Saturday, October 20, 2012

Over Halfway There

Mornin-O! I had to come to use the internet to email something for my school, so I thought I would write a little blog update. Term One is in full swing now and despite the bumpy start, classes are going well. I have been put in charge of making the master schedule for my school, and that has been pretty time consuming and stressful. Hopefully it will be finished soon, as long as the teachers make up their minds about what they want to teach everything should work out. Even though it has been really annoying to spend so much time on it, I was able to give the teachers their own individual schedules which makes the chances of them actually showing up for class a little better. In addition to that I have been working on this science lab grant. We are in the last stages of it, but I’m not sure if it will get approved because of the fact that I only have 10 months left in country. I have been trying to communicate the urgency of the project, but BMT transfers to all aspects of life here, and the going has been a little slow. Hopefully it will be up and running soon. Things in the library are going well. Kids are coming in, reading, asking to take out books. We started a library committee so another teacher and I are going to really focus on the library this year, making it operational, so that next year when I go, the next volunteer can focus on something else. It’s really great to see the kids coming in and researching for assignments, taking books home, looking at the awesome posters Mom brought, and just taking pride in the fact that their school has a functioning library. I’m really excited to start working with my colleague teachers so that we can make it fit best to the students’ and staff’s needs.

Community life is going well. Last night kicked off a weekend spent entirely in Kamabai. I got out of school at noon (I don’t have any classes Friday afternoons, one of the perks of making the master schedule J ), cleaned my house, cooked and hung out on my porch the rest of the day. One of my best students in JSS 3 moved to Kamabai so he could be around for the extra classes they hold after school hours (he lives in a village 8 miles away and was commuting to school every day) and we had a great conversation. He is so incredibly smart and wants to be a doctor. Hearing his story about growing up with his grandma in the village while his parents are in Freetown, being the only one of his siblings to go to school, walking 15 miles round trip every day to go to school the last two years, and now moving away from his family to stay with strangers just so he can study more, reaffirmed why I am here. Now that I am past the half way mark of my service I have been thinking a lot about the future, being back home, seeing my loved ones, and I haven’t really been present in my work. Dennis made me realize that I still have 10 months to really work hard and try my best to be a great teacher, even if it’s not the easiest thing to do . He is a perfect example of someone who despite all of the hardships he has had to endure, believes that God will provide as long as he continues to work hard. He is an inspiration to me and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to meet amazing people like him every day. It makes up for all of the not so great things that I have witnessed since being here. Thank you Dennis for showing me what it means to be a true believing Christian, one who trusts completely in God’s plan, even if it is not easy. This week you brought me back to the reason I am here, and for that I am grateful.    

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back to School!

Apologies for not writing in a few months. This summer has been a lot of bouncing around from one place to another, and while I have been pretty good about putting up pictures, I admit to slacking on the blog end of things, so let’s get back on the blog wagon!

The summer was great. I stayed in Bo for a week, getting to know the new group of volunteers and so far they are turning out to be pretty awesome J Then there was Cody and Ivy’s wedding, which was incredibly fun. And of course my family came to visit and that was a fantastic two weeks. Then I was off to Freetown for a week for a mini vacation and then our mid service conference. After that it was back to Kamabai to get ready for the start of school, which technically was on Monday. Now I am in Freetown helping to train the new PC response volunteers that are going to be working in the universities here training teachers. So, hopefully by next week I will be back in the classroom teaching!
I’m excited for school to start back up this year. I will be teaching Chemistry in addition to Biology and Integrated Science. My middle school kids will be taking the big test this year to see if they can move on to high school, so I’m a little nervous about preparing them the best I can. I think though that if they commit to coming to school, they will be able to do fine, but, we’ll see.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who donated materials that came over with my family. It has been the absolute best distributing them all and seeing everyone get so excited. Everyone is so grateful and says they are praying for everyone in America who helped them. I am really looking forward to distributing all of the school supplies this year as incentives to hard working students; I think it will be a great motivator. Also all of the amazing supplies Mom brought over for the library and teaching in general are starting to make me feel like a real teacher. I mean now I have an actual eraser to erase the chalk board, I don’t have to use a piece of sponge. How cool is that?! Before she left, Mom spent some time hanging up posters in the library and the place looks great. I’ve been doing some last minute organizing and it’s crazy how different it looks from last year. So many thanks to everyone who donated money for textbooks! Thanks to you Kamabai Secondary School now has 85 new books that both students and teachers will be able to use. I am really overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. People I have never met gave so much to my community and it was really beautiful. It has been such an awesome experience to see how just one little thing can make someone so happy. All of the women are showing off with their new earrings, the little kids love their toy cars and I can’t even talk about how cute the little girls with their new dolls are. I’ve given out stuff to ten different families and there are still left over things to give out at Christmas. Thanks again to everyone that donated; it really means a lot to everyone in Kamabai.

