Sunday, January 4, 2009

two weeks of school down

18 September 2008

School is it's getting better, as I get more comfortable. The kids laugh at my accent, but its good practice for my French. My schedule is complicated. I teach eleven classes, with sixty to seventy students in each class. The lowest level I teach is 4eme; generally thirteen year olds I guess. The highest level is terminale, which is basically the freshman year of college. However the students could be older than I. Often they fail their exams. They have the same BAC system as the French. Sometimes they have to take a year or two off, to work and save enough to afford school. There are plenty of smart students. Some have computers at home, and others have never touched one. The discrepancy is a little daunting, but this way they are able to help each other. I teach each class once every two weeks, for an hour and forty minutes (meaning we will cover hardly anything). I teach afternoons Monday and Thursday, and mornings Tuesday and Wednesday. I have no classes Friday.

I do have fantastic water pressure. Felipe (the volunteer I replaced) said the water never cut out in the whole two years he lived there. I’m pretty lucky.
I still don't have electricity. The company needs a copy of the lease, and my landlord is out of town. His friend signed a temporary contract for me, but then I had to get it stamped at the finance building and the chief of police...the policeman had literally six stamps he used on it, and then signed. Very Cameroonian--they love ink stamps and making things look official. Then I took the paper to the electric co, SONEL, but there was a huge line. You have to pay your bill in person, and it must be due soon. So rather than wait in line, I’m going back another day. It’s not so inconvenient, since I’m able to charge my phone at Stacy’s house.

My postmates, Michelle and Stacy, and I joined a dance class. It’s two hours on Wednesday evening and four hours Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It’s a lot of dancing when you first start! But it's great exercise and stress relief, as well as an opportunity to meet Cameroonians. i don't have any Cameroonian friends yet, just coworkers and acquaintances.

Peace Corps provides us with bikes, which is also great exercise. I loved getting out of the city to ride through the green landscape. This weekend Michelle, Sam and I are planning to bike to a lake four miles from Sam’s village. I’ll try to take some pictures and send them.

I still mean to take pictures of my house so you guys can see that too.
Otherwise, I’ve been cooking and continuing to set up house. My favorite meal out is poisson braisé: they season and grill a whole fish, and you eat it with mayonnaise or spicy sauce with your fingers. Sometimes i splurge on french fries and make it Cameroonian fish and chips.

Today was a good day, and I’m happy here right now.

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