Sunday, November 2, 2014

Proud, Loud and Women Power

Women Power
Dutifully taught the English and vocabulary lessons to prepare the kids for their usual Friday prep tests - as well as a non-teacher could. The kids blow me away, insisting that I tell them if the word is "continuous present" or "past tense". I am not sure if they detect the beads of stress sweat that trickle down my back as I battle flashbacks of Phonics classes from yesteryear. Didn't like it then - like it even less now. But the kids, intensely clutching their shrinking pencils and hovering over their notebooks want their answers. I tell them how smart they are -- and that even kids who speak English as a first language would find the lesson challenging. They respond with a collective smirk.

After an hour and a half we took a vocabulary break in which the kids could ask about any words they wanted to learn the meaning of, and or how to spell. The list came fast and furious - aMAZing (they love this word and enthusiastically offered up synonyms -- fantastico? incredible? goodi?) and intimidating. The discussion about intimidating lead to discussing bullying (all tenses of course). They used both words in sentences until I begged for mercy.

Some of the kids speak so softly I can barely hear them. I am constantly urging them to speak louder. Today I switched to say "speak prouder". I reminded them that God gave them a voice - and to use it. I shared with them that when my girls were little we used to start our day by raising our arms in a cheer of "women power", which prompted Phillipo to ask "what about the men power?" I explained that most men already know they have power and girls have it too, but sometimes it's a secret until they learn how to use it. Cheering helps remind them that they have it too -- and to use it!

Took a few moments out of their busy day to share a Canada book with them that illustrated some of the animals we had talked about -- polar bears, beavers, moose and Canada geese. They are intrigued by an animal who can chop trees down with its teeth, "Will it kill me Teacher?" "Do you eat them?"

Oliver walked me over to her new house that is tucked in a laneway behind Good Hope. She was clearly proud of her new home with the indoor toilet and shower but complained that the chickens kept eating the seeds in her garden so -- no garden!

Later in the afternoon they had to show me that they were using their new found vocabulary. One of the boys had a girl in a playful headlock. "Teacher, she was bullying me with her women power."
"Teacher, he was trying to intimidate me."
"Teacher, you are an AMAZING teacher."
"No I'm not"
"No, but you try hard" "Yes, Teacher, you try your bestest"  *smile*

Gill and I took the dala dala to the town centre for coffee at the Kilimanjaro Coffee House, They say Moshi is small and it was proven today; I ran into our house mate Tanya sitting outside the Naka Mat grocery store. While I was still gushing over that, Jill walked out! I made all the introductions and I couldn't help but be reminded just how similar life in this town can be to the life in a small town I grew up in. Familiar faces every day.

Dinner was an eclectic mix of samosas, oranges, nuts and cookies -- and wine. We shared it all with our house mates as we sat under the stars, being cooled by the evening breeze.

And I couldn't help but wonder how it is I could find myself in such a wondrous place. Life is wondrous indeed.

Some of the kids in class A

Joyce sewing in the shop

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