 Since Mom and the girls came everyone in town is asking me how they are doing. It’s awesome that everyone knows my family now. The kids really loved the summer school that Mom and the girls put on and when they ask how they are doing, they always ask about Miss Kayla, Miss Kelsey and Miss Sallay (mom’s African name). And of course, Simon Says is in Kamabai to stay. Some things from summer school with the American ladies are gonna be hanging around Kamabai for awhile.

Alrighty, I’m feeling a little tired, so I will call it good for now. Thanks again to everyone that donated, it really meant a lot to everyone :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

School’s Out for the Summer!

I am finished with the first year of school! Exams are graded, grades are compiled and I am on summer vacation!! So pumped. This summer my plans consist of going to Bo to help train the new group of volunteers, hanging out in Kamabai, traveling to visit friends and having my mom and three sisters come and see Salone. Don’t worry Peace Corps, it won’t be all fun and games. I have plans to really make my library awesome before the opening of school. I want to decorate it with academic posters, fix up some broken furniture and come up with some fun activities that will help kids get to know the library. In addition to that I want to prepare lesson notes since I will most likely be teaching Chemistry in addition to Biology and Integrated Science next year. Also there is a grant that I am writing to help fix up our science lab, but that has been a bit of a struggle to get going, so if the community doesn’t start showing more interest I might just drop the project. 

The great part about summer break so far is the rainy days where I can put on a t-shirt and sweats (cold weather attire) and read a good book. Also now I have more time to cook and my family hooked me up with some bomb seasonings so my food can actually taste a little bit like home which is nice. I now can make a killer bean, cabbage and sweet potato soup which is perfect for cold rainy days. I even have my neighbor kids liking this strange “American chop” as they call any food that I make. To get people to eat anything other than rice here and have them think it is good is a struggle, so I’m so happy that my kids like my food now and aren’t afraid to try it.

As far as the end of the school year is concerned, it went alright. We had to cut teaching short because of the BECE (the exam kids have to take to get from middle school to high school) which is currently going on right now. Because my school is a testing site we had to finish exams before the BECE started, even though school is not supposed to close until the middle of July. Scheduling is a major struggle in this country. But my kids for the most part did better on this term’s exams, which is encouraging. Unfortunately a lot of them failed. For the high school students it doesn’t really matter as long as they can get a passing average in all of their classes, since Biology isn’t a core subject for them. But for the middle school kids in order to go to the next grade they have to pass my subject, which only about 25% of them did. We will see if my school holds to their promotion criteria and my class next year is small, but I have a feeling that some kids will slip through, that’s just how it works here. 

My principal and I did have a really great meeting a few weeks ago where we reviewed this academic year and discussed our strengths and weaknesses. We then made up an action plan about how to fix those weaknesses and we were able to come up with some really great ideas that I hope are able to try and create solutions to these problems. I am so grateful that I have a principal that is willing to sit down and have these conversations and actively try to make a change in the school. Development is never going to come to Sierra Leone unless Sierra Leoneons want to make a change and I am thankful that I get to work with a staff that for the most part falls into that category. 

