Monday, September 1, 2008

American Language Center summer photos

Some pictures from this summer. I don't have much to say and am listening to new music (well, new for me) that Lindsey sent over, so the first picture is me in the classroom working with students and using a mixture of french and english known as franglais. I think this class was pretty advanced, so I would always try to first use English (minus words like ain't, y'all, ain't'cha, what'cha...actually, this is pretty interesting, in the most advanced class I could speak at almost full speed and the kids would understand almost everything. Once they asked me if there were any regional words that I used, and I wrote some sentences on the board for them. I told them that earlier that day I'd turned to Adlai and said, "Man, it ain't nothing but hot out here." Adlai said back, "Yep, it ain't." We also talked about y'all and how it goes in a full, quick sentence: Whatayalldoin instead of What are you all doing? It was impossible for them to understand. Don't feel bad for them though. Their French is ridiculous. When I get a text it takes me about 20 minutes to even read it. Demain is 2main, Bonne soiree is BnSre, tout de suite is tout2s8, et toi is e3, etc etc etc) and if they couldn't understand English I'd switch to French which they wouldn't understand any better because of my French. This next picture is either of me standing up while everyone sang Happy Birthday, or I'm just standing up in the middle of a meeting for no reason. Throughout the summer, we had competitions with the kids. The picture here is of Adlai declaring the winners of the 3 legged race. The little kids had lower centers of gravity and destroyed the competition. Last week we had the Olympic Games to cap off the 4 week course. The events included stuff like sack race, another 3 legged race, water balloon toss, the cracker challenge (where you have to eat a bunch of crackers and then whistle), and the spoon egg race. It was hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, and it's one of the only days in the last fifteen months that's been strong enough to give me a sunburn. It was fun though, and the kids got into it and had a good time. At the beginning here I'm a little hesitant to get started. It was hot. The next picture is of a younger student in the sack race. We got huge 50k bags of rice and used them. The rice sack was almost too big for this little guy! Teaching this summer was a great experience and I really enjoyed being here in Ouaga. I'm headed back to village either tomorrow or the next day (I need to buy paint for the world map we're doing the last week of September and some lye for the soap the AME (Association des Meres d'Eleves I think is what it stands for - Mothers Association) is making, and my director hasn't been able to get ahold of a cassette tape he wants so I might try to find that too). I'll basically clean my house, make sure at least a few people in village still remember me, and then I'm off to Paris via Ouaga to meet up with my cousin Matt. I'm so excited about Paris that I haven't been able to hold off and've been choosing things off the menu that are way beyond my means. The other night I had a steak au poivre vert with a side of ratatouille, and yesterday Becca and I split a cote de veau cordon bleu (veal). Tonight I went a little more African and had petit pois - peas cooked in a tomato sauce and some type of meat or no meat at all. It's one of my favorite dishes here, and I never would have eaten peas back home. I found an Ivorian restaurant here in Ouaga that is wonderful, I want to learn how to make a few dishes before time is up here in Africa. Lately I 've been smart with my money in only one way: instead of buying Le Monde for 1600 francs, I'm waiting until I'm in Paris to buy the Parisian paper. Also, my cellphone doesn't work that well anymore. The company I use now, Celtel, is changing its name to, or has been bought out by, Zain, and I don't know if it's that or just my phone but it doesn't work that well right now. A Burkinabe told me the other day that the reseau est tres sature - the network is very saturated. So maybe it's the phone company. I saw on espn that the Horns squeaked by something like 52 - 10. I also saw that we aren't ranked in the top ten. What?? Mags, I think we picked some good poets to study for English class. When you said Roethke I thought of James Wright and his famous poem in a Roethke type of style that says: Therefore,/their sons grow suicidally beautiful/At the beginning of October,/And gallop terribly against each other's bodies. That made me look up college football this afternoon. Dickinson is for Grandma, Frost is to study dialogue and shaping, Mr. EE is because he is creative, Stevens is concrete imagery, and the other one that we picked was....? I forgot. Anyway I think we picked some good poets for you, even if they are a little too classic for me. Dad sent me two dozen pens and I bought some journals, and while I'm in Paris I'm going to look in the English bookstore for Quiet Days in Clichy and Against the Day, and then I think I'll be set for a long, long time. Thanks again for all of your packages, letters, and emails. I don't know if I've said this before, but when you go off by yourself to do something by yourself and to make something of yourself by yourself, it's nice not to be by yourself. All my best, Clay