Sunday, May 5, 2013

Three More Months!

May, June, July. That’s it. Safe to say that I am a mess of emotions right now. Excitement about seeing friends and family back home, apprehension about reverse culture shock (a.k.a. I have picked up some weird habits here), guilt and sadness about leaving my students, friends and community behind, uneasiness about future grad school/career options, etc. etc. are all running through my head right now. I am in a weird sort of limbo where I know that every day is one of my last and I am trying to keep living life like how I have been over the last two years, but at the same time I am feeling this pressure to do all of the things that I never got around to doing. It’s mostly turning out to be a productive thing, I have gotten a lot of work done these last few weeks and with school starting up, I hope I can continue that trend.

It’s hard to believe that this will be my last term teaching. Again, a bittersweet goodbye. On days like today where I had to proctor an exam and I caught half of the kids unabashedly cheating, I am over teaching. But on the first day back this week I had a bunch of kids come up and ask where I had been the last two weeks of last term and if everything was okay. (Unfortunately I had some security issues at my house and had to go to Freetown for those two weeks. The issue is resolved now, and everything is fine.) Every day is a mood swing, but the good parts definitely outweigh the bad.

In other news, I got a dog! His name is Pepe and I got him to be an extra form of security. He is small, but his bark is ferocious. We’re still working on the house training, but as they say here, small small. Who would have thought that I would have two pets? Definitely not me. Yathiki (my cat) is not too thrilled about the new addition to our family, but she is managing the intrusion as best as can be expected J

This week we actually start teaching (this last week was just exams left over from last term). I am nervous because the BECE is approaching. The BECE is an external exam given all over West Africa in order to determine if students are qualified to pass from middle school to high school. I have been teaching the students who are going to take the BECE for the last two years and I hope that they will be able to do well in Integrated Science. We will see. Unfortunately a lot of them have lost their motivation and are relying on teachers to help them with the answers so that they can pass. They know not to ask me though, since I have made a recurrent spectacle of myself in regards to my opinion on cheating and my intolerance of it on my exams. This just makes me worry that the students will do great in all of their other subjects and fail Integrated Science horribly. Oh well, it's the principle of the thing, right? 

Alright, my time with the internet is coming to a close. I should try to post this blog before the connection goes out. Thanks so much to everyone who has been praying for me! It has definitely shown itself this last month. Love and miss you and see you soon!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

LIfe Update

I feel that all of my blogs start with apologies about how long its been since the last one, and this entry will be no different. Despite my efforts to use the internet in Kamabai, every time I went it seemed that the internet was not available, but now I am in Freetown and the internet here is cooperating for now. Let's keep our fingers crossed it stays on until I am finished writing this blog!

Currently I am Freetown because I had a peer support training yesterday. After training we went out to an irish pub for an open mike night, where some of the PCVs performed, it was really fun. It's been nice just to chill in Freetown with other volunteers. Tonight we're going to a pizza dinner at Mamba Point to celebrate the end of girls conference and all of our hard work, which should be a good time. I'm not sure if I'm heading back to Kamabai tomorrow of Monday, it depends on if my principal can meet me here to buy the supplies for the science lab. Which by the way, I want to send a deep thank you to everyone who donated to the project, I was overwhelmed by the support. It has been completely funded now so we are just waiting for the community to get their contribution together, and then we can go buy the supplies and start experimentin!!

Term two is off to a good start, I've been teaching a lot in anticipation of school stopping soon for sports. Although we still don't have a date for the sports because we're having some administrative issues (one of my principals has started working at a different school and it has been affecting the functionality of KSS). Hopefully once he actually leaves we can get a new principal and get back on track, but I hear it takes a long time to hire a new principal, so I'm not overly optimistic.

Classes have been going well, we're learning about body systems at the sss level and then physical science at the jss level. I'm learning all sorts of new things about batteries, kinetic energy and the like. And of course the body systems are a good time. I was teaching about antagonistic muscle pairs and I made this model of the arm with cardboard, string and a paper clip to explain about flexor and extensor muscles. Thanks Dad for sending those science demonstration books awhile back! In SS3 we learned about the heart beat and the students did their first science experiment ever about heart rates in different activities. It was really entertaining to watch them all jog in place for a minute. Oh and then when I told them to lay down they just looked at me like I was crazy, because how could I possibly suggest them to lay on the floor where there was dirt (Sierra Leoneons really like to keep their clothes clean). So their compromise was to push desks together and lay on those. Innovation.

The library now has a new librarian, which means it can be open throughout the school day as opposed to just being open during my free periods. I gave my SSS 1 students a reading comprehension assignment using these awesome biology books in order to force them to use the library, and I think it paid off, now more of them are coming in on their own. The downside is now I have 80 reading assignments to grade, but I think it was worth it.

Life around Kamabai has been going good. I put up a bunch of pictures recently which show how everyone is growing up ridicously fast (especially babies Christina and Randy). Everyone keeps talking about how I am going to leave soon, and saying that they want me to extend my contract. It's really hard to think about leaving, any time I do I get a knot in my stomach. It's a lot to process, thinking about leaving Salone, the awesome COS trip Dad is planning to India and Vietnam, life back in America, grad school plans, relationships formed in Sierra Leone and relationships that need to be rekindled with people back home, ahhhhhhhhh!  Too much. I just have to revert back to the Salone addage "small small" and leave it to God, because at least he has a plan for my life even if I can't sort through the craziness right now. 

Gonna wrap up now, so I can go get ready for our "fancy dinner", so excited for pizza!!! Love and miss you all!