With the ending of the school year comes the anniversary of my arrival in Sierra Leone. It’s crazy to believe that I have been here for one entire year. I think that life back home has been put on pause, but anytime I get on the internet or talk to my family I know that’s not true. My baby sister just graduated high school for goodness sakes, how did that happen? I am so thankful that God brought me to this country and I am happy to be doing this work, but at the same time I am ready to go home at the end of my contract. Being here has really made me realize what priority family and friends take in my life and how I really don’t like being disconnected from them. At the same time I have come to realize how location and culture can impact and change a person and I am grateful for the opportunity to constantly challenge and shape my attitude, my worldview and my identity. This experience so far has been one of the most fulfilling and difficult things I have ever done and some days I’m so happy I did it and other days I think I am crazy for moving 7,000 miles away from everything I know. But, I value learning about the world outside my limited Midwestern American experience and if there is anything I have done here, learning is it. As much as I want to go home next year, I can’t imagine leaving this place, especially my new family and friends here. With the first group of volunteers getting ready to head home in a few weeks at the conclusion of their two years in Sierra Leone, and the new group just arrived, a change in my family is coming. Also PC Sierra Leone is getting a staff alteration with our Country Director, Medical Officer and Programming Manager all being changed. This upcoming year will be a different experience than my first year and I hope a better one. So much of creating effective change comes with knowing the community you live in, how to make things happen, who you need to work with etc. Now that I have that down I hope that I will be able to be more successful in my projects this year. I’m sure this next year will be full of new challenges but I think that now I am better equipped to handle them. At least I hope I am :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tenki! Tenki! (Thank you, Thank you!)

I just received a package that contained some beautiful Easter cards from a class at St. Joseph’s school (the elementary school that I attended and that my mom currently teaches at). I so appreciate the cards and all of the prayers, it means so much. I enjoy reading about what is happening in St. Johns and when I share the drawings with my neighbor kids they absolutely love it. I wanted to mention it in my blog because if I send a letter now it won’t get to St. Joe’s until after school is out and I really want to make sure that the kids know how thankful I am for their thoughts and support. There were a few questions so I’ll take a minute to answer those . . .

Q) Is it always hot there?
A) Simple answer: Yes. During the day it always ranges between 70 and 100 degrees. Sometimes at night during the rainy season it will cool off a little and I will have to cover myself with a blanket, and there was even one morning that I wore my Hope college sweatshirt (that was a glorious morning) but most of the time I am sweating. Good thing I packed a lot of deodorant.

Q) Are you close to the equator?
A) Ya, Sierra Leone is very close to the equator. That is the reason why we only have two seasons (rainy and dry) and why it is so hot. We are in a tropical ecosystem. When I was teaching about climates to my middle school class they thought it was crazy that there could be a place that was colder than here (and that people were able to live there). I showed them a picture of snow and they were amazed. Fun times :)

Q) Are you having fun there?
A) YES!!!! Everyday I get to learn something new, and to a nerd like me that is the definition of fun. It’s not always the easiest thing to be away from my family and friends or the many amenities that come with living in the states, but the good days definitely outnumber the bad. (But the candy the class sent me will help with the bad days :)

Q) How’s the food there?
A) The main local food here is rice with a spicy, oily, sauce. Normally it has fish, but it can also be made with beef or chicken. The main sauces consist of cooked leaves like cassava leaf, potato leaf, or a plant called kren kren. In addition to the leaf sauces they make a really good sauce from ground up peanuts and then another yummy one with tomato paste and onions. When I first came I didn’t really like the food and it was way too spicy for me. But now sometimes I find myself craving rice and sauce and the pepper doesn’t bother me so much anymore. Another perk about the food here is the delicious fruits that grow. Right now its mango season and I am in heaven. We also get fresh bananas, pineapple, oranges, watermelon and guava. Most of the time I cook for myself on my coal pot and I mainly make pasta, eggs, pizza, beans, soup or fries. Not the healthiest diet due to a lack of vegetables.

