(I put some more pictures up on facebook, so check it out!)
I've been here about a week, and it feels like way longer, just because I've seen so much and learned sooo much. I know it will start to fly by. I'm practically Cameroonian already. Ok, just kidding. I've realized how stupid I was to not work on my French before I got here, so I'm going to try and work on it now (I have rosetta stone, thanks to Derek- the guy who takes care of me, even when I'm across the ocean).
This week has been teacher in service week, getting ready for the kids to come on Monday. Oh man, not only am I new to traveling and to this country, but I'm also new to teaching in general. And to teaching at a private school. There is sooo much stuff to learn! So many forms and meetings and details... I'm pretty burnt out on all that stuff. Let alone planning for teaching a class! Not a class, 5 classes. The teachers have had just this week to clean their classrooms (and I mean actually clean- everything here gets moldy, and the teachers have to do it all) set everything up (like posters and arrange the room and organize supplies) AND to do all their lesson plans. Crazy.
So I realized I haven’t really said much about what I’m doing here and what the school is like. So here’s the rundown- the
So my role is to student teach for 4th to 8th grade science. That means I’m working with one teacher, Tom, for 6-8th grade science, and then the 4th (Roger) and 5th (Richard) grade teachers. 4th and 5th is like regular elementary classes, so they have the same teacher all day, but I’m just going to come in for science. Although, there’s no textbooks or materials or curriculum really for these grades, so I get to be creative! I’m actually really excited about it. 6th to 8th is much more organized as Tom is the science teacher, so he has materials and books and everything. So I’m really excited to be learning from all these great teachers. Tom did peace corp in
So, I also didn’t explain where I’m living. When I arrived I stayed the weekend at the teachers’ apartments. The apartments are for the ex-pat teachers. Everyone was so nice and so helpful. I was going to live at the boarding house, and I stayed there for this week, but now I’ve moved back to the apartments so I can be with the teachers- some of my good friends here offered for me to stay a few weeks with each of them, so I’m really excited about that. This is just a much better situation than staying at the boarding out, and its much more social. Right now I’m living with Liz- she’s who I stayed with right when I got here. She’s so great- she is an American who grew up in
I’m also going to be staying with Angena, another single female teacher from NY, but this is her second year. Super nice and super cool. And I’ll stay with Lindsey and Brian, a married couple from
One of the things that struck me since I’ve been here is just how helpful and nice everyone is. That includes the American teachers and the Cameroonian teachers. The people are also very polite and friendly- everyone says hello to everyone else. Except that it still isn’t a safe place to be alone at all, because of the all the mugging and thievery.
Oh, so back to where I’m staying. We’re about a 15 minute car ride to the school, but still in the city, in an area called Bastos. The apartments also have walls and guards 24/7 (thievery is really big here). A lot of the returning teachers have cars, so we just kinda find a ride. The roads here are crazy!! There are tons of taxis, but they tell us to please please not take taxis because they are dangerous and you will most likely get robbed if you’re not in a group. But everyone in the city takes them- I think that its worse when you’re a white American who is easy to take advantage of. Liz still takes them by herself during the day sometimes, but she has lived here and is fluent so she knows more of what she’s doing. I will not be taking them on my own J. Back to the roads- there are no road signs or names, and not really any rules, except the bigger car has the right of way. I’ve only seen one traffic light. No speed limit. Basically its constant merging and passing. You can pass anyone anytime, sometimes people flash their lights when they’re gonna do it, sometimes not. Lots of horn honking too. Its crazy but fun. All the cars are standard, and there’s tons of hills, and a lot of the not main roads are very narrow and have all sorts of potholes (except they are dirt) and sharp turns. Needless to say, I won’t be driving anywhere while I’m here- don’t worry mom and dad.
The other day while driving home from school I saw something interesting- there was a guy lying on the side of the road, kind of passed out. We weren’t sure at first what was going on, but then we realized he was just really drunk (this was at like 4 in the afternoon). Another guy walked by and came up to him, I thought he was going to help- but he reached in and took the guy’s money out of his pocket! While he was walking away someone yelled at him and he went and put it back. The drunk guy woke up and looked around and started swearing at the guy who made the thief put it back!
Alcoholism is very big here. The beer is super cheap- like 1 US dollar for a bottle, which is like the size of at least 2 of our beer bottles. Apparently
Well, I want to end on a positive note, so you don’t get the idea that I have negative feelings towards
Ok, well now that I’ve given a lot of introductory stuff, I hope my next messages can be more about observations and about the culture and the people. Also, if you have questions about something I haven’t mentioned yet, just write and ask so I can be sure to cover everything. I’m writing these and other emails, so I might forget what I told to whom.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to email me too.