can walk in the classroom and teach and live in an african village for two years and do all that goes with that OR you can go home and enjoy all the comfort and peace that goes with that. In one step I was deciding to be a PCV and I really considered both options. The only thought that was in my head was this: "Well, you have to at least TRY. Yeah . . . i do. I have to try. Its gonna be hard. Yeah its gonna be hard. I have to try. Deeeeeeeep breath. Ok. Fuck it. Here I go." And I walked in and decided to be a PCV. (END flashback).

This year was not nearly so pivotal in my mind but I had a little giggle and burn of pride in thinking about how FAR i had come and how much I had learned since then.