Q) How is your cat?
A) Yathiki is doing well. She is so big now! She has gotten very good at catching mice which I love because now I don’t have to hear them scratching around at night. Everyone in my village knows her name and when they pass my house they call her. They think it’s so funny how I hold her and pet her because her it’s not part of their culture to show affection to animals. But they just attribute this behavior to the fact that I’m a weird foreigner :)

Q) What kind of animals have you seen there?
A) Everyday I mostly just see cats, dogs, birds, lizards, sometimes a pet monkey. I haven’t ventured off into the bush because of the warning about snakes, but I’m sure if I went there I would see more wildlife. 

Q) What is a discorama?
A) An incredibly fun program. It was like a talent show that my school put on. The four houses competed against each other for the top score. There were five judges that decided who won. The events were single dancing for boys and girls, group dancing for boys and girls, single lipsynching, duet lipsynching, drama and cultural play. It was a great time and the kids got really competitive and excited. 

Alrighty, thank you again for the thoughts and prayers. I am sure that is the reason why things are going so well for me here. I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am to you all.

For a quick update on life in Kamabai:
School is slowly starting up again for the last term of the year. The official start date was a month ago but because of some issues, we’re just now getting into the swing of things. The bright side to us not having school was that I got to spend a lot of time in the library and it looks so good now! It is so gratifying to have it look like a real library and not just stacks of dusty books. The kids are excited too, if a little bit apprehensive. The truth is, they don’t know how to use a library because they’ve never had the chance before. Books here are so scarce and expensive that most times they are kept off limits to the kids because adults are afraid they will ruin them or steal them. Which to be honest is probably going to happen a few times as I’m getting the library officially started up, but I want to believe that after the kids see the uses of having the books in the library they will learn to respect the books. My action plan now is to do one more thorough cleaning (I am in a constant battle with the dust that blows in) and then start making the library more inviting. I’ve already got some ideas about painting, making a corner for the primary school kids, and an area for the computer we’re going to get.  That’s another thing to be thankful for, a church from London that started working with our school this year said they found three computers for our school and at least one of them will go in the library! So hopefully next year I can start tutoring kids in computer which is something that they are so curious about. The church also asked for a list of books that we could use in the library, so hopefully we will be able to get some more books which would be awesome.

Everything with the social life is going well. Two weeks ago I went up to Fadugu to visit Sara and go to a jam that was being put on for Bob Marley Day. I didn’t even know such a holiday existed until this year. It was really fun, I always enjoy hanging out in people’s towns, seeing their schools and the people they see everyday. This last weekend I went down to Makeni to celebrate Marc’s birthday, which was a lot of fun as well.

Oh, I realized a few things that should have been on the packing list I included for the incoming trainees:
-Power adaptor: Helpful for when you want to charge things. I got mine at Best Buy for $30. It’s a Targus and has worked well and isn’t bulky like some that you will see, so I recommend it.
-Batteries: You can get these here so don’t bring a two year supply, but its nice to have a few to start you off.
- Knife: A pocket knife works. Or you can get a legit small hunting knife, whatever your style. But its nice to have something to peel cucumbers and mangoes during training.
-Headlamp: I have had the worst luck with headlamps and now just use a local light that I bought. But I know some people really like them and they are convenient.
-Snack Food: The transition to local food was rough for some of us. Having some cliff bars or trail mix stuffed away somewhere would have been a nice comfort those first few weeks.

Okay, I think that’s everything. As I said before, don’t stress, just focus on spending the last few weeks with your loved ones and get ready for an adventure! See you at PST!

Friday, May 4, 2012

It’s almost time for a new batch of trainees!

