Tuesday, March 07, 2006

"Teacher Chelsea"

Its official i am a teacher... one month of teaching i think cements my new identity, and if i ever feel insecure about my status, all i need to do is walk out my door and i am greeted by a chorous of voices ranging for the pre pubscent shriek to a fully developed baritone, all saying the same thing "TEACHER", off course lets not sugar coat it, I also hear Mazungo, which means whitey or foreigner. I havent come up with a witty unoffensive response to that one, suprising, i know, im open to suggestions.

So i have found myself shying away for the blogs, feeling insecure in my ablity to capture my feelings and find the right words to do justice to this experience. Also i find it difficult to differniate what is important to talk about. Everything in my life has become so routine, its difficultfor me to remeber that this is not the reality, not even close, to the life's of my friends and family in the states. But I suppose the first step to feeling at home, is falling into a routine, so i guess, what i mean to say, is im progressing. But of course my routnine in Moz. is punctuated by the frequent lack of necsities.. ie i can not count on anytthing, i wake up each morning hoping that the water will run, and we wil lhave electricity... always keeps me on my toes. the frequent deprivation is not a complaint, rather i see it as a way to remeber the simplicity of life, and never to take thins for granted, and off course the opposing emotion comes hand in hand-- im grateful for each shower i take and cup of tea i drink. (Update I have given up coffee, ive been over 5 months with out it! if you told me a year ago, when i was working on the MoveOn campaign I could survive a day without 5 cups of coffee i would have laughed at you, with my latte in hand).

I've been struggeling with images of children in my village. They live in mud houses with out electricity, they wake up early to sweep the yard, carry 25 lbs of water on their 6 year old heads. They are with out toys or material possessions. But somehow my attention is always brought to their bright shinning eyes that radiate with a simple joy of life. I would like to think that its not that I lack compassion but rather, have changed the framework, the standards, in which i validate life.

I recently wrote this in my journal "With bare dirty feet, skinny bodies clad in clothese two sizes to big or two sizes to small, they run through the streets, dig through my trash pit, yelling in joy, using mother nature as their toy chest, this snap shot of children in my village has never envoked a feeling of neglect and pity, but rather reminded me of the power of generosity, love, and care."

A little more about school:

To envision my school, think of a prarie style house... the classrooms are all next to each other in a long row, 18 classrooms. but the hallway is outside, the doors open up to a veranda type thing that stretches the length of the building. Ie i have to go outside to get to my next classroom, although it helps keep the rooms cool, also makes it painfully easy for kids to cut class.

I arrive at school at 6:45, all the students line up infronot of the teachers, the teachers stand on the elevated veranda, and they sing the national anthem, no joke the anthem is literally 10 minutes long, and if the asst. principle isnt satisfied the first time they sing it agian! this country does not like formality... then they students mosey, walking quickly doesn\t exist here, to the classroom. first thing i do is call roll, easy you would think, but when you have 70 students, and you cant pronounce their names, it proves more difficult, and time consuming. its my nightmare the 10 minute attendance... so now we're 15 minutes into class time.

As for the actualy teaching i love it! Students think im crazy, I make the stand up, act out vocab words, bring in endless props, visual aids exc. My latest trick is using a hacky sack. when i want a student to answer a question in throught the hacky sack at them, saves time, and keeps everyone engaged and on there toes. Over all im enjoying my job. feels good to like what your doing. thats for sure.

Hard Knock Life... the good the bad the ugly.

1. zua, my puppy, proudly brings home different parts of animal carcus everyday, and deposits them at my feet like a proud daughter. The most revolting was an unidentfiable tuft of hairy skin, that smelled as if it had been rotting in the hot african sun for days (which it probably has)

2. I have had 4 ant infestions--- woken up with little ants crawling all over my body-- in the past two weeks. Try getting rid of a creepy crawly feeling and going back to sleep after that one.

3. Its been raining here for the past 3 days, and when in rains in Moz. life stops. Its like a killer snow storm in NYC. Its a liscense to stay in your house and do nothing, and you dont even have to call to break plans, its expected. beautiful!

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