Friday, October 7, 2011

"Busy Ballay Biology Bangura"

Quadruple B. That is what one of my teachers called me the other day while we were joking about how busy I was with teaching, working in the library and everything else school related. While busy, life has been good. The library is coming along, last Saturday I was working in there with one other person and before I knew it about six kids were in there helping us to wipe the books, taking off their own shirts to wipe when I ran out of towels. I'm pretty sure it was just because they wanted to listen to K'naan blasting from my ipod speakers, but I regardless I was grateful and once again surprised by their willingness to help. When we finished wiping for the day I let them look through some of the books and it just reaffirmed why I was attempting what seems a very dubious project. They were so excited and asked me many questions about the things that were pictured in the books, like space ships and foods that they had never seen. I am very excited for when everything is cleaned and organized and the library will be ready for the kids to use.

Sorting books in the library has been kind of fun. There was a whole cupboard full of old books from the fifties and sixties that bore a stamp on the inside saying 'discard,' 'for donation,' or even 'obsolete.' I can't help but wonder about the places that these books came from, who has read them before and how they ended to be in my little school library in Kamabai. All I know is that I am glad that they are here and I am going to make sure that the good intentions of whoever did donate them are realized when the kids actually get to read them.

This week has been good, not all of the students are coming yet, which is crazy to me because I'm having my first test in Biology next week. But the students that have been coming I've been getting to know and it's been just another example of the overabundance of welcoming and friendliness in Salone. I've been getting into a rhythm of lesson planning, teaching, cooking and cleaning, it is a little bit like I'm a real adult now, weird. The only problem is that many of my students at the SS level (the equivalent of high school in the U.S.) are my age or older and don't have any qualms about professing their love for me or telling me that we should get married. Awkward. Just another challenge of being the only white person in town. Today at the football match between Red House and Blue House I was acutely aware of my skin color. There is no sense of anonymity here which was nice to retreat into sometimes in the U.S. Here, everyone knows me, shouts my name, the kids run up and hug me, and while the majority of the time I'm fine with it, find it comforting even, today I was struck by how odd it was. From the time I entered the field and walked to the other side to stand in the shade (I'm not trying to get more freckles than have already sprouted up on my arms and face) I was yelled at so many times it was overwhelming. I just wanted to come and support my house while watching the game, but I couldn't just fade into the buzz of activity, because I was creating a new buzz of activity. I don't know if I'll ever get used to the amount of attention that I draw here. But, I realize that this attention is just based in curiosity and that is one of the goals of the PC, to share American culture with host country nationals, so dealing with the increased attention is just another part, however challenging, of my job.

Anyways . . . today I am going to a jam and then tomorrow I'm going to Kabala to meet up with some other PCVs to celebrate my friend's 25th birthday. Should be fun! I love and miss you all!

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