To anyone who got that blue packet that was so long awaited, congratulations! You got into the Peace Corps! And you got assigned to one of the most beautiful countries in the world, get ready for two crazy years. But first, that ever important question about what to pack . . . I remember stressing out about how I was going to fit all of my belongings for the next two years into two bags and a carry on. Fact: I use about half of the stuff that I brought. It’s inevitable that you are going to bring some things that are ridiculous, but here is a list of things that you might consider.
 -    1. D-light solar light/charger: This thing is awesome. It can charge your phone and ipod and is a great light. However it’s not a necessity to get a solar charger. Most sites have charging stations where someone hooks up a generator and many of us charge there, or your school could have solar power. But if you get placed in a small village, this will be very useful.
      2.Clothes: Yes, bring the ‘professional clothes’ that PC tells you to bring. But don’t stress about it. I really don’t wear any of those clothes that I brought with me, you can buy cute, cheap clothes here in the market (its like thrift store shopping). The clothes that I wish I would have brought more of are the ones I wear after school (tank tops, capri yoga pants, Bermuda shorts, light dresses) those are the ones that are not the easiest to find here. If you’re a girl, bring a cute dress, we like to go out here and you will want to not look like a teacher  
      3.Computer: If you can swing it, try to bring a computer. PC is moving away from paper handouts and is in the habit of giving us flashdrives with a lot of great resources on it. But if you don’t have a computer it’s a little difficult to access those. You will be absolutely fine if you don’t bring one (we have computers at the PC hostel in Freetown) but I’m happy that I have mine.

       4.Music player/speakers: Dance parties are a must. Even if you don’t listen to pop music, pack it full of ridiculous top 40 stuff so you can jam out with your neighbor kids, that will be the only American music they have a chance of knowing (Akon and Rihanna preferably).

      5.  Locks: Tsa approved locks for your luggage. PC gives you a padlock for your lockbox so don’t bring one. I think I have like three padlocks floating around my house that I don’t use.

      6. Shoes: For girls: One or two pairs of cute, leather sandals to wear to training and to teach in.  before I came and I never wear them. I also brought those silly croc ballet flats. DON’T BUY THOSE!! They suck in the rainy season, I was constantly slipping out of my shoes and as someone already disposed to clumsiness, that was not good. You can get pretty durable flip flops here. But it’s hard to find dressy sandals that won’t break in a week, so if you can find those, bring them.

      7. Luxury Items: Bring some jewelry if you want. In the culture here it is strange if a woman doesn’t wear earrings so bring a few pairs. 

       8.Towel: Those tech dry ones are cool 

       9.Toiletries: The basics; shampoo, deodorant, makeup, body spray, face wash, razors etc. You can get the stuff here but it’s nice to have American quality for awhile. I’m still using my shampoo from the states and I just brought a regular sized bottle. Bring two big tubes of toothpaste, it’s nice to feel Crest minty clean. And you’re gonna use a lot of deodorant because its frickin hot here, always. 

       10 Kindle: I had one sent to me. One of the volunteers here has a file of over a 1,000 books, enough to keep you busy for two years, so once you get that you are set. The battery lasts awhile which is nice. It gets dark around 7 pm here and when you don’t have electricity the only thing o do really is read, so this will come in handy. Again, not a must (we have a huge library of regular books that are constantly being shuffled around) but it’s nice to have. 

       11.Camera: Some people have really nice, big ones, others have small point and shoot varieties. Whatever works for you. 

       12.Gifts for your host family: They give you a place to stay for ten weeks, hook them up with some American goodies. Gift ideas include: American flags, novelty items from your state or university, candy (not chocolate, that shit will melt as soon as you get off the plane) bubbles, silly bands, bouncy balls, anything from the dollar store, just go crazy. They will love whatever you give them. 
       13.   Spices for cooking: You can always get these sent to you, so don’t stress if there’s no room. Basil, curry, cumin, beef/chicken bullion etc. Whatever you use at home. You can buy onions, garlic, black pepper and thyme in the market so you’ll survive even if you don’t bring these. 

