i'm back in kaedi reliving last year's training with the advantage of being a Second Year in capital letters (officially as of 9 sept). rather than being on the receiving end of two-hour long training sessions that begin with the all important "Objectives" i'm on the giving end. well, i helped present one or two of these sessions. mostly i stayed in the back of the classroom during the first week of model school, observing and writing Helpful Things on a sheet of paper to discuss with the teachers-in-training, all of whom want to kill themselves on the first day. did i ever get to describe model school last year? it's kind of like teacher boot camp, with emotional trauma only. in the last month of training, english ed volunteers find themselves in front of real live mauritanian students who they are supposed to motivate and control and... teach. it's scary but effective. and honestly it's a pretty gentle introduction: the kids who enroll sign up voluntarily, and for most of them the material is a review of what they learned in class the year before. these ones are the good kids.
i really liked it because i got to be reminded of how strange and enthusiastic we americans are, how we like to do wacky shit in front of people we don't know. i must be so entertaining for my students to watch... a product of the american ed system where good teachers are engaging, make facial expressions and bring in stuff like it's show and tell. (flashback to my second-year class where, early in the year, i brought in four or five boutique-bought items for the sake of vocabulary and an exericise. a bag of sugar? whoa, havoc.) ...observing it all made me realize i learned how to teach in the last year, which is reassuring. i also liked model school because i got to sit in the back row and doodle, make lists and elaborately fold notes. oh, good times.
clearly, nothing much is happening right now. no trips, no coups or armed rebellions, nothing good on TV... (not that i have one, although i hear the theme song to the argentinian soap opera and wonder how much i've missed since i've been away from site). we are just trying not to move in the kaedi heat and watching the sky for a sign of rain, which would at least provoke some relocation indoors and maybe allow us to breathe again. i haven't listened to the radio or used the internet much in days. it's a self-imposed news-free zone. the anniversary of 11 sept came and went almost without mention; it sounds like new orleans is still a loss, but i don't know. i get most of my news lately from emailed articles and the bi-weekly phone calls to mom/dad/meg, during which time we update each other on a)natural disastors b)work c)pregnancies/ family scandals/ things of interest and d)news of mom/dad/meg, because everyone is so busy over there it's hard to stay in touch. good thing i'm not busy. school will start in a few weeks and with it the 844 things i plan to do that i've detailed so carefully on all these lists, inshAllah. i think it might be raining by now.