week 2: november 23-27


>As the days lump together, so do my posts.

After hours and hours of grading, placing, creating excel spreadsheets, etc., Liz and I planned for our first day of class on Monday. But…in Haiti you have to expect the unexpected and I forgot that for a moment on the car ride there when I had a near panic attack. Almost everything seemed extraordinarily unorganized for being the first day of class and the stress got to me for a moment. That, along with the fact that we were nearly an hour late. But everything worked out well, considering. We got most people in the appropriate classes and accommodated time preferences as best we could (a week in and people still continue to come at varying times though.) I spent a few minutes trying to explain a few rules to each of the classes and then we planned to push our lesson to the next day.

Tuesday was the first official day of class. In the morning, we went out to deliver water purifying tabs to a community with a single water source and many cholera related deaths. We went around with a small group of guys working for Luke and the University of Chicago, which included my buddies Thomas and Lamy. Liz and I entertained ourselves for a good amount of time narrating a horse’s thoughts. I was designated photographer of the mission so I did my best to keep up with the long-legged distributors. When we arrived at shool, I had my lesson plan to teach commands and identifying objects. I have students that don’t speak a word of English and some who are able to ask me questions. My first class is very small (around 12,) the second around 15-20, and the third about 25. The last class, though crammed into the little room, is the most fun and the most eager to learn. One student told me that I shouldn’t speak Creole at all in the class, so the class turned on him and told him he spoke too much English to be there. I was all too eager to send him to Liz’s intermediate class. By the end of the class, my voice was squeaking and my hands raw from the chalk. We are in tiny classrooms with a cork-board like chalkboard, Peptobismal pink cement walls with holes for windows, shaky wooden benches for the students, and an unfinished rocky, dirt floor.

Wednesday morning Valentin wasn’t able to pick us up for school, so Dessalines showed up with a Tap-Tap that took us in to camp. School was similar to the day before. We delivered our lessons plans and called it a day. By the end of those three hours, though, nou fatige. We picked up ice cream on our way home, so that made everything better. We still spend a couple hours on the roof every night. I’m not used to seeing so many stars. And I saw a meteor thing. It was awesome.

Thursday morning plans took a little longer than usual, so what was going to be lunch out turned into lunch from the side of the road in cardboard boxes with Tampico. Chicken, rice, and beans on Thanksgiving is another good alternative. We had to cut class a little short, which stressed me out, but things happen. One class is farther behind than my other two now, so I need to figure out how I am going to handle that. On the roof though, Liz and I saw 4 shooting stars combined, so that was cool. We’re still working on identifying constellations.

Grading homework I see lots of basics like capitalization and periods missing that I need to work on. My first assignment was to write a conversation between two people. I got one back that was between me and the student where I asked for his name, he anwered with “did you forget me” and, obviously, I responded with “come in and kiss me.” I wrote “Please be respectful” on the paper with my oh-so authoritative red pen.

On Friday, Wendy flew in. We were waiting for her for a couple hours at the airport, but we had a lot of fun trying to speak Creole with a policeman. The running joke here is that they are going to sell me for 1900 US dollars so that the house can have satellite. We got a picture of the transaction going down.

We got an internet stick at the house, but it is super slow. I have pictures, but I can’t upload them from here. When I go home in December, I will be sure to add them.

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