Friday, February 11, 2011

Ethiopia: Nazret: Fourth Day at the English Alive Academy

TGIF!

Karma from yesterday's shrug about indulgences bit me in the butt today. Again I was in the 1st grade - but holy mother of God! A madhouse! A riot!



Similar madness occurred in every single class I was in today.

To make things even worse in the first grade, remember how some little punk sibling or friend would copy you when you were a child... repeating everything you said until you exploded (which meant they "won")?



OK - rote learning, right? The kids are trained to recite and repeat. Loudly. In chorus.

So, here's sort of what it was like in 1st grade today (though I've taken some creative liberties):

Me: OK, quiet please.

Class: OK!! QUIET PLEASE!!

Me: No, I mean, time to be quiet now.

Class: NO!! I MEAN, TIME TO BE QUIET NOW!!!

Me: I mean it! Sit down! Quiet!

Class: I MEAN IT!! SIT DOWN!! QUIET!!!

Me: OK, I'm really getting mad now!

Class: OK!!! I'M REALLY GETTING MAD NOW!!!

Me: Stop copying me!

Class: STOP COPYING ME!!!

OK, I didn't really say all that, but it was pretty close....

Once child even motioned me to blow the whistle. Like that was going to do anything in this melee.



In third grade, I was working with the kids on predicates. I experienced some difficulty in maintaining their attention. One boy was turned around in his seat, nonchalantly whittling his pencil lead with a very large serrated knife while talking with the kid behind him. Without even thinking twice about it, I gently turned him around in his seat and gently removed the knife from his hand, then placed it on a box in front of the room. At the end of class, I returned the knife to him. Didn't occur to me til that night, while dining with Azeb, that in the U.S., this "incident" would have prompted all sorts of major reactions, including a call to the police and perhaps an article in the paper. Again, I wasn't even thinking about the knife except that it was distracting the student from the class work. But as Azeb pointed out, five year-old farmers' kids in Ethiopia are responsible for managing 10 head of cattle every day.

There was running water last night, so I had a shower, though truthfully, the shower set-up is really more the illusion, the suggestion, of a shower, than the reality. Even so, it was a nice boost.

I did an English class for the KG teachers this afternoon, then hurried up to the Dire International Hotel in hopes of internet access before the office closed at 6:00. No luck. Thus I walked out to the terrace for my cold Ambo and lemon in my paradise hideway. Of all things! Men were chopping up the marble terrace floor! Hell.

Walked instead to the Rift Valley Cafe where I was able to get a Diet Coke in a refreshing garden environment.

Rift Valley Cafe


Returned home to Azeb's where I learned the outlet in my bedroom went bad today. There's another outlet in the bedroom, but it's a three-hole outlet, so I'll need to get a special adapter for it. Why so important about the outlet in my room? The fan.

Compared to Stephanie and Dawit, though, I don't have it so bad. Their neighborhood in Addis Ababa has been without electric power for several days.

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