Hmm this grant isn’t really done still. I’ve got most of the information typed up but now the big problem is finding fast enough internet to load and navigate the Microsoft Grants Manager Peace Corps Grants Portal. This is a dumb part of my job. A really cool part of my job is that I get to plan events like the Founzan Girls’ Disc Golf Tournament this year for International Women’s Day.
The FGDGT started as just a way to get girls to play on the disc golf course I recently finished building near my house in village. Whenever I go out there with Derek and my discs I seem to only attract boys, and not the sensitive ones either. Once I had to take a disc from a boy because he told some girls walking by that they couldn’t play (girls who didn’t even look like they wanted to play). Then, at each tee-pad I’d ask the boy again if (just in general) girls were allowed to play and he’d say no, and I’d say ok you can’t have your disc back for this hole either. I don’t think he got it. The problem though, I think, is that since I’m so used to females not approaching me on disc golf courses in America, I didn’t really notice at first what was going on here in Founzan. Now I see it though, and the FGDGT will be an opportunity for the girls in both of my 5e classes to learn and play a new sport, with food and drinks and prizes. I’m getting a lot of help from home on this one, in the form of donations and real disc golf trophies and some beautifully hand-made bracelets with words of empowerment on them for each participant. So I’m very excited and grateful this Girls’ Disc Golf Tournament is coming together the way it is.
Switching gears, turns out my neighbor Fatao has a younger, more annoying brother named Saiouba. Saiouba can’t be older than two years, so his brain is in a developmental stage where it’s full of rocks and thinks it can get whatever it wants. He and Fatao are a force together: Fatao unlocks my courtyard door with a stick and Saiouba comes in through the tear in my screen door that Derek made and fills his shirt with whatever is in my house that he wants, saying in local language, “I want [whatever is in my house he wants]”. This all transpires in front of me, so it’s not really stealing, and Saiouba can’t walk very fast with a shirt full of sweet potatoes, for example. So I’ll catch up to him and pick him up and shake him and he’ll cry and scream and thrash as I collect my eight or so sweet potatoes from the ground in front of all my laughing neighbors who are saying things like “Ha ha, Saiouba wants sweet potatoes”. He’s also been climbing onto the back of my bike lately, which means he’s been coming with me to play disc golf or drink dolo in the marche. Or, if I have to go to work or have a meeting with somebody, I have to bike over to his house and get his mother to peel him off the back of my bike while he cries and screams and thrashes. Lots of crying, screaming, and thrashing with that kid, if I’m honest. When I’m not home and he wants to hang out, he’ll just wait for me in the sand outside of my courtyard door, often falling asleep from a long day’s work of being a ridiculous and unreasonable two year old.
Teaching is hard. This part of the year is kind of the Wednesday of the education school year. We’re halfway done and everyone is getting ansty/can’t believe there’s still four months to go. Because of this, I’ve had some pretty rough classes lately. My 5eC class really knows how to get under my skin. I’ll turn from the board after writing a bunch in order to explain some mathematical idea (from my heart!) and notice that I’ve got a dozen students quietly chatting with their neighbor, a dozen students mindlessly copying what I’ve written on the board, maybe another dozen with their heads down, sleeping. It can get frustrating quickly when you know that your passing rate is just over 50%. You guys could totally solve for « x » and add fractions if you’d just open up your notebooks, shut your mouths, and lift your heads off the tables! Come on! What’s really hard is that I don’t think other teachers at the school deal with the same problems. If a kid is chatting they get thrown outside or if a kid has their head down the teacher marks two points off the next test. I’m too much of a softy, though, and my kids know it. I need to get mean, but how do you be mean to a bunch of cute African pre-teens who can’t understand how to solve for « x » or add fractions?? I’m definitely not a teacher.