Sunday, February 8, 2009

First week teaching

I survived the first week of school! I'm a bit exhausted now and glad it's the weekend. I had no idea that teaching took so much energy! I appreciate my former teachers even more now that I know what it's like to get up in front of a class of expectant students and try to teach multiplication! I am officially a math teacher now in charge of grades seven eight and nine. I also teach life skills (kind of like health but also includes any general life knowledge such as juggling) to eight nine ten and P.E. to grades five six seven. Some days were great and others felt like I was pulling teeth. I'm in the process of marking (grading) the quizzes I have on Friday and I definitely have some work to do... There are a few kids who get it completely and aced the tests but I also have some scores close to zero. Not sure how that gap happened but I'll do my best to close it. The kids are so shy in class though so it's almost impossible to tell when I'm not making sense. They will just say yes when I ask if they understand even if they really don't. But it's only been one week so hopefully they'll start getting more comfortable in class with me.
Aside from school, I am in complete village mode. I wake up with the roosters and/or the heat, have some tea, bucket bathe with shivering water, speak as much oshiwambo as I can, practice slingshot skills with the ten year old egumbo, help plow the fields with donkey power, climb trees like a monkey, play soccer with my three host siblings, eat porridge and meat for every meal, and go to sleep under my mosquito net after a spectacular sunset. The nearest town is a five mile walk and there is one tiny grocery store with peanut butter but it costs price and a half compared to a bigger town. To get back to the village, there are people with pickups who ferry people out to the bush for about eighty cents U.S., which means they try and take as many passengers as possible. This makes for quite a wild ride! Last week there were fourteen people somehow piled into the truck. And the rainy season has started, so the almost daily torrential thunder storms leave the flat plains, called oshanas, filled with standing muddy water. Thus, the proliferation of pickups. Walking to school on Thursday, I had to wade through ankle deep oozy gray water. But my colleague gave me an umbrella so it's all good. I think I may have to cut my hair soon.. One old grandpa thought I was a meme, granted he was a bit far away. My host mom got a good laugh out of that. Actually she laughs all the time about everything which is so great. There are goats bleating, donkeys crying, dogs barking, huge bees buzzing, lizards rustling, hawks soaring, millipedes crawling, chickens scampering, and dragonflies hovering. Along with all this activity, the people are constantly busy: plowing, sowing, hoeing, cooking, pounding flour, and resting when it's too hot to do any work. The fields and crops that surround the homestead are the soul source of food. Of course they could go to town and buy things but their only job is cultivating hence no monetary income, only sustenance. It's pretty amazing seeing how this lifestyle works day after day and to really be living it... Although I do admit I have been secretly eating mass amounts of peanut butter and apples and doing crossword puzzles whenever I feel the need for solitude... All in all life is onawa (good/sweet/swell) here in this small African village. Now back to mathematics and peanut butter... Miss and love you, parker --
Parker Lewis

Parker Lewis P.O. Box 344 Uukwaluuthi Tsandi Namibia Africa


Ariel Kazunas said...

Paka -

Sounds incredible! How's the mail system there... if someone were to send you something, would it ever arrive?? ;)

Cheerio - and loved the update! I did the Sunday xword with my folks tonight and felt semi-intelligent, though still have nothing on you. Did climb a tree the other day, though, so I seem to be on par with you in that regard. Haha.


Holly said...

Send Parker packages! They will most likely arrive and make his day!!! (Sorry to speak for you parker :)

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