Communication is Good

Today was quite wonderful. Since it’s Friday I didn’t teach today but I felt like I made a little connection with the math teacher whose class I have taken over. He only teaches two classes and Zack and I each took one of his classes, so he really hasn’t been doing much. We didn’t see him at all the first day we were at the school, and the second day he showed up for the second class but the first. The third day he came to the first but not the second. Since then we’ve seen him at the school but he’s just been wandering around. Today he actually smiled at us and said “hi” in the morning so we were off to a good start. I started to feel like he almost resented us and our presence since we pretty much took over his entire job. He also showed us how to use the log books today and record what we’ve taught for the week. I decided after that that I should ask him about cheating. So I showed him the tests of the students I suspected of cheating and he was like, ok I will go get them. This made me really nervous because I really didn’t know what type of punishment he was going to inflict. He went to get them and then came back and we went into a different room. He asked me what I thought was an appropriate punishment and I told him that in America they would both get zeros. They then came in and he talked to them although I couldn’t really hear what was going on. He told them they were both getting zeros and that they should remind him to punish them on Monday. I’m glad he didn’t do anything in front of me. I’m also glad that I feel like I connected with him a little and could talk to him. I’m not happy about the punishment, but I also feel like it would have been wrong to not say anything.

In other news, we visited an orphanage tonight. I’m not really big on children so I wasn’t sure how it would be. It was hard for a bit because I just thought about how the kids don’t have parents, and about the AIDS crisis and just the different lives that they live here. As I was learning more about the orphanage, however, I realized what a wonderful thing these people are doing for the children. The orphanage was really well run and I felt like they take care of the kids really well. It’s very different than my previous stereotypical image of an orphanage. There are 14 staff and 28 orphans I think. 4 of the staff members are “moms” who spend the most time with the kids. They have a building now with 4 bedrooms and they have almost completed a second one with 6 rooms, and each room has its own bathroom. The plan is to move the school aged children to the new building and keep the younger kids in the old building. The kids in general have plenty of clothing and are kept fed and clean. I was overall really impressed with the running of the orphanage.

When we first arrived there were kids lined up along their pathway to greet us and say hello. We had brought them several books and toys to play with. The kids weren’t as interested in the books as the toys in general, but they just loved spending time with us. You could just tell that they appreciated our presence and loved the attention. I played with one little girl, Scholar I think her name was for a while. We read a book and played with Mr. Potato head. Then for quite a bit I played with a group of girls just tossing a beach ball around. I think of all of the things we brought the beach balls were their favorites. We also had jump ropes that they just loved. They could jump in, up to 4 girls at a time and they could do some pretty sweet stuff while jumping. Overall it was a very positive experience and I’m glad that I went. Even though I’m generally not a children person I found a spot in my heart for these kids.

On a completely unrelated note, I waited over an hour for my dinner tonight before we decided the restaurant forgot me and we needed to flag down the waiter, so that was fun. We are headed out to a Maasai village tomorrow which I’m really excited about. It’s a chance to see how a more stereotypical African village is. Arusha is a pretty large city with a lot going on, but Monduli is a small village that has more of a tribal feel.

Love you and miss you,

Love, Cassie

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~ by Cassie.Becker on May 13, 2011.

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