       14.   School supplies: Most things here are made pretty shoddily so you will appreciate a good Bic pen and woe the day when you realize that they have slowly but surely all gone missing, so bring a few with you. You can get most school supplies here, they just are a little expensive for the good ones, so if you have room throw some in, if not don’t stress about it. For teaching I recommend a good textbook for your subject. For science though you might want to wait until you get your assignment because you could be teaching biology, chemistry, physics or integrated and you don't want to waste space on the wrong book. But one good high school bio book, or middle school science book would help. For math maybe a workbook with middle school problems and for English I've heard grammar books are helpful.

       15.   Water bottles: Two nalgenes are pretty standard fare amoung PCVs. I prefer the narrow mouthed ones for traveling because that way you don’t soak yourself with water when attempting to drink on bumpy roads. 

       16.   Things not to bring: Sunscreen or any meds(you get that in your med kit), ugly clothes (you won’t wear them), anything really heavy
       17.   Water proof backpack: Rainy season is no joke. To prevent all of your stuff getting soaked repeatedly get one of these bad boys. Or a dry bag for your electronics that you can stuff inside a normal back pack will be fine too. 
       18.   I probably forgot a bunch of important things but honestly whatever you bring, you will make work. If you absolutely need something you can get it sent to you. Try not to stress about this, I brought way too many unnecessary things that just wasted space and contributed to back pain after lugging all of that baggage around the country. Try not to spend a lot of money. You are not going on a two year vacation or expedition, this is still ordinary life, you will still want and value the same things even if you are 7,000 miles away from home. Flexibility, my friends, the true characteristic of a Peace Corps Volunteer 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Greeting from Freetown! I have been here since Monday taking in all of the luxuries like electricity, running water, internet and delicious food. It's going to be difficult to go back to site tomorrow, but school starts on Monday, so back to Kamabai I go. This week I came primarily for a Peace Corps training on life skills which was very informative. We learned a lot about ways to approach girls empowerment, teenage pregnancy and other difficult issues that we don't get to address in our formal classrooms. I have a lot of new ideas and hopefully once I get back to site I can begin to figure out the ones that will work best for my community. In addition to the Peace Corps stuff, I've been able to spend a lot of time with friends which has been great. It's so nice just to sit around talking or watching a movie because we don't get to see each other that much. We've been going out, to the beach, restaurants and shopping. I have been eating so many vegetables, it has made me so happy! They are really expensive here, but well worth it since I don't get yummy things like bell peppers, avocados and tomatoes in my town. Freetown has so many delicious things, like today we found a place that has pizza. Real pizza that tastes sooooooooo good. I had to take a picture of it before we ate it because I was worried that our friends wouldn't believe us when we described it.

On the trip into Freetown earlier this week Kim and I got a ride with a famous Sierra Leoneon rapper. I was star struck. This guy is on the radio all the time and everyone knows him here. When we got into Freetown, word got out that it was him and while we were stuck in traffic our car got mobbed by screaming fans. It was a little traumatic, but everything turned out okay. I mean only in Sierra Leone would this happen to me, crazy.

But tomorrow it will be back to the village and teaching. This week we are supposed to finish up exams from last term.  Before the break the kids took their integrated science exam and the results were not encouraging, as I expected. A very low number of students passed which was disheartening. So a lot of this term will be review of what we did last term. The senior students will have my biology exam this week and I don't think they are going to do that great since its been a solid 7 weeks since we've had class. But one can always hope.

The SSS III students have begun to take their external exams that they need to pass to graduate and go on to tertiary education. It's a staggered schedule and the exams take over a month to complete with each student sitting eight subjects. Even though I haven't directly taught SSS III their biology classes I did help them with extra classes after school to try and cover some topics on the syllabus that they hadn't gotten to. I was happy because students made a point to come up to me after the exam and thank me because the topics we had covered were on the exam and they were able to answer the questions. It was really nice to know that at least something I did helped them with their test.

When school first closed for the break I went to River Number Two Beach which is beautiful. I think I will definitely take my family there when they come to visit in August (so excited about that!). A small group of us went and it was a relaxing few days. Then I was back in Kamabai for a week of hanging out, cooking and reading. It rained for the first time which was awesome. I forgot how much I loved falling asleep to the sound of rain on my tin roof. Also it makes getting water so much easier. Just set a bucket outside and voila I have water to flush my toilet, so great.

