Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stressed Out

Oh, where to begin with this week?! We'll go in chronological order. Thursday morning I fired our empregada, Lucrecia. She had just gotten too comfortable and we suspected her of stealing a few things. She didn't even deny anything but accepted the pay I gave her for a third of the month, said thank you and walked out the door. It was actually a startlingly easy firing. The bad part about having fired her is that now I need to find someone to take care of the dog while I'm home over christmas. That is not an easy task to find someone you can trust enough to give the keys to your house or to ensure that they are going to do the job correctly.

That same day, I had to give my second exam of the trimester to students. I made three students cry when I gave them a zero for cheating. They are just absolutely ridiculous. I don't know why, but before, I used to have pity for them. That's why I let them use their notebooks. I've grown tired of that now and am giving them a lesson from the school of hard knocks. If you don't study, you don't pass. It's as simple as that. The students don't see why cheating is bad. They think talking during tests is okay and that sitting on your notebook to conceal it is standard as well. I wore the dark sunglasses but it didn't help that much. When you are one side of the room, the other side is cheating and vice versa. The hardest part is that any kind of study habits you try to teach the students is undone by Mozambican teachers because they permit cheating and will likely just raise the grades anyway to let the students pass. It frustrates me to no end. The system just seems to be going through the motions, without educating a single child properly. It's something I'll never get used to.

Just yesterday, I was about to leave our house when one of the winners of our FBLM (Future Business Leaders of Mozambique) competition came to speak with me. He and his partner had a plan to build a lunchonette close to the chapa stop in our town. There had originally been three people in the group. The girl rarely came to meetings and when she did, she just sat there and said nothing. After the group won, we found out she wasn't in the right grade to participate and she was only in the group because she was Felix's girlfriend, a member of the group. So, we kicked her out. Well, the other member left in the two person group came to me and told me that Felix had used some of the money we had distributed to them to start a business ($1,000) and gave 3,000 meticais ($120) to his girlfriend. He also used some of the money to start his own little reed bar where he just sells cabanga - homemade booze. He did all of this, careless of what his partner thought. His partner (the one who came to me) wanted to stick with the plan. So I went to the bar and told him that he needed to correct what he had done wrong and how it wasn't fair to his friend to be doing this to him. I also told him that money from FBLM is not for starting a bar so that men can get drunk and go home and beat their wives and children. I was so angry that I had to just walk away from him but I think I succeeded in making him feel bad. I never thought he'd turn out to be such a little punk. It's really disheartening that someone would do that with money that was supposed to help them lead a successful life - not destroy a friendship and become corrupt. They're both coming to our house tomorrow for some kind of mediation over this problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I finally figured out how to respond to your blog. Better late then never. Erin, I love reading how you are doing. Cant wait to see you at xmas. Julie