Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm soooooo National Geographic

Mommy came to visit!!!! It was great, great, great! Ugandan culture is very welcoming and hospitable so all of the friends and colleagues I've made here were absolutely ecstatic to meet her (and greet her, they LOOOOVE to greet in Uganda). Check out some of the fun experiences she had in my home sweet home Naddangira, Uganda.
Upon arrival she was given a chicken by my neighbor as a welcoming gift.

Then, of course, we ate it. But we had to catch it first, and I'll be damned if those things aren't fast! But as you can see, we prevailed in the end--with a little help from some local children and my neighbor Daisy (pictured above).

Mama Brett (as everyone here called her throughout her stay) also got to meet my counterpart, Lukman, and his son, Rahman.
And she got to hold a million adorable babies, most of them not wearing any pants!

Aside from hanging around my place in Uganda we also went on a safari in Tanzania. AMAZING sights (Thanks Mom!!!). We went to Tarangire National Park, Ngorngoro Crater, and the Serengeti. It was very Ernest Hemingway. I'm also pretty sure National Geographic would hire me if they got the chance, just check out my vivid and action-packed nature photography skills.

But now vacation time is over and schools are back in session. This term I started after school life skills clubs at two of the primary schools I work with. Life skills are all those general abilities we need to lead happy and healthy lives, such as confidence, self-esteem, assertiveness, critical thinking, etc. Life skills can be built through games, art, discussion, role-playing, and a million other activities, so the kids should have some fun with it aside from it's learning benefits. I go once a week to each school and meet with about 60 or 70 kids. The age range varies, but I would say most of them are approximately 11-13 years old. The club is only in it's second week, so I cannot really report too much on it's success or challenges so far. Although, I can tell it will take a little time for the kids to understand the way I am teaching. Children here are used to being asked strictly factual questions. All questions asked in class have a distinct yes or no answer, rather than being based on opinion or personal experience. So when I ask children, "How do you think you'd feel if....." or "Can you remember a time when...." it is a complete paradigm shift! I have gotten very used to awkward silences following my questions (although part of that might be attributable to my accent and the fact that English is these kids' second language!). I'll keep at it though, because I think they will get used to it sooner or later, and I hope they will be in some way better for it.

What did you do this weekend?

Going to the market, fetching water from the borehole, getting hair braided at the salon, cooking on the charcoal stove.....a regular old Peace Corps weekend.