On my last night in Freetown I think I am going to just chill out. We did it up pretty big last night, so tonight I'm going to just get my last dose of internet, pack up everything and hang out. Gotta get back in that village mindset. Love and miss you all!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Red House Una De De?!?!?!? (Red House are you here?!?!?)

Sport is finished. It was crazy fun, but I can’t really condone any activity that eats up a month of school time. Nevertheless when it came time to the actual events, the two day discorama, and the two day track and field meet it was a good time (see facebook for pictures). First came the rama, my favorite event. Not all schools have a rama I learned from other volunteers, so I was pumped that my school thought that this talent showesque event was worthwhile. My house (red house) dominated. I was so proud of the kids for working so hard to come first. The format of the rama was two days (Friday and Saturday). It was supposed to start at 9:30 pm but because nothing here ever starts on time, we would get started around 10:30 and would go until all hours of the morning. The first night I toughed it out and stayed until it finished at 3 am. The second night 3 am came and went and we still had two events left and with four houses doing each event I knew there was no way that I was going to make it so I went home. They didn’t finish up until 5 in the morning! Crazy kids.

The rama was so much fun though. First everyone gets really into supporting their houses. There was so much smack talk for the weeks leading up to the event. Thank God my house killed it, otherwise I would have been eating some serious humble pie.I got all decked out for the event with everything red. Shirt, shoes, earrings, headband, nail polish, bracelets, all red. My house was by far the most energetic, yelling and jumping every time it was our turn to perform. Part of your score is how loud the audience claps for you and how many people come up and throw money at the performer, so we had that part on lock. My favorite events were single dancing for boys and single dancing for girls. The boys were awesome. Breaking and locking better than anything I had seen in any music video. The performer for green house was one of my JSS II students, Mohamed, who is 12. He seriously killed it, it was so cool to watch. The girls, oh man how do I even start describing that event. Let's just say that there was so much booty shaking and getting low that if I hadn't been exposed to this kind of dancing for 10 months it would have made me feel uncomfortable. They used muscles that I didn't even know existed. I bet that I looked ridiculous standing at the front of the stage watching in awe as they broke it down, but it was so cool I couldn't help myself. I tried to take a video but my camera doesn't do the best at night and it didn't turn out so you will have to take my word for it, these kids can dance.

After all of the lip synching, melo drama and booty shaking fun of the rama we had a week to 'train' for the sport. For me this meant chilling at my house, working in the library, writing lesson notes, cooking and just hanging out. I got a little sick this week so it was nice not to have to teach. I only went to the field once to watch the kids train but it resulted in a fight between the kids over where I would stand, with my house, or with the person who brought me, a member of green house. By this point I was a little fed up with people losing their temper when anything competitive comes around so I just left. The actual 'sport' was on Friday and Saturday starting in the afternoon and going until it got dark, around seven. Red house performed well, but we still don't know who came first because they haven't announced the results yet. We weren't able to do all of the events because there was some drama and starting late of course so it is still up in the air, which makes a lot of people mad. Oh well, small small. 

Now we are in the interim before we give exams. I'm not too optimistic about the results of these exams. I mean we haven't had school for a month and when I was doing some reviewing with the handful of kids that did show up to school this week, they have not been studying in their time off from school. I can only hope for the best though. School will close next week Thursday and then it's break time! Not that I really need a break, I've had a month off from teaching. But I am going to go to Freetown for a couple days (we have a training) and hopefully a beach. I haven't been out of Kamabai for awhile so it will be nice to take a mini vacation. I'm excited for this weekend though because it is my friend Sara's birthday so a bunch of us are meeting up in Makeni to go to lunch and have a pool party at the hotel. And of course later going out dancing. It will be nice to catch up with everyone. 

Alright I think I have thoroughly exhausted this topic. Sorry for the rambling. Love and miss you all!