Friday, January 30, 2009

When it rains, it pours.

And I don’t mean that in the idiomatic sense. I mean that in the “it’s raining so hard I can’t hear the last 20 minutes of Juno over the sound of rain pounding on my tin roof” kind of way. The “my cement walls have absorbed so much water all my photos are falling down because the tape won’t stick anymore” kind of way. Or the “my shoes keep getting sucked off by the mud so I think I’ll walk the last 45 minutes back home barefoot” kind of way.

Hey, at least it adds excitement to my life. Muddy, wet, soggy, mildewy excitement.

There’s been quite a bit of excitement in my life this week, actually. (Relative to previous weeks, that is.) On the 24th we had the youth support group in Nhlangano, Tuesday I worked at the clinic, I’ve had lots of paperwork to do for Peace Corps (and PEPFAR) and schools officially “opened” this week. I’ve been so busy I’ve only had time to read one book this week! Amazing.

Since I don’t really begin teaching until next week (Monday, hopefully, if I can get the Ministry of Education to give me the curriculum for Life Skills, which the Life Skills teacher at the high school has been waiting for 2 years to receive) I have mostly just been wandering around in the rain pondering GRE vocab in my head and squishing mud between my toes on my way to meetings about what I want to do with myself for the next 19 months. I did discover that out of the 65 students in Form 4 who took the examinations at the end of the year, only 6 of them passed with a 50% or higher. How could 59 of them (that’s 91% of them) get more questions WRONG than they got RIGHT? Surely that isn’t a failure on the students’ part…But no worries, they “promoted” 34 of them so they could have 2 classes of 20 in Form 5. Completely legit. (Although I DO have to say that it’s unfair to give the Mozambican students the same siSwati test as native siSwati speakers…I don’t think a single one of them got higher than a 15%...and yes I saw their results because there is no concept of confidentiality in Swaziland.)

Anyway, that’s it for me. I’m in Mbabane today to turn in paperwork (closing my PEPFAR grant), then Manzini tomorrow to be trained as a “microenterprise facilitator” with TechnoServ. I have no idea what that means, but I volunteered to help some club at Hluti High School run a small business of some sort for the next 12 weeks. I don’t even know where Hluti High School is, but apparently I’m the closest volunteer. Hm.

That’s all.

1 comment:

Lowell said...

Great stories; thanks for sharing them. I remember being warned of snakes in training. We even practiced injecting oranges with pretend anti-venom. But 15 months passed and I never saw a snake, except dead or in captivity. Then one day while motorcycling on my tiny Suzuki a black mamba shot out of the bush in front of me. I had no time to brake without going down on the loose gravel so I put my foot on the handle bar. The snake, which had not noticed me yet, was going to be run over just behind its head. At the very last moment the snake whipped back and I sped through. I looked back and saw it madly striking in all directions as if fighting an invisible enemy. Kind of like an earthquake, it just happens suddenly one day with no particular reason. I was always amazed/amused how the Swazis were so single minded when they saw a snake, any snake. They immediately and unflinchingly went after it, women and men, until they killed it, which they always did. That answered why snake are rarely seen. They are, so to speak, snake bitten.