Normally, my English Club is made up of 7th and 8th graders, but occasionally other grades filter in. Today, the 2nd graders came en-mass. And while they couldn’t answer many of the questions, the ones they did know surprised me. Plus, the 8th graders helped them out when they struggled.
It was widely known that you go to a clinic if you suspect you have malaria. Everyone knew rainy season was the deadliest time for malaria and that the mosquito was the insect that transmits malaria. The rest of the questions were left up to the 8th graders and they did quite well. How’d you do?
So I had a goal for today…no criticizing, no complaining, and no sarcasm. And maybe it was a coincidence, but today was one of the best days I’ve had in a while.
For the sake of full disclosure, I have to admit that the days leading up to today weren’t all that great. I hadn’t left my house in four days because Ethiopia thought it would be funny if the girl who had never had strep throat in the US (despite having a sister who caught it constantly as a child), got it here. I’m going to be honest, not my favourite illness.
But today the meds finally started to kick in and I decided to brave the outside world…mostly because I really had to get some work done! My goal for the day was to visit my four cluster schools and run a few random errands in between.
Going to my cluster schools is usually a hassle because they are not close to each other, and only some of their principals speak enough English that I can be positive they understand the point I’m trying to make. But I was coming prepared…I had already printed off flyers explaining why I was there (the final five sessions of my Teacher’s English Club) and figured I could wing the rest of the conversations.
I got to my first school, Edget Bandenet, and, in an unexpected twist, I was able to find the principal right away! (This is one of my favourite schools, super gobez, but the principal is often away at meetings or in a hidden corner of the school.) I told her about the club and my idea to do one big project at each of my cluster schools next year – since most of my focus will be on my primary school, Adare. We had a great conversation, and 15 minutes later I was on my way. While walking I encountered something I hadn’t experienced in over ten months…the smell of freshly mowed grass. It was incredible.
If I had champagne, I’d ask everyone to cheer with me for my first truly productive week at site! You may be thinking this is long overdue, but after 2 months of training, 3 months of research, and a few weeks of dipping my toes in the water, I’ve finally gotten into the groove of things here. Saturday I had my first English Club for Teachers, Tuesday I had my first English Club for Students and Thursday was my first solo-training session. So I’m going to deem this week a success! And I even have another English Club this coming Saturday. I’ve been a good little worker bee : )
Saturday we played some icebreakers to get to know each other because I had teachers from 3 of my cluster schools come. Then we broke off into groups to discuss what they wanted to learn in English, why they wanted to learn it, how they were already practicing English, and what we could do in the future.
We ended class with tea and kolo. Many of the teachers said they were looking forward to future club meetings…possibly because of the tea and kolo? Haha I hope not!
On Tuesday, we began the Student’s English Club by going outside, introducing ourselves, our favourite activity, and then posing for fashion photos. Most of the students posed the same way, so I’m definitely going to have to emphasize creativity and originality in future club meetings! That said, maybe I should appreciate how unmaterialistic this society is! One thing I don’t miss about America: advertising.