Monday, September 29, 2008

all in a day's work...

The joys of teaching...while living in Africa...

"Today was frustrating..."
"Oh so it had alot in common with the past 30 days."

"how do you know if you are not supposed to eat something here?"
"If in about an hour you throw up."

"Teacha, I need to WEEEEE!"

A little 4 yo said to her mom on the first day of Swimming...
"momma, do I wear my bathing suit to school?"
"No, you will put it on there."
"But, momma, I cant go to school NAKED!!"

In the middle of computer class...a kid (1st grade) raises his hand (which is an accomplishment in and of itself)..I walk over..."Yes, matthew?" to which he bluntly says "I cant sleep at night."
To which I internally chuckle at the randomness of such a comment during the middle of computer class, however the overly analytical therapist part of me wonders why he cant sleep...and why he would tell me of all people!  Does he announce this to every teacher?

At another point in the middle of the same computer class....a 6 yo little girl too cute to tell to be quiet (although she needs to be...), calls me over "Teacha, Ms. 'Harpa'!"  
"you have on a pretty pink skirt."
Very observant..."Thank you, emily.  Now type your letter O."
5 minutes later..."Teacha, Ms. 'Harpa'!"
"Yes, Emily..."
"You have purple on your eye s pretty."
"Thank you, Emily."
And she continues to type with great pride at her recent observations.

"Class, what are a few rules for the computer room?"
"Don't BITE!"
I m thinking...oh my...what have i gotten myself into.  Scary that that is within the top 5 rules...

"Computers turn on and off...can anyone think of a few more things that turn on and off?"
One adorable 6 yo raises her hand proudly..."My mommy has an exercise bike that she rides every night so that she wont get really fat while she's pregnant."
"Well...that is just great.  OK...anyone else?"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A few more pictures...i have to post them when the internet is working fast enough to actually load! So, I m sorry for the randomness!
This first one is of one of my favorite places to go for breakfast--Rach and I went our first Sunday here and have returned's a regular.  Great breakfast and lunch food!  It has the neatest little courtyard that is so doors...when we went there last we both said "mom and dad would love this place.  I can us having a 3 hour sunday lunch here."  This captures the beautiful weather of Malawi which people refer to quite often.
Amidst the craziness of dressing up in her clown costume, I asked Rachel "are you ok?" she looked slightly stressed out.  She looked at me with her usual 'are you really asking me that question right now?' look and said "yeah...because this is what i have always dreamt i would do with my life..." 
It was a long week...a little R&R was needed.  I mean who doesnt need a good cup of hot tea, a great magazine, and a pedicure! ...I may have moved to Africa..but I havent lost my girlyness.
This past weekend we had the college girls basketball team over for pizza and a movie! It was SO fun! Rachel and I are coaching the team...about 13 girls total.  I think only one could not come that night.  We had a great time sitting around chatting (typical girl style), drinking Sobo and Fanta (the new-to-Caroline Malawi soft drinks) and then watched the chic flic Hitch.  There was much laughter, fun, and noise! These girls can yell!

Anyway..just a few pictures of what all is going on.  More to come!

Monday, September 22, 2008

a few pictures...

Rachel...put on a Circus for her Reception (4 yo) class...I came to 'assist' or rather document the event.  Wow...perhaps I will get permission to post a picture of the Circus clown.  Now that was a sight.  The letter of the week was all the kids were Elephants complete with ears and trunks.  very cute.  This little tyke is one of my personal favorites in her class.  The camera loves him...
This pic is from a Wednesday afternoon outreach program--Chitipi.  Rach and I went last week.  I am trying to make it work with my counseling schedule so that I can go weekly.  We go to read with the kids as they are learning to read in their village school there.  We play games along with a Bible story theme for the week. Sweet kids...all ages.

Friday, September 19, 2008

just another manic monday through friday

just want to give you a taste of what my week looked like...several things--
first i have gotten the inevitable cold/sinus infection that one gets when consistently around 300 students.  i am blessed to have all the academy students come through my room...they all use the same mouse on the computers so germs are a free for all in our room.  it's great.  good thing there is a fan in there so the germs can spread around a bit...seriously i am GLAD there is a circulation in that room otherwise. amidst the sickness it's 8 pm on tuesday and rachel and i have just mosey-ed on up to a friends house here on campus to get their corn chowder recipe...only to interrupt their family devotional time.  not awkward at all.  grand...just grand. we get the recipe and are leaving.
well i have been to this house many times and know full well the...obstacles in visiting such a residence.  You see...all over campus, primarily there in front on this house (bless their hearts) they are channeling a four-foot man made/man dug ditch.  yes it is a ditch...about 1 1/2 foot wide and 4 feet deep...all to improve the water system on campus.  one would problem at all.
the next thing i know is that i have just inhaled/snorted up a nose full of water from my now empty nalgene bottle; i cant see a thing b/c my glasses are somewhere on my forehead, and i am up to my thighs in a dirt graven ditch.
Meanwhile I 'feel' Rachel standing above me...trying sympathetically NOT to laugh..while simultaneously attempting to ask me if I am somehow ok.  To which I respond..."What just happened?"
So i gather myself and attempt to walk away...happy to know that my leg is still in one piece.  As we walk away, I again ask "How did that happen?"  Rachel says, "I m not sure but let me know when you are ready to laugh about it."
I then begin hysterically laughing while crying really hard...just out of frustration of stupidity.  Rachel continues down the road bent over laughing so hard I think she just might pee in her pants.  But then she later complains that I am walking too slowly and that she would prefer us just not to ling.  I calmly apologize for my laziness by saying "Oh i m sorry if i m moving a bit too slowly...i only just fell into a 4 foot ditch."

