Monday, August 23, 2010

the mosque project


went to ukpwa with mama this morning. sun is definitely getting hotter. the dry season may be on its way after all. but the rainy season is going out with a bang! for sure. roof has even started to leak again. but i digress...

was saying we were out in ukpwa. short visit. small is beautiful. and it was. we saw the mosque. mama liked it. sat down with Alhadji Bira [Ukpwa's elder] and the gang. Ali spoke about how the mosque project went. Mu'aath translated. Alhadji thanked mama. Mu'aath translated.

mama spoke about educating the women in the community, development coming from within in the next generation, and about documenting their people's history - the Fulbe. she'd asked about their origins. that of the people right there in ukpwa or this part of cameroon, at least.

Alhadji said something poignant. that in all the years since the Lake Nyos disaster and with all the people and organizations who've come to help, none of them have ever done anything for their community's faith. until mama. and they won't forget that. or her.

i was touched. as i'm sure she was. mama spoke fine [pidgin's expression for eloquent]. Alhadji spoke fine. Mu'aath translated.

Friday, August 20, 2010

oh what a staff meeting!


Questions on Sustainability Article: Year 3
Newsweek - September 2, 2002, p. 39-41
  1. What is sustainable development?
  2. What are the two (2) deadliest environmental problems?
  3. According to the article, what is truly needed to solve our environmental problems?
...right. well, I never asked my students the 3 questions above. they were dismissed early. surprise, surprise. we had a staff meeting. and oh what a staff meeting! they keep getting better every time.

we didn't start too late. more-or-less on time, actually. good turn out. the VP stayed in his office and only left 1/2 way through. after the hard rain that kept us from hearing everything clearly subsided. we laughed in the meeting... we laughed to keep from crying.

Menget went off at the DS. who asked a stupid question about why Menget criticized people's presentations at the seminar. he should've known better. Menget blew his lid! then came Kum. who decided he'd comment on the Teacher's Day he didn't even attend.

as soon as Mr. Nshu and i began to object, Kum went off. you know how Kum can be... we (GTTC teachers), principals (including Auntie) and even the DO got "thrashed." we just laughed... at both Menget and Kum, and the DS and Auntie.

funniest thing is that while all of us were either busy laughing or trying to shut them up and sit them down, there was Mr. Muzih writing away – quite seriously – at the minutes! trying hard to keep up with the violent pace of the meeting. can't wait to hear those minutes read next month. i'll be the first to move to accept them. WHAT A RIOT!

anyway... i attempted to say something about the students always leaving before my afternoon classes. how teachers really need to come to class and lean on the students to stay through 3pm. Auntie interpreted that in her own way, of course. she told the SG never to leave before 3:05pm.

as if Mme. Nkwain could/should babysit 3 classes with no other teachers/staff around! just like a people in positions of authority here–cut you short and give an immediate answer, even when your grievance may not have immediate answers. "next!"

so i sat down without even finishing my comment. what's the use?... a year ago, i'm not sure what i would've done. don't think i could've stayed. grinned and bore it. now, i laugh. on vas faire comment? there's just a few months left.

but i'm not that fatalistic or disenchanted. just picking my battles. honestly, i think about what it is i can do. what problem i may be able to address and how i could address it. small and subtle. insha'Allah.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

what not to cry over

also 10/6/2002:
mama and i have been going for a short walk in the morning. 25-30 mins, instead of my runs. compromise on cardio for a nice walk and talk. both good for the heart.

today we broached the topic of grief. mama asked if i cried. i replied "that's my business." stupid and inconsiderate of me, yes. but the convo went on. mama is bigger than that.

i apologized later in the afternoon, but she wasn't offended. she explained her point, grief needs to be released. crying does that. else it's like sitting on a time-bomb (as Malidoma Somé suggests in The Healing Wisdom of Africa). she also gave some family examples of death and pent-up grief.

then she spoke about men crying over their women, and vice versa. relationships falter and, indeed, crumble. if your partner wants to leave, then check yourself. if it's you and you can/should change, do so. if it's not, then let her or him go. move on. you're better off without them. don't shed any tears.

mama ended all this by saying that it seemed to her that men now aren't like the men she knew. her father and mine. not that they were more manly b/c they didn't cry... but b/c of what they didn't cry over. Allah y'hdeena! [may God guide/grant us].

teaching lows


Scientific Method
Year 3 AppSci

Objectives: By lesson end, students will be able to...
  1. State the 5 steps of the scientific method
  2. Formulate an example study that follows the scientific method
  3. Evaluate the importance of the scientific method to scientific authority and our understanding of the world (this is vague?!)


Biotic Interactions and Relationships
Year 2 EE

Objectives: by lesson end, students will be able to...


