Bats, a Chicken Kidnapper, and George Bush

I feel really at home here in Pommern and can’t believe that I leave a week from tomorrow. I have great friends, wonderful teachers to work with, and am very lucky to have learned so much from the people fo this community. Yesterday was good – I spent the morning with Mr. Kihoo again. Since I’ve been working with the same students for so long, they’ve come to know to recognize me (and even respect me) as a teacher. Mr. Kihoo always makes me laugh…his new favorite thing is to mock my girly voice and then burst out into his deep rumbling laugh. I’m very lucky to get to work with the same teacher for six weeks – it’s so nice to have a routine that I can get into. We worked on the library again yesterday afternoon. It sounds, when written, that every day is the same – school in the morning and the library in the afternoon – and in a way it’s kind of true. Our assignments from day to day are very similar, but each day is unique in its interactions, its conversations, its emotions, and its stories. Yesterday, for example, Patrick and Joseph joined us to work on the library. We were laughing and sharing stories the whole time, but my favorite moment by far, was when Joseph said that I was his sister. It’s very common in the culture here to call your good friends “brother” or “sister,” but hearing such a sentiment from sweet, loving Joseph was so special. And it really captures the kind of relationship that I have with them. We laugh, we joke, we work together, and we talk (a lot!) – But at the root of it all, I really do care about them. That’s something that I’ve come to discover here…if I’m surrounded by people that I care about, and who care about me, I’m happy. There’s really not much else I need.

I spent the afternoon with Simon and Emmanuel talking and just having a good time, while I tutored them in English and Geography. I’ve become friends with the students that I’ve been tutoring – especially since so many of them are my age – and I’m very lucky to have had that opportunity. I’ve learned as much from them as I’ve helped them to learn!

Today started with a class in Form II C, where I administered the quiz I had written last week. I wrote the quiz questions on the blackboard, and the students copied them down and then answered them. 24 questions…and with just 50 minutes from the time that I started writing on the board. It shocks me how successful these students can be, with so few resources. After the period ended, we marked the quizzes. It was a tough quiz, but many of the students did exceptionally well! We’re planning on having a review/corrections session during their next period. Edward went to Iringa today, so we never got the report of the man who stole 10 of the school matron’s chickens and fled to Iringa to sell them yesterday. It felt like an episode of Law and Order: Pommerini Chicken Unit! HA! But it was actually a huge deal that there was a chicken thief – chickens are very expensive, and to steal them from the school matron no less!

I took a nap this afternoon and then went to work on the library some more. We didn’t have any student helpers (everyone is busy studying for exams/Form I, III, and V start on Friday) so it wasn’t as fun as usual. But, we were VERY productive, and finished chipping all the mud from between the bricks! Hopefully that means that the dusty job is done for good, and we won’t have to come home every day looking like we got a very poor quality Pommerin spray tan! 😛 I came back to the mission house to change, since I thought there’d be a volleyball game, but due to the slight drizzle everyone decided not to play. Simon was helping Mohammed unload the van, and he asked me to go to school and help him with his geography homework and to study for civics. Simba came as well, and assisted me in helping with Simon’s geography question—surveying tools and their uses aren’t in the forefront of my memory!

There’s supposed to be a graduation at the primary school tomorrow, so that should be an exciting and festive addition to our day!

OH – funny moment from today. So Simba and I were talking about Georgia (as I tried to explain that it’s in the southern part of American and not in South America) and Simon blurts out “Georgia?…GEORGE BUSH!” Through my laughter I managed to question him “George Bush?” to which he replied, “ Yes, that’s my American father, and Thompson is my brother,” pointing to the yellow “Thompson Family Dental t-shirt that he always wears. I just couldn’t stop laughing!

AND we had an unexpected (and uninvited) dinner guest tonight…a bat who flew around the dining room and elicited shreeks, squeals, and laughter (depending on the person!). Never a dull moment here in Pommern!

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