Saturday, February 03, 2007

Please not again.....

For the third time, I'm preparing myself to live through hot season in BF. Within a week, it has already gone from pretty cool and comfortable all throughout the day... to HOT! And its starting really early this year. Ugh. Not looking forward to sweating through every minute of the day and night once again....

As for work, school is going pretty well. I really love my 3ème students, who are the kids who are going to be taking the national exam at the end of the school year that they have to pass in order to continue on to high school. My 3ème class is exceptionally intelligent and dynamic, and I think that if it wasn't for them, I can't say for sure that I would have lasted through a second year of teaching. There's one girl in particular who is extremely inspiring. Her name is Aminata, and she's 14 yrs old. She lives in a village about 10 miles from where the school is, and she lives during the school week in a house with two other female students. Can you even imagine a 14 yr old in America living with two of her classmates, cooking for herself, cleaning, etc, and studying enough to be one of the best in the class?? She was 3rd out of 40 students the first trimester, and she's just extraordinary. There are some kids in the same class who are 20-21 yrs old (they're kids who repeated entire school years many times because they didn't have good enough grades to continue on to the next class - like being held back, but several times in several different grades). Aminata kicks their asses so bad in school. Love that girl.

My PCV neighbor, Megan, and I also started an English Club for my 3ème and 4ème (the younger class) students. So once a week we get together for 1-2 hours and play games in English. The 3ème kids are hilarious.... the first week we had about 20 kids and played pictionary with them. We split them into groups of 5 or 6 and told them to pick team names. So the first group comes up with the name "King Boy." Now, ingenuity and creativity are not very cultivated in the school system, or in general very much over here, so we weren't too surprised when the next two team names the groups came up with were "Best Boy" and "Golden Boy." We formed a fourth group after some stragglers came in late, and when we told them to come up with a team name, it wasn't a surprise that after they had a small conference amongst themselves, looked at the team names that were already written, they came up with the name "Crazy Boy." Meg and I laughed so much with them. They're just really cute and very bright and very funny. I am really happy that they're the class I get to end my service with because I think they're going to do really well on that exam at the end of the year, and I'm glad I'll be able to say that I helped them get there - at least in math and maybe some english. My other, younger class I teach - 4ème - on the other hand, are not quite as bright and dynamic as the older kids. We do the english club with them, too, but with them it's slightly torturous. For instance, we played 20 questions this past week, and we had people, places and objects that we chose that they had to guess the identity of. So one kid would go... "Is it a person?"... "Is it a place?"... etc until they guess the thing. One example of why this was difficult was a boy whose word to guess was 'Ouaga' (the capital of BF)... so his questions and our answers went like this:

"Is it a place?".... YES
"Is it a village?".... NO
"Is it a city?".... YES
"Is it a window?".... um.... no
"Is it an airplane?"..... um... what?

I guess he didn't understand the game because his questions continued like that for a couple more before eventually starting to guess cities. One other kid also stood up and pretty much stared at everyone for a good 2 minutes between questions. It got awkward.

Overall, though, I am enjoying teaching more the second year and since I am teaching the same kids I taught last year, I know every one of their names which makes classroom management easier, and it's nice to see what they actually remember of what I taught the year before so I know I wasn't totally useless and that they understood my French.

I've eaten some cool things this past week, too. OK, well maybe not cool.... but different than what you'd find in an average American meat market. So throughout the course of a week I ate stuffed pigeon (absolutely delicious), monkey meat stew (not so bad), and bush rat (also not too bad if you don't have to look at the head - which I did). So since I've been here I have eaten goat, sheep, cow, hippo, caterpillars, pigeons, guinea fowl, chicken, turkey, random other wild birds, bush rat, lemur (I think that's what it was), lizard, and monkey meats. Yum. Who says there's nothing to eat in Africa? If you know the right people, someone will hunt and kill something in the night that you can buy the next day and put in a nice, hearty soup.

That's all for now. Just checking in. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the cold weather.....
Only four months to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


At February 04, 2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Steve Schultz said...

High Stephanie,
I thought we discussed when I spoke with you a few weeks ago, no more bush rats for supper...... remember? Ha, ha, ha, I can't imagine eating monkey stew. Jonathan has said he has eaten catapillars etc. He said he even butchered a large pig, he and others. What a trip tyhat must have been. Take care and God Bless!!!!!!! Yes you now have entered the year you come home! It must be exciting for you. I continue to read with amazement Jonathan's adventures. THis past week I made 3 3-way calls to him including his grandmothers and a cousin. Luckily it went fabulous! The reception was excellent and very enjoyable for all. Take care and God Bless and no more bush rats or monkeys for appetizers. When I visit Jonathan next fall, he has mentioned that I will indulge in some delicious dog meat. I can hardly wait for that. Take care Steve Schultz, Jonathan's father.
P.S. We are in the middle of severe cold spell here in the midwest today. "Super bowl Sunday". 20-30 DEGREES BELOW 0 WIND CHILL.

At February 05, 2007 3:19 PM, Anonymous Jillian Jensen Florio said...

Stephie!!!! You'll be happy to know that both the rat and pigeon population are booming, and you can eat as many as you want! Well, you will get some funny looks, but you'll be full! Your pet monkey scares me, I suggest eating him. :) We can't wait for you to come home, we miss you! I sent you a letter, but wasn't able to include pictures. I'll email you some. :) Love you!!!

At March 03, 2007 4:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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