Thursday, April 26, 2012

Need to step up the blogging . . .

So, as some people love to remind me, I’m a bit behind on my blogging – my apologies.

This last month or so has been a bit interesting – my students have taken two tests each of which involves a process that is equally amusing and exasperating. The tests start with me instructing all students to put all of their belongings in the front of the classroom, they can have one pen and a piece of paper, this reorganization of the classroom takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Then, once everyone has stopped talking, I put up the “papel gigante” on which I have written the test, and then begin to walk up and down every aisle trying to stop people from cheating and talking – most of the time this does very little good. Despite my repeated warnings that cheating will result in a zero, I find students sitting on top of their notebooks, with notebooks stuffed down their shirts, and blatantly looking over the shoulder of the person in front of them. While these efforts to cheat are rather disheartening (especially when they result about 4 people per class receiving zeros), I really can’t say I blame them for trying. A good number of the other teachers either leave the classroom during tests or sit in front of the class working on corrections. I’m not saying I manage to catch all the cheaters, but I really do hope that my students are perhaps starting to learn some study skills instead of spending most of their time writing tiny sheets of paper with what they think will be on the test.

My school is on the semester system, so we have a long break in June/July, but we also had the week before Easter off. I got a lot of correcting and lesson planning done during that time, but I also travelled down to Mapinhane where Chris and Laurie are teaching to celebrate Passover. While the hard-boiled eggs used during the Seder may have been decorated Easter eggs (dyeing brown eggs is much more difficult than I expected), it was a great first Passover – complete with a care package matzo ball soup mix and the lucky discovery of walnuts in a grocery store in Vilankulos.

Also, last week was the “Reconnect” for my PC group, Moz-17. All of us in the Central and Southern regions of Mozambique met up in Chimoio for a week to discuss our lives at site, secondary projects, and how integration into both our community and the school was going. It was great to see everyone again, and the food was pretty good too (there were doughnuts!!). On our way to Chimoio we caught a bus at the crossroads to Inhassoro that was headed to Beira – we would get off at Inchope and then catch a chapa the rest of the way to Chimoio. As luck would have in, the bus broke down about two-ish hours away from Inchope, fortunately it ended up breaking down at a gas station. We waited for about two hours for the bus to get going again . . . Some of us even joined in the efforts to push the bus in order to give it a rolling start, all to no avail. So I went and spoke with a lovely Zimbabwean family that stopped at the gas station on their way back home. Not only did they give all five of us a ride, but the car didn’t actually have seats for all of us, so the mom held one of the kids on her lap and three of us crammed into the back (let’s be real, it was still much more comfortable than a chapa). It was so nice of them to give us a ride all the way to Chimoio – I might actually be sad not to be able to give rides to hitchhikers back in the States.  

Life has surprisingly become rather routine here – bugs no longer really bother me (although the large number of ants might eventually drive me crazy) and I’m back to taking bucket baths (it’s cold!!). I love the fact that I don’t have to wash my clothes anymore (yay Rosa!) and am currently putting together plans for an epic Moz/Johannesburg/Kruger trip in June. Miss you all (and I’ll try to be better with the updates)!