Wednesday provided a fairly sore knee and some bruises which brought about some resemblance of Rachel's students and their skinned up 4 yo little knees...

The stuffy nose prevailed accompanied by a raspy voice from talking so much in computer and lecturing at the college.
Thursday night rolls's late...really late..finishing up a chat online with mom and out of the corner of my eye I see this HUGE and i mean creepy crawly huge roach.  i m talking like the size of my thumb.  it's over above Rachel's bed crawling on the window curtain.  I m tucked away underneath my mosquito net and it's 'out there.'  But that would just be cruel not to do anything about it.  so i get up (out of the waterbed mind you...which is not exactly an easy feat) and attempt to kill this thing, however, it s disappeared somewhere into the curtain.  I looked long and hard for it but could not find it...assuming it went out the window.  
so mom and i are finishing our conversation..i m realizing just how late it really is.  i asked her several times and commented several times that i thought it had gone, surely!?  I have said "bye", and something catches the corner of my eye.  Not only was the roach above me, but it was INSIDE the mosquito net just hanging there.  So I spent way too much time strategizing about how I might kill this thing without A. dropping it onto my bed in which I was about to sleep and B. squashing it on my sheets.  Needless to say, I killed that sucker...gross.  I cant help but think of Marley Evans' anacronym...TIA...This is Africa.  I know that seemed to be a bit too much blog time to give to a roach story...but this thing was huge.  
so there you have it all--the weekend has provided to be very fun with lots of entertaining going on...i will write when I can!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random thoughts

 Some thoughts, events, or just general comments about the past few weeks....
--I never mentioned the random chicken that walked into the room in the middle of one of our meetings.  Whomever was speaking at the time (definitely someone who had been here longer than my 3 day longevity) didnt even flinch.  Another slightly more orientated person than myself casually walked over, picked him up, walked him out and the meeting continued as if this was an everyday occurance.  (I just uploaded some pictures and came across "the" had to pay tribute to him.)
--Moments of reminding myself:  "I'm in Africa"...Rachel and I returning to our local market and being greeted by our friends who sold us two very cool paintings the week before.   I not only learned how to say my name in Chichewa (but have now forgotten)..but learned some other interesting names:  James Bond and Fantastique.  Seriously.  Then as we were leaving they called out to Rachel to come join in the we did.  We are to return next week as well.
--The MOON--wow.  Late night walks in the total dark along the main road on campus.  Ipod in hand...FULL moon out.  Cool weather here the past few I have had several of these walks.  However, I cant look at the huge moon and bright stars and not think of my dear friend Paul.  I wish I could tell him about this adventure in Africa.  I really miss him.
--Some things never change...Rachel and I frequently Ichat from room to room in our house.  Never know what news might come up that is so pressing that one cannot walk to the next room. 
--Realizing that mom's year will be spent Ichating with her two daughters in Africa...i just picture mom sitting at the kitchen island with her little glass of Diet Coke typing away with us over here!  Always there whenever we need her...
--the compliment of being called "one of the twins" on campus.
--Fun moments of kids saying to Rachel "You taught me computer this morning!" when in reality it was her "twin" sister, "the other Ms. Harper!"
--Tears...lots and lots of tears...I havent cried this much in the past two years combined--and i ve only been here one month.  figure that one.  so my sweet friend, Laura Pegg, helped me understand why and how I am able to cry so much....she said that i have just been storing up for the past 2 years and it s all coming out now.  if only i had known...

So there is the good and the bad.  Hard transitions...big callings....big lessons to learn.  I'm glad I am not in control of all that this year will bring...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Month

well...i am way overdue!  There is much to process and write's all circling around in my head somewhere.  Hopefully, I will post it all soon..if not I am writing it down somewhere so as not to forget.
so we have officially been here a month.  I dont know whether to be encouraged by this or to find it hard to believe!  I see how with times various things begin to be normal.  For instance, I listen for the rooster to wake me up in the morning and ironically find comfort in the random bird clock, which subsequently produces a different chirp on every hour.  (....we inherited it from the house owner).
i will readily admit that i have experienced and continue to experience all and any of the elements of culture shock.  it is the culture shock of everything, mainly of transition:  missing friends and family and the comforts of a 'known' land.  However, I have seen how with time, things I thought could not become familiar (the mosque call to worship) somehow have.  so..i can only think that others things will continue to become as familiar.

teaching is in full what a job.  very long days here.  teachers are servants--i can say that b/c i am not one by trade.

rachel and i have now officially been to the market twice.  whew!  once together--today.  we went to look at fabrics to make our house homey-er and then to get some veggies. i miss photography.  I wanted to capture pictures of the vegetables and the whole market in general.  Rows and rows, baskets and baskets of fruit, veggies, beens, greens, etc.  Very neat...So many people...So many.  Driving down a road and people are walking all in the street.  it's jsut amazing.  There are definite moments where I just stop and think "how did I get here?...yet realizing how rare and special it is at the same time."  
This next week should be exciting and encouraging--I see my first client! yay!  I am trying to finalize an actual room to set up shop in our medical Clinic here on campus.  That will hopefully provide the needed privacy and confidentiality.  It's a work in progress, but I will be glad to be able to counsel some.

I have loved hearing from everyone! Thanks for saying is definitely encouraging and welcomed!
Here is a favorite picture...
"Lost little boy"

more to come for sure...