Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
I was visiting a colleague when a friend of hers stopped by to visit. Perhaps in an effort to impress us, he arrogantly insisted he knew all about the differences between our cultures, though for half of the conversation, he was assuming I was French… His main points:
- “If I left a cell phone on the table here, someone would steal it. And that would never happen in America. No one is poor or greedy in America.”
- “If I want to buy a computer in America, but I don’t have money, the government will pay for it. Americans don’t have to work.”
- “If I want to come visit you at your house in America, I have to call your secretary first and make an appointment. No one needs to be welcoming or friendly in America, because they don’t need their friends to give them money.”
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Monday, August 26, 2013
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
- At the farm: we’re breeding our bunnies, growing a tree nursery, building some compost piles, replanting our garden for the rainy season (finally!), and soon will be installing an irrigation system (take that, dry season 2014!)
- At the school: the girls’ club continues, the environmental club flounders, and apparently I’m in love with Peace Corps camps… July brings Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and Camp BRO (Boys Respecting Others), and August brings Environmental Camp. I’ll bring some students and help lead sessions during those three weeks.
- In the community: The farm and I are hosting a community tree planting event on June 1st, World Tree Day! My homologue and I are also planning a series of information sessions for mothers about nutrition, malaria, and hygiene. Similarly, another work partner and I are starting an “Amour et Vie” (Love and Life) team, a program run by Population Services International, that trains community members and two high school-aged “peer educators” to conduct informational sessions for youth, predominately concerning family planning and sexual health.
- I was working alone on the farm one morning, thinking far away while engrossed in building raised garden beds. One of the high school boys who works on the farm with me, Evariste, came home for his lunch break. He stood watching me for a while, and then asked: Mishu, who are you going to burry there? I looked up, confused, and then realized that in my intense effort to “raise” a garden bed, I had actually just dug myself into a sizeable hole... So we planted a tree there instead :)
- Another boy from the farm, Rodrigue, is struggling with his English class. After his last exam, he came home and wrote down for me all the words that he didn’t understand. It was a long list, meaning his exam was probably half blank when he turned it in, but he was surprisingly chipper. When I asked him why he was so pleased: Because I knew that even if I didn’t know the words there during the test, I had a big dictionary at home, and her name is Michelle!
- Upon my entering a weekly women’s group meeting, all the mamans snickered and chattered in Wemε. One finally explained to me: Yovo, when you walk, your butt bounces! I laughed it off and blushed a bit, but I’m somewhat used to comments about (or even the feeling up of) my body by now, from older women. But they didn’t stop there: Yes! Look at that! Yovo, this is very good. A young woman’s butt must bounce when she walks. Right, left, right, left… They proceeded to stand, clapping and dancing, while chanting “à la gauche, à la droit, à la gauche, à la droit!” To the left, to the right, to the left, to the right! It didn’t stop until I obliged them in standing up and dancing with them, in celebration of my own bouncy booty.