...right. well, these 2 lessons didn't exactly go well. can't say they flopped, but they were less than stellar. to say the least! esp. the scientific method. need to work on that before 3B [the other half of Year 3] on Wed.

the Year 2 lesson above wasn't too bad. we had a good discussion. increasingly so in that class. could've streamlined the process. blackboard work, in particular. i want to move away from simply writing notes up there, but still... an organized blackboard = organized notebooks. and they need help on that, esp. with less dictation.

on my part, i need help on time management. entered both classes late. left late (no teachers around!). it's probably – no, for certain – a product of poor planning. need to outline the lesson "in advance..."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

waiting... at council hall

this journal is being bent out of shape. carrying it in my lumbar-pack between the nalgene bottle and my [rolled-up] raincoat is the problem. insha'Allah the rain will cease (or Ramadan will come) before this my journal falls apart.

mama and i made an attempt at participating in Int'l Teacher's Day. sparse march. long wait at the Council Hall. too long. Mayor no dey [pidgin, for not there/present]. DO no dey. SDO no dey. "God dey" one alhadji put it when thanking mama for her support of the upkwa masjid.

back to the Council Hall. only our students and primary school staff were there. as an aside, i spoke with Hamza's teacher. we're on the same page. Mr. Nshu was there. he and i spoke about lack of student motivation. no priority on education. needing someone to talk to them.

we even developed a debate topic around the idea. so as we'd address such issues in an informed manner, la prochaine fois [next time]. unfortunately, i did not stay. mama lost patience. rain was coming. hunger, too. but when you wait that long and leave, is it worth it?

part of me just wants to sit tight. leaving makes the wait you waited a wait in vain, doesn't it? staying, no matter how long (hmmm???), and seeing what you came/waited for somehow justifies the wait. or have i just been here for too long?

la ya3dam as-sabour al-dhafar – wa-in taala bihee az-zamaan
[success will not elude the patient – even if it takes its time] -Imam Ali

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the ride up


"Breeding Grounds" July 8, 2002 Newsweek ...good article on bushmeat/SIV/HIV.

back in Wum. short journey from Yaoundé to Bamenda yesterday. stopped a bit in Bamenda. safe journey to Wum. bad road. good car. John Fru Ndi's truck, to be exact. well, his wife's. Alhadji in Bamenda hooked that up. it cost a pretty penny, but was worth it.

mama enjoyed the ride up. impressed by how green things are now. i forgot she hadn't seen it like this. the contrast between dry and rainy season. this is probably a good time of year to visit. glad to have her here. still an exercise in patience, understanding and respect. that's good for me. she does so much. God bless her.

just need to carve out my own time for work. i'm sure days will become busy. it's almost 11pm now. didn't accomplish much today. Maggie did eat dinner with us, though. she had a good convo with mama. her and i also talked about family and friends.

tomorrow is Teacher's Day. not much planned. people couldn't meet on account of a ban because of October 1st. which passed without incident. mama and i will buy meat tomorrow. then i'll check out the [teacher's day] program.

here's a thought connected to what i just wrote in my peace & freedom journal... here's to saying all that we know, doing all that we say and, of course, thinking about all of that before we say and do.

Monday, August 2, 2010

we don't judge

also 10/1/2002:
mama said hello to a few people around the office. met the CD. spoke for while. about politics, of course. America. here. Mideast. i think mama pushed the "we don't judge people" and "we treat everyone equally" tip a little much.

two interesting points:

1st... we're back to worrying about volunteers in Muslim areas as attacks on Iraq may be imminent. i don't see that, at least not here. one never knows though. just look at the Ivory Coast. who would've thought?!

2nd... the CD's mother-in-law is coming to visit, and she's of Lebanese-Syrian origin. not been back since the war. he wants her to meet mama. for lunch, in yaounde, on sunday 10/20/2002. small world.

mama and i ate Indian today. at Taj Mahal. all right food. they didn't have but can make sweets, ras malai and gulab jamun. yum!

OK. tired. need sleep. we'll see how tomorrow goes. we leave for Bamenda by car on Thursday. may need to call Paul and Maggie, to assess the Bamenda-Wum road. then call Alhadji to arrange a ride with him.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

provincial ecology...


10/1/2002: EE To Do

Provincial Ecology: by next meeting in Jan/Feb
(NW/W and SW/L Provinces with Eli)
-Ecological zones
-Flora & Fauna
-National Parks
-Conservation issues
-Cash Crops

GLOBE letter: by 10/2/2002
-testimonial to my [educ.] APCD
-ask agro APCD about teacher packets
-BBC Focus on Africa July/Aug/Sept, with Eli

EE Photos: also 10/2/2002
-Christmas Card (Mt. Oku)
-"On the Street" article with Tara
-Koko resources, copy for List and me
-EE mission on CD?

...things moved much smoother/faster today with EE. the notes above have to dos for our next meeting and for tomorrow. gonna get to a few of the items in the office early AM tomorrow, insha'Allah.