Saturday, November 28, 2009

tenant gripes, no change at school

on a different note... more frustrating. Kenneth [a friend, colleague and caretaker of the house i was renting] came over. we "discussed" house stuff. let's see... how to describe the dialogue?

not tense. not awkward. not loud. not angry, or bitter. i just kept repeating myself and Kenneth kept getting defensive... explaining away my gripes. so i kept repeating myself. and he grew frustrated. but he didn't really understand what i was saying.

i was saying that, against my better judgment, i need to and would pay rent. b/c i need to get the receipts to PC admin in Yaounde. but if it was up to me, i'd just hold on to the money until my door, water-heater and fence were fixed. the roof seems to be all right, for now.

so... in giving him the rent money i pleaded that it be used for all that. without much delay. b/c if it isn't done now... no rent again jusqu'à Décembre ["until December," as i paid quarterly rent].

again... our communication was off. way off! Maggie was in the kitchen. Kenneth actually wanted to get her in as a 3rd party [i.e. a mediator]. not sure why??? well, i am sure why... but i was cool as a cucumber. not angry, just persistent. we'll see what happens.

last note: there's been no administrative reshuffle at our school [GTTC Wum]. Auntie is our principal. the VP is the VP. both bad and good news, i suppose... still, a lot of us [teachers] are disappointed. will go on as planned with the workshops, insha'Allah. staff meeting on the 5th of Sept.

Friday, November 27, 2009

EE Camp

Curric. Prep. w/Maggie


7:30-8am – Breakfast
8-9:15am – Activity #1
9:30-10:45am – Activity #2
11am-12pm – Demos and Games
12-1pm – Lunch
1-2pm – Guest Speaker

2 Groups:
-45 students (15 per school)
-23 & 22 per group
-Maggie, Me and Paul coordinate
-4 GTTC student-teachers per group

6 Activities total, associated with 6 Topics:
  1. Introduction – Define Environment and Ecosystem
  2. "Munch-line Monitors" – Food Chains & Energy Flow
  3. "The Great Spec-tackle" – Air, H2O & Soil Cycles
  4. "Connection Inspection" – Interrelationships
  5. " ? " – Diversity of/in Ecosystems
  6. "Magic Spot(s)" – Environmental Appreciation
Resources and Supplies:
  • Ground Rules – Brown-paper for Rules, Schedule & Map; 45 Manuals/Pens
  • Intro to Ecosystems – Brown-paper for Definitions & Topics Outline
  • Munch-line Monitors – Brown-paper for Instructions, Plastic Plates, Small Chalkboard, Rope, Poster-paper, and Plastic Bags
  • The Great Speck-tackle – Brown-paper, Stakes, Rope, Story Book, "Machine" (clay box), and Paper.
  • Connection Inspection – Brown-paper, Rope (4 colors), and Long Stakes.
  • Field/Forest/Marsh – Brown-paper, Long Stakes, Poster-paper, Rope and Labels
  • Guest Lecture – Brown-paper, Markers, and Chalk
  • Miscellaneous – Brown-paper, Markers, Chalk, Rope, Tape
To Do:
-Mohamad – Outline Introduction, Activities for any/all topics from different resources, and Definitions for key terms
-Maggie – Outline McKeever activities

-Thursday afternoon – scope out GBSS [Govt. Bilingual Secondary School], and discuss where activities can be held.
-Discuss guest speakers

Maggie and i met about EE camp curriculum. not so much a vague meeting as it was–hmmm... unfocused? i would've liked to identify key concepts in EE and then come up with relevant activities. we kinda went backwards. anyway, same result in the end.

it will be much work. logistics! preparation... scheduling people's time. students' time. one worries. especially here where the concept of time is–well... different. and the money issue, too. i just worry about these 1 day plus small projects.

the make you want to pull your hair out and just wish them over! anything you pull off–as a labor of love–is good enough. so we'll be scoping out the place on Thursday, insha'Allah. i need to look into more activities. we also need to discuss guest speakers: who & how... and what, as well!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

both beautiful & bitter

8/26/2002: 4 and 5 of 5
3+4. talk w/Shawn about sustainable development and Small is Beautiful: OK... Shawn and i spoke about a lot on the way to swearing-in in Dschang. development, of course. economic, social, educational, etc. interesting. a lot came up from Small is Beautiful. it's opened me up to more of an economic opinion on such topics... an economics with a human face! :)

basically both Shawn and i were for more efficient/effective development. cut the BS. if it doesn't work, get out. but don't give up. change the angle. here's my point: big-towns/big-schools (i.e. GTTCs) are inherently, for right now at least, inefficient & ineffective (let's not go there on why). let's get out. but not give up. how?

work with GTTCs from without... seminars/workshops/consultation w/admin. and, staying on the educational issue, put volunteers in the smaller towns/villages (w/villages meaning places like Enyoh/Weh/Befang, etc.) where teachers are needed and can be productive. not stifled.

but where is the CD or APCDs to hear all this? as for the latter, ours is chillin' up in the air-conditioned 4X4 and fancy hotels (out of reach and out of touch). the former... he promised to visit every PCV at every post. he got to Bamenda late... and, as Shawn put it, it's hard to get love with a bad road [i.e. the Wum road].

i'm bitter, yes. bitterly so. and growing angrier at the man by the incident. why so? don't know. projection, perhaps. i'm frustrated.

i've said my... PEACE.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

about our crowds

8/26/2002: 3 of 5
back and so fresh and so clean-clean! all right, na'eeman 'alaya [an old arab greeting for some who's just bathed, shaved, or gotten a haircut]. what's next on the list?

