Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Mr. Meeker is a Good Teacher!"

>> That's right. The students say I'm a good teacher. The first four weeks have gone really well, I've given three quizzes and again gotten bell curves on them, with their "big" test coming up on Tuesday. It's really not much bigger than the quizzes (a limitation on these not being printed tests but being me writing questions on the board so you can' really ask more than seven questions) ((I'm asking seven questions)). The last few weeks have of course had their share of memorable moments, a small spell of sickness (less than a day) in which I felt so dizzy I thought the bed was flipping over sideways. Fun. I drank beverage with complete strangers in my friend's village, watched some tremendous thunderstorms, made friends with some of my fellow teachers, and on Thursday the 21st, my birthday, watched as about sixty Africans converged on my property and danced into the night. Staff members arrived first and we requested some music on Capitol Radio (my favorite) and then the children arrived. They are continuously amazed at my dancing skills (skills? hmmm.). I got to DJ for about ten minutes and loved it although the kids didn't know the music (of course) and it's not what they're used to (of course) but my friends were going crazy and it felt amazing (and like home :) I would write more, but my battery is dying. Such is life. In conclusion, I did not think I would be celebrating a birthday (ever) in Africa, but I found myself having the time of my life here and as I've said before, for every moment that I struggle, waiting just a little amount of time usually lends itself to something amazing and beautiful. I love and miss you all.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ikenna is Generous

>> Ikenna is letting me use his laptop at our favorite Makeni hang-out, where internet is down, but somehow up at the same time. In this case, his laptop is invaluable. Thank you, Ikenna. Now, to me. The more important volunteer. Teaching has gone well, but let me tell you more. The first week involved me awkwardly sweating, dealing with diarrhea, and teaching students things they already knew. The second week involved me hitting my stride. Students that initially were apathetic found a focused, non-diarrheal, still sweating volunteer in front of them, ready to teach. I gave a quiz on Thursday (as I did not have them on Friday) and grades were remarkably just what I wanted (aka a bell curve with some doing great, most doing okay, and some not so much). The third week, this past week, has also been great. I delayed my next quiz until Monday (because the students lied to me about an assembly. thanks.), but they seem to be interested in the material and some have even asked intuitive questions. It remains to be seen how much detail I can go into biology at a Baptist school where on my first day I was questioned about my religious tendencies. As in America, I plan to teach science, and only science. I was worried about teaching because of horror stories I had heard from other volunteers, of taking many months to realize how to teach effectively and while I do NOT believe I am at the apex of my teaching prowess, I feel like I have settled into a nice..groove.. already. On the home front, I am having some chairs built for my parlor and received a bookshelf, toilet seat, and some wooden boards I wanted. I have now posted the postcards and letters I have received from home and anytime walking down my center hallway makes me smile. I will not be online again until November, which will be after my birthday and a party at my mansion on the 30th. Thank you again for your responses and comments and I love and miss you all :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Long Time No Post

>> Sorry about the delay. In Africa, things are difficult. Ill be brief because I can be back online next Saturday. Teaching is going wonderfully so far, and Ive really settled into my village. Foday was transferred to the village of Makago so we do not see each other as much as we did. I went through a bad bout of ..something.. but with the help of Cipro (a great antibiotic) I got over it. I have never felt so helpless as I did in my latrine at 2 in the morning unable to defecate normally. Sigh. Besides that, everything is wonderful. I am looking forward to my party on October 30th at my house and contemplating that I have now spent four months in Sierra Leone. Amazing. A better blog post next time, I promise...