Friday, April 20, 2007

Brief update

I haven't used the internet for over a month now. Since the news here is local, I might have missed some newsworthy occurrence. If so, please email me the clipping.


In Brief: So much to say, so many better things to do than sit down and type…
Work, work, work. It's one of those activities that I watch more than I do. The long hours expected of all teachers and students surely breaks some basic human rights. After an initial repugnance to restarting a school schedule that I swore to myself that I would never again submit to, I found a way to work smarter not harder. It's a bit like swimming, why thrash against the water when there's a way to glide? So long as I communicate with people and make myself available at certain scheduled times, I'm at liberty to have "flexi-time." While I can struggle to read and write and translate documents, instead I can simply ask many other people for their opinions on, say, the fundraising situation at the beach. These conversations not only inform me about the details but also remind other people about the situation. It seems as if these types of reminders organize people far better than any wall calendar. Meanwhile the maid is stuck at home cooking and doing the laundry, and while I envy the tranquility I relish my freedom.

Meeting, meetings, meeting. On Saturdays the teachers gather to make plans, and I try my best to stay awake when they're reading lists and repeating themselves. The productivity of a meeting is inversely proportional to its endlessness. Some activities don't need a cultural translation. On a more positive note, the sensation of captivity helped me notice the reason for the sluggishness of my English students and led me to liven things up. This justifies fun.

Can I have your computer, can I have your computer, can I have your computer? It's the first time to use a computer for many. With all the exciting photos and music, the act of playing with media disguises the improvised lessons. Many ask seriously if they can have my computer, my hat, my pencil forever. How many times must I repeat myself? Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I have a well of patience which I dip into occasionally.

Energy, energy, energy, or lack thereof. My addiction to caffeine harms nobody but actually wastes energy, since a whole new fire must be lit to boil the water for this luxury. Now it's my guilty pleasure and I must summon different reserves of energy. Incidentally, one method of curing the boredom induced by long meetings is hacking at a coconut with a machete.

The people, the people, the people. You never know who you're going to meet or where they're going to invite you or what new food they'll present. Each week varies with opportunities. Although the only people crazy enough to accompany me on my walks to the nearest beach are children, who giggle and squawk and skip. We whistle the Mozambican national anthem on the way back after a swim. The adults are just as friendly, but more complicated. The politics of power at the school are more difficult to overcome. The organization has many levels of importance of which I am entirely oblivious, which makes me the perfect person to throw into the situation to ask questions. My Portuguese may be poor, but still I talk enough to cause a stir.

In sum, I am encountering moments of both extreme frustration and joy. I'm looking forward to more. What luck that I ended up at THIS project!

Bye for now,

7 comments:

Rod said...

EXCELLENT BLOG! I am so with you! I have been teaching overseas for decades now... Mexico, Taiwan, Ethiopia and now Albania. I relate to everything you are saying and just roll on the floor laughing. It is so totally wonderful to realize there is someone else in this mad, mad world going through the same things!

I love it!

Glad I found you. Please visit our community about 12 year old Alex from Ethiopia. JOIN us today! http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/community/AlexRod/

OR -

Visit Alex web site today and discover the true, heart warming story of faith and prayers. Read how this young Ethiopian street child is being rescued from a certain death on the streets of Addis Ababa. DISCOVER THE REAL LIFE STORY OF HOPE AND SUCCESS FOR ALEX Link to us today and follow the progress as Alex adjusts to the safe world in Europe where he will hopefully soon get a good education and health. http://alex-roadtofreedom.blogspot.com

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Sheesh...my job feels SO boring and droll after reading about yours!

And I am reying so hard to learn spanish! My niece married a man from El Salvador and every Sunday we get together and go out to lunch and he tries teaching me new words. The man has the patience of a saint, I tell you! :)

Thanks for dropping by my blog! :)

agentsully said...

Wishing you lots of strength and success in your endeavor!

Barb said...

I wasn't quite sure which blog to post a comment on so I hope you get this.

I'm stopping by to thank you for visiting me and leaving the kind comment on the old vintage photos I posted. It was fun to do, but trust me, I'm definitely not all that!

Dan said...

In sum, I am encountering moments of both extreme frustration and joy

Thank goodness for the ups, huh? But you probably wish the ups and downs were less extreme. Sometimes the rollercoast of life is a bit steep. Hang in there.

Thanks for visiting my blog last week! I love the name of yours!

Yusuf Abdulla Shunan said...

sound like your alive and kicking...

Katkat said...

To answer your question of how long it took to get my blog re done it was really quick after I decided what I wanted. Goofy Girl was amazing. Quick and really cheaper than alot out there. She will really work with you and give you alot of options and ideas. Her Link is on my web page. I hope that helped.