2. dinner with the young crowd (under 30)... din-din heir. Maggie, Greg, Alain and Kelly. we did pesto/pasta and garlic bread. interesting conversation. cool hanging out with a young, educated, opinionated cameroonian crowd. not that my other "crowds" don't do it for me.

Maggie and i joke about our crowds, they're a little different. mine isn't as classy! ;)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

about family

8/26/2002: 2 of 5
1. family phone calls and update: all right. family called yesterday and today. Rama 1st. spoke to her, Aboudi and Tala. all seems well. they're in Dubai! looking for schools. kids excited. Rama anxious but optimistic. Allah ya'eenha... [God help her]. OMZ called. he's all right. in his books. in the rap-thing, too. he's looking to pursue both. gotta love him! Allah yuwafiqah... [God grant him success].

mama called this morning. she's well. back in Damas. claims that Istanbul is the prettiest city on earth. has permission [from the security office] to renovate the new apartment she has in the city, not far from the foreign ministry. she's thinking about coming here again. why not?! Allah y'tawwil 3umrha... [God give her long life].

water is hot... gonna bathe! i'll be back...

i want to write about...

8/26/2002: 1 of 5
i want to write but i don't want to write. my head hurts. my eyes specifically. glasses seem to be hurting my head. prescription? also got a shot to my eye playing [basket]ball yesterday. not sure what's up?! anywho... i want to write about:
  1. family phone calls and update
  2. dinner with the young crowd (under 30)... PESTO!
  3. talk w/Shawn about sustainable development and
  4. Small is Beautiful
OK! i di come...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

call it a day

same day [as the last journal entry/blog post], the 23rd.

swearing in was fine... good to see PCTs, now PCVs! they were happy to see me, too. saw Mike and Todd off. kinda sad. also saw Mirabelle [my host-mother]. still not sure when she's coming to visit? puet-etre the 4th?

didn't make it back to Bamenda in time to catch the bank or Jum'aa [Friday prayer]. the CD spoke for way too long! in English and French. he said they wouldn't take Paul's IVP stuff this cycle. that really pissed me off!

he, the CD, is coming to visit us in the NW province. Sunday or Monday Wum, it sounds like. you know, i don't like the CD... i don't like my APCD... the SDO thinks i'm a spy...

but it didn't rain today and tucker's sheets and my clothes from last night are dry! take what you can get and call it a day... right? right.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

relief - release - soaking

early morning hours here at chez Tucker... you will not believe what happened at a 1/4 past midnight earlier this morning:

i woke up to an all too visceral sensation of relief and release. warmth, too. yup... i woke up peeing. on Tucker's spare mattress! sheets and all.

won-duh-ful won-das!

and it wasn't just a tinkle... not just shorts and PJ-soaking, but all down the leg and sheets and through the mattress to the other side!

O Lord... how we are tested.

i got up and changed. the sheet and my clothes are soaking [in soap & water]. waiting for Sarah F. and Tucker to wake up so i can wash the sheets. they're getting up right now, actually.

what to do with the mattress??? hmmm... i think some soaping & soaking on both sides will do.

... hot to explain this one?

and i've got 1/2 an hour to do all this b/c my APCD leaves for Dschang by 7am.

Friday, November 6, 2009

you're the PCV!

look, listen, speak and do... you pick the order, you're the PCV!

going to Dschang

"l'homme propose... Dieu dispose."
this [italicized] part of the saying is the windshield border sticker on the green [toyota] hilux that took us from Esu to Weh the other day.

i've made up my mind to get to Dschang for swearing in. to see Mike and Todd off [on their close of service or COS]. to congratulate the PCTs [peace corps trainees] on becoming PCVs [peace corps volunteers]. and to touch base with Mirabelle, who'll also be in Dschang.

i'll leave tomorrow. spend a night in Bamenda. WHERE? je ne se pas? catch a ride to Dschang with my APCD... and back. and then back to Wum, insha'Allah. i've got a meeting with Maggie on Saturday morning–no, at noon. all about EE. so i gotta be back by then.

filled out my project report today. tedious. reflective. got some ideas and a little guilt-ridden motivation out of it. HIV/AIDS and HCN [host-country national] cooperation... need to do more of both!