10.30.2005

How many days in the weeki? Seven Days.

First week back after vacation. Very hard. My adult class is going to be a struggle for me for this last month, I can tell. There's about 30 in the class. Most come pretty regularly, making you think they really want to learn English, and most of them actually have decent language skills, but they don't do JACK in class. You ask questions, they don't say anything. Lots of blank stares. I thought I might have been teaching above them, but afterwards it seems like they mostly understand. They just refuse to participate. Looks like it will be an hour of me desperately and hoarsely explaining boring things like grammar and vocabulary. There's no curriculum for the class so it's pretty up in the air. The best part about the class though, is seeing my students around town. Dula "works at a music shop" as he puts it. Really, he sells bootlegged music and DVDs from a shanty in town. Every time I pass its "Kemi!! How are you!?" In this funny high-pitched, nasal, sounds like he's high voice. They all seem to have that voice when they talk to us. I wonder if that's how they think we sound.

My two nursery classes are a bit better than my adult class. I walked into my morning class on monday- these are the 5 year olds, the smarter of my two classes, and was mauled with affection. I had been gone for a week and they missed me so much!! Mariam, my favorite jumped up into my arms, wrapped her legs around me and would NOT let go for a good 5 minutes. I love these kids. I love them!! They are so well-behaved most of the time and they actually learn! This week we've been going over words that start with letters A, B, and D. and they remember them! They come up with their own!! They are getting better at writing, and they almost understand the concept of numbers! Besides the fact that they can't tell the different between 13 and 14 (when they count to 15 they just say "fo-teen, fo-teen, fifiteen") they are wonderful. I'll miss all of them (except for maybe Rehema- that little pill!).

My second nursery class is a bit of a headache. It's right after break time- 10:30 to 12:30, so right during the mid-morning lull. You've been up since 6 so you're tired and it's almost lunchtime, so you're hungry. It doesn't help that the kids are rowdy and rarely listen. Some of them are actually pretty good, most go through waves. One day they'll be the star of the class, the next close to handicapped. Cristina, who at first showed great promise to be one of my smartest, suddenly can't seem to do anything but roll on her chair and giggle. On the other side, I really thought that both Augustino and Sumina would have to be moved to the disable class they wer so slow. Then suddenly this week they're so bright! Sumina faded by the end of the week, but Augustino has his shapes and colors down pat, and has perfect manners! My least favorite in this class is by far Rama (Rama Hassani, not Rama Nuru. Rama Nurus is ugly, but he at least tries). Rama is a bully, first of all, hitting kids when he's upset that he doesn't know. When we go around in turns to answer questions, he just gives me this raised eyebrow "what, you think you can make me?" look. And then he goes into time-out. Needless to say, he spends a lot of time in time-out. But still, if you get hime coloring, he's a pleasant kid, or at least shuts up for a while.

The best part of the day is song time. I've learned several totally awesome Swahili songs (complete with dance moves) and plenty mediocre pre-school songs, most of which the kids can't understand anyway. I taught all the kids, and teachers, popcorn popping on the apricot tree and its a hit. Other favorites: Frogs that go Shalalalala (the kid's favorite by far), Wind the bobbin up (a random song that I'm pretty sure is about sewing), If you're happy and you know it, I'm a little teapot (lots of hip action in this one), and Joni Joni (the most OBNOXIOUS SONG EVER. I refuse to sing it more than twice a week. It makes me sick just to think of it.) The three Swahili songs I know are: Mauwa Mazuri (good flower), Twainama (bow down), and Karuka (jump). It's a good time. Lots of giggling, and their voices are so dang cute!

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