Friday, October 3, 2008

No more teachers, no more books...wait a second

School is done! I just have tests next week and then hand back the tests and I'm home-free for the year for the most part. I played a game with my students. It was just basic trivia of geography and English practice and I divided them into groups - stole the idea from my roommate. I made them each come up with names for their groups and they were quite creative. Superman. Batman. Underwear. Akon. G-Unit. Rice. Eggs. And my own personal creation for a team that couldn't think of one - I don't know. The game was going very well despite the kids not knowing basic facts - like what is the capital of South Africa or successfully managing to name the 10 provinces of Mozambique. It got out of hand a few times. They were supposed to write down the answers in their groups and then run up to me to hand them over to read. The winners would get candy. It became an all-out scrap. One boy got his shirt ripped. When they all ran up to hand me the sheets, they'd thrust them in my face and literally take my hand and place their papers in it. Imagine having 15 students surrounding you, pushing each other. I feared for my life. And laughed a lot. So when it got too out of hand with some classes, I did what any sane teacher would do. I erased all their names off the board, wrote myself as the winner and took a piece of candy, ripped it open and popped it in my mouth, declaring it to be delicious and savory. And then I left.

I was walking to visit friends today and a man was walking behind me. I said my usual 'bom dia' and kept walking at my speedy American pace. Well, he took that as a sign to continue the conversation. He asked what I knew in Macua and I told him I knew how to say 'I'm not your wife.' So what does the intelligent young man say? 'You don't want to marry a Mozambican?' I told him that I don't want to marry anyone right now. So he said 'I would really like to see the United States.' Haha! Smooth. So he was basically saying marrying an American was only for traveling and living in the United States. Be still, my heart.

I let a girl take a test this morning because she missed it. She showed me the evidence of hospital receipts and then I let her take a seat and do the test. Well, she couldn't think of some of the words and asked me for help. I told her she just needed to translate them. I went back in the house and was standing at the kitchen window to see a couple of seventh-grade girls smuggling in an english book for her to look up the words! Obviously, I went out and confiscated it. Seriously? I gave another girl a falta vermelha for sassing me in class. I told her she had a bad attitude. When I told her to leave, she just moved to another spot, thinking I wouldn't remember her. I told her 'I wasn't born yesterday and I'm not stupid. But you are if you think I don't know who you are.' So she got up and a painstaking swagger, laughing and chatting with her friends on the way out. She even gave me the grand finale of a sarcastic sneer walking out. I got the last sarcastic sneer though when I borrowed a red pen to write down her number. That's the worst discipline you can give a student. She deserved it for being disrespectful but I doubt she really cares. I can guarantee you that she wouldn't behave that way for a Mozambican teacher.

But...I have now been in Mozambique for one year! Holla! It's been a lesson thus far and I'm sure I'll just keep learning new things - good and bad - for the next 14 months.

Hope all's well with everyone! Enjoy the apple orchards and fall weather! It's getting hotter here. I am starting to sit in one place now. In front of my fan.