Saturday, June 19, 2010

Settling In

>> So I've been here two weeks now. I'm adjusted to the food, to my wonderful family, but the weather still gives me pause. My mother is under the belief that I could drink a gallon of water each day. She has found a small towel for me and insisted I buy another (for the sweat). I don't want to say that I'm melting, but I'm melting.
In other news, the training is going really well. We're finally beginning to specialize, i.e. not learning about education in one large group but breaking off into our individal groups (science, math, english) and learning techniques and strategies to teach it. My homework for this weekend is to prepare a fifteen-minute lesson plan on metamorphosis (caterpillar to butterfly) for young students. I'll be giving it in front of my fellow volunteers and then, as the weeks go by, longer and longer lessons with more and more feedback. In two weeks, we'll begin working at local summer schools and I'll be relatively on my own- preparing lesson plans, homework, and even a final exam with grades and all. No pressure.
The weather here, excluding the relentless heat and humidity, is amazing. Last night I was awoken by a thunderblast that may have actually terrified me. These aren't your run-of-the-mill storms, even the fun Champaign storms. These are rumbling crackling storms you see and hear coming for half an hour and whilst in America I would make popcorn and sit on the porch, here I sit inside and hope I survive. It's relatively epic.
My language studies are going slowly. My family speaks English and Mende first, and Krio second. My instructors have insisted on teaching Krio, but it is relatively ineffective at home, so I speak broken Mende and English. We've already had some wonderful conversations about American politics, the economy, and my home life. One of the main goals of this organization is not only me being immersed in Sierra Leone culture but for Sierra Leoneans to learn more about American culture. I'm doing my best. (My family was AMAZED that I am from Chicago, which they quickly pieced together to be where OBAMA is from. They insist that Obama and I are brothers. I agreed.)
Last night, I made my first walk from Kebbie Town (Apologies for calling it Kebbitown) to downtown Bo. This journey is some miles and while fun during the daytime proved relatively scary at nighttime but, with the company of other volunteers, we sarcasmed and laughed our way home on the pitch-black road, being passed by motorcycles and cars (which all honk whenever they pass anyone so as to inform you of their presence) and watching the sky ahead of us crackle and light up as yet another storm approached.
I'll close here. I love and miss you all. :)


  1. You're melting and your Obama's brother! This sounds like a trip of true metamorphosis...if that isn't a lesson plan I don't know what is...

    I've enjoyed hearing how things have been going and I'm still incredibly jealous but more curious about what all you see. I hope you are able to continue the posts. Take care!

  2. Wow. You sound like you're finally getting to the main reason you're there. Yay! "My name is" *starts writing it on the board* *stops half way through* *drops arm* "Doesn't matter"

  3. I see the family resemblance between you and Barack. It's not much, but it's there if you look for it.

  4. I remember those people that hear America, and immediately assume you regularly hang out with Obama.

  5. I'm honestly jealous. Not of the flesh-melting weather, but of the sense of purpose that you either already have, or will soon realize. As for you being Obama's bro, you might not be blood-related, but on Memorial day, you got closer to him than 99.9% of the world will ever be.

    Your walk to Bo reminded me of when I was in Queensland for a course. One night, 6 of us went into town for some drinks and when we took a taxi back to our campsite at midnight, the driver would only take us as far as the entrance to the driveway (a 2-mile, dirt, pothole-ridden, winding driveway with dense rainforest on both sides). We had only 1 flashlight, the air was dense with darkness and full of nocturnal creature sounds, and we were all wasted. It was a memorable hour of trying to walk straight in the pitch-black. Google Earth says it's 216km from Kebbie Town to Bo... I'm guessing you're in a different Kebbie Town. :)

    It's too bad you don't have a digital audio recorder, 'cause I'm sure everyone who misses you would love to hear your voice along with what you write. If you want one and could use it (you'd need batteries too), just ask. Good luck with the teaching preparations and homework and stay well!