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School Daze

July 27, 2011

The 9th grade classroom. Yes, the hole in the ceiling leaks when it rains.

Model school started today. First period I knocked it out of the park. We started fifteen minutes late (of course) but I constructed a multiplication table with the students, got them up, smiling, feeling good. When I came back to observe an hour later they were all “Ms. S! Ms. S!” I hope I can carry that over to our next class Friday… because it didn’t carry over to the 11th grade trig class I taught last period. There were only four students and I bored them. I knew I’d planned a dry lesson and it fell that way. Oh well. That’s what they’re used to, right?

By the time the afternoon rolled around I was exhausted. My head hurt and I was hungry. I needed to lay down and rest, but we were still in session. I hadn’t even started my Thursday lesson plans and I knew I’d spent 2-3 hours on the ones I did today… each! I sat alone in a classroom, bleeding out binomial squares and crossing out every other line. I face plated on the desk with a sigh and watched a mouse dart between desks. This is Africa, I thought.

This is the part that will be hard for me. No quiet library with books and big tables. No Google. No stapler, paper clips, or desk. I carry my papers, chalk, and duster from room to room: a nomad.

I got home tonight and Princess announced we were going to the revival. My heart sank. I had way too much work. I was way too behind on sleep. Would they take me another night I asked earnestly? Then I remembered I had to go to Monrovia this weekend. Really?! I’d said I’d go another time, but Peace Corps said I had to. But lapa shopping, revival and coconut candy! Not to mention doing wash. Ugh.

I sat on my yoga mat and flipped through my books for functions. I finished around 9:00 and only David was left at home. I was drawing my bath and we got into a discussion about America.

He had so many questions. Quiet David! He asked about animals, how we wash clothes, if we hate to walk, if there are black people. I brought out some pictures to show him. He was delighted with Chase and the cats. “Fine animals! And so BIG!” We talked about school and I’m not sure he’s ever spoken to me so much! I wonder if he just doesn’t have much self confidence. He isn’t necessarily shy, just quiet. I catch him dancing or singing to himself all the time and he flashes his giant smile and bursts into laughter.

I continue to be humbled by how some people seem to see America as a fantasy land… in a lot of ways, I guess, like how I saw Africa just a few months ago. I told David I was struck my how similar things were, though. People are still just people. They cook, wash, go to school and work, do “people things.”

He smiled and laughed.

We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the paths of life.
– Carl Jung

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