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Last day of Model School

August 12, 2011

Anita and me at Model School Graduation. Wow, that's a lapa suit!

Today was a good day. We finished exams this morning and I was the first person to turn in grades for the class I was sponsoring. We spent the afternoon relaxing at Doe Palace, playing cards, talking. My packing (promised Wednesday) is still MIA (along with many others) but I got a letter.

It was from my mom to my host mom. Tear jerker. Way too sweet. She printed the pictures I sent her about a month ago and typed a long letter. I think it might have made my host mom cry when she read it too.

When I got home I handed it to her and she told me some boys had just kicked a football right into her face on the road. She said she blacked out and fell to her knees. I kicked myself for having bad timing, but she dried her face and opened the envelope. Everyone swarmed around to see the pictures. Latricia read it with a big smile then, folding it carefully, said, “She did well. Tell her she did well.”

She showed it to my host dad and he came to tell me with a smile, “Luke is in almost every picture!” Busted.

After training I finally caught my tailor, Prince, at his shop and made the arrangements for my swearing in clothes. I bargained him down to $1,400LD (about $20US) and I think that’s a decent price. Latricia said to pay $850LD but he said no way, plus yesterday his assistants quoted me something like $2,000LD. “Fine,” he said, “But don’t tell anyone. Just for you, Leela.” I’m excited about it, but might go back tomorrow and ask not to have puffy sleeves. The elastic pinches after about ten minutes and leaves a big red ring.

After dinner (and the most amazing hot donut I’ve ever had, courtesy of my new baker friend, Cecelia) I shelled ground peas with my kids. I bought sugar to make candy, but my mom said I’d bought the wrong ground peas. …so we just ate them. Then I got the radio out and had a dance party on the porch. They love Lady Gaga!

My mom sent Princess to buy gas and out came the generator. They put in another Indian show and Luke asked me to bring out the books. Seriously?!

I sat on the floor in the back of the room with him and David. David likes to read but is at maybe a second of third grade level despite being fourteen. We read about half of one of the story books from the PC office and he adamantly marked his place and said, “Tomorrow we will start here and I will finish.” I will sit on the floor with him all day if that’s what he wants, if that’s what it takes. In the hour and a half he read to me tonight he already improved and learned new words.

The kids here are plenty bright. They just don’t have enough people fanning their coals, encouraging their minds to kindle. At the end of several of my exams I asked my kids to write what they would change about their school if they could be principal for a day. Many of them said things like, “I would replace all the teachers with qualified ones,” or, “I would stop students spying and buying grades.” As a generation they are being failed.

My heart sank after school when Anita and several other 10B students approached and asked for my phone number. They wanted to call and ask me math questions! I said no, but it was extremely hard. Anita is one of my bottom students. “You have good math teachers here who will help you,” I said. She shook her head, “I like your class,” she said. As she turned to leave I had to remind myself that fifty girls just like her are waiting for me in Sanniquellie. You cannot save them all.

She is special to me, though. Last week I was walking around the room, checking problems, and she grabbed my wrist, “How do you know my name?” she asked. I was confused at first (there are only ten students in the class) so I just said, “Why because you always come to class! You know my name so I should know yours, right?” She’s quiet and very behind. I wonder if anyone else has ever cared enough to notice her.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Candace permalink
    August 31, 2011 1:36 am

    Keep up the good work! I am so proud.

  2. August 31, 2011 1:12 pm

    Proud of you B! Its hard, knowing you can’t personally guide each and every one of them directly. But hopefully with the attention you’ve shown some of them, they’ll find the determination within to strive for more!

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