The last Saturday morning of every month is reserved for community work where everyone comes together for a project. I don't know that I really helped at all, but I showed up!
Friday, August 28, 2015
Despite the initial problems when I first moved in, things are going well. My school is really wonderful with teachers who actually show up and teach class, several female teachers-one in particular who moved to the area last year and "knows how difficult it is to be somewhere new" has taken me under her wing helping me with basic things like buying credit for my electricity meter and making sure I get the right prices at the market.
Schools runs from 7:30 am to 4:30pm with a two hour lunch. There's free lunch at school (usually beans and rice-but yay free food) and so I eat there and then stick around for clubs in the second hour or go home for a short nap/rest.
I'm running the school library (the school has a library!) Kids can come in during the day to use the books and study and just recently the dean of studies gave me the papers so the kids can take home books and study as well. I have my own little domain where I can ready, prepare for class or go on my phone (pretty decent internet here!). The library is a bit disorganized for the moment so I'll also be working on that for the coming months.
Additionally I have three 2 hour long classes once a week with the seniors, juniors and sophomores who are in the "Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili and English" track. It's kind of a supplemental class so I'm supposed to focus on conversation, listening and communication skills. It works out perfectly since I'm just here for the last term that I can sort of jump in wherever and choose topics and classes that I like. All three classes have less than 30 students and the students are pretty well behaved -a bit change from the challenges of Togo! I'm also leading the BeGlow (Boys Excellence, Girls Leading Our World) club which meets at lunch time. They've done a lot with health topics, gender balance and peer pressure with the last volunteer so I'll be trying to work on some leadership activities with them. We'll see how it goes- there's a lot of middle schoolers in the club and their English isn't very strong. I'm working with another teacher to lead the club, but there have been some miscommunications and so we haven't been entirely on the same page so far.
I'm really happy about the work I'll be doing at the school and I think it's a really good fit for the three months that I'm here. I hope to be able to leave the incoming volunteer with lots of information so they can get projects started quickly.
Monday, August 24, 2015
My friend Ryan from PC Togo had a job interview in Kenya and so he came by to say hello :) We turned some heads given that it was my first week at post and now two white people had shown up!
|proof that we are friends|
|we gathered a crowd of about 30 children|
|who decided to walk up the hill with us|
Friday, August 21, 2015
Well, for the second time I've moved into my Peace Corps site. I'm an RPCV but that didn't make it much different from the first time. The mistake of Peace Corps is ever having expectations or thinking that things will turn out well. That way you can be pleasantly surprised when anything remotely good happens. And of course, I let my mind wander and made that mistake. My house is very small, perhaps the same square footage as my house in Togo was, but this one is long and skinny. Its only about 7 or 8 feet wide and about 30 feet long. My latrine is a squatty potty but there is a pipe so you still have to run some water down it. This is problematic as it's the end of the dry season and there isn't much water around. Instead I'm using the family's pit latrine squatter with a very shaky and unhinged door. This is a double bummer because I always have to pee in the night so it's a choice of go out or chamber pot. I'd rather not accidently pee on my floor so that means getting up and heading out. When I arrived there weren't screens on the windows nor a secure front door (a wooden door with easily broken glass and a window next to it were you could stick your hand in and open it from the inside).
They've replaced the door and put screens on some of the windows (though it's currently having the effect of trapping flies inside). Nancy, a nearby volunteer has been kind enough to lend me her hotplate/electric burner for the three months since she doesn't use it much and I'm here for such a short time. It looks like my suitcases vomited all over the house as I don't have any furniture yet, though a shelf/counter should be coming soon. And as difficult as it cane be to move somewhere new- it doesn't matter if it's across town or across the world there's always an adjustment period and then it works out. It's that simple and if two years in Togo have taught me anything it's that ça va aller.
|on the plus side, these views :)|
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015
This month has been a whirlwind trip across the USA with airplane rides and 8 hour road trips (overnights in 6 different states and a drive through 3 more). However its been fabulous- I got to see almost all my cousins, a very rare feat, my grandmothers and aunts, college friends, brothers and sister and nieces and nephews. I somehow managed to get everything done, though with significantly less pizza and vegging out on the couch with Netflix than I had predicted. But I got everything done. I could have planned or hoped for a better 30 days in America and it gave me the energy and excitement to start another (albeit far shorter) service at 100%.
But now the bags are packed and it's time to go. I live you so much, America, and I'll see you in November!
This month in America has been fabulous. A time to recharge, see friends and family and get in those many many food cravings that I've held for two years. However, in packing and printing out my plane tickets the reality hits me that although I'm going back to Africa I'm heading across the continent far far away from Togo. It's a new adventure and experience and I'm starting all over again. I won't have my house already set up, I won't have my team of kids ready to give fist bumps and hugs, I won't have my amazing host family smiling and there for me. If I need a table made, or a new dress, or to have something brought to a nearby volunteer I won't know who to call-or even the language.
There's plenty of things that I don't miss from Togo- the stifling heat, the ants attacking my house, kids shouting the yovo song or the men calling "ma cherie." But there's plenty of things I miss already-Marie's pâte and gboma sauce with lots of hot peppers, Jules slyly asking for more raisins when he comes to my house, Amenuveve's little cry of "Anna!" and huge smile when I come down the street. While I've known that I'm not going back to Togo intellectually, I haven't really processed it yet and it makes my heart ache to think that I have no clue when I'll see those people again.
I'm excited for Rwanda, for a real COS trip (Tanzania and safaris!) And to see what we in Togo affectionately call "fun Africa." But it also means facing the reality that I've said my goodbyes in Togo and I don't know when I'll get to say hello again.