The new school year got started a few weeks ago and I’ll be giving the first test on Thursday. I went back and forth about which grade I wanted to teach and had pretty much settled with taking 8th grade again. It would the same curriculum as last year so not a lot of work and the younger students are easier to handle. But since I’ve never been interested in human biology it would be another year of boring material and no challenges. Then one afternoon I was helping the DAP make the class schedules and she mentioned that they were switching 8th grade to mornings and 9th/10th to the afternoon. And as we all know, those early morning hours and I have never quite got along. Jokingly I said just that and she looked at me and said matter of factly: “Then teach something else”. I had already eliminated 9th grade because a year of plant biology would be way worse than two years of human biology. The 10th grade curriculum is incredible and very enticing but its means older kids and being responsible for preparing them for their national exam. Again I debated, phoned a friend, polled the audience (i.e. asked Facebook friends) and decided it was worth the challenge. The DAP told me she had confidence in me, my knowledge and my Portuguese and her reassurance definitely helped me make that final decision. So, long story later, I am being brave and confident and taking on the 10th graders and their attitudes so I can teach genetics, evolution and ecology. How cool is that?!
Aside from school, not a whole lot is going on in The Dombe. I essentially took over as librarian so instead of read for many hours a day and lesson planning at home, I do all that while sitting in the library and getting books for kids as they come in. Students have sign out books (we mostly just have outdated textbooks) but can’t actually leave the library. There are some desks in there and teachers can put assignments up on the board and it’s mostly calm. The other day I had like 50 8th graders in about 15 minutes because the professors of both biology and history assigned something in their respective book and they all decided to come by at the same time! It was slightly chaotic and I had kids working onside on the little sidewalk area but kind of fun. The vast majority of the 8th graders don’t know me so they were a little hesitant and did a lot of staring when I spoke. Two weeks ago my group (Moz15) was down in Maputo for our mid-service medical conference and it was a wonderful reunion for us. Some of these folks I haven’t seen since swear-in in December 2009! We had sessions in the morning and medical and dental appointments but for the most part we were free all afternoons and evenings. We ate wonderful food and partied hard in the city and just spent time together! Everyone is having their own unique experience so it was fun to catch up and compare. We were able to determine that Mona and I are amongst just a few volunteers who still don’t have energia and might have the all-around most mato site. Not sure that’s a title I really want but it’s all part of the adventure!
|our "i'll rob you with a catana" looks|
So things are going well. School is good and our Central region social calendar is filling up. The 17ers in our area are fantastic and I’m excited to start getting to know them better. And slowly but surely we are coming together and moving forward from the aftermath of the accident. I think it will be awhile before I can truly work through everything in my head but for now I am just happy to be here and will do my best to enjoy every minute of these last 9 months.
Whirlwind - Dispatch