DISCLAIMER

DISCLAIMER
The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

February 2012


February 2012
Naw wei got into a fight this month. Terrifying…as the Liberians say ‘Dat no small fighting-o!’ The other dog tore through his ear, into his face and around his scrotum. I spent a week bandaging him up. Fights with other male dogs are rather common, but are usually not serious. Since then, I punish him any time I see him in a fight or try to start one. Just another stressor on my often already high-stress life. I have successfully taught him to ‘bust me’ or as you would call it, ‘pound it’. Mom also mailed him an engraved tag with his shot records printed on it, thanks mom.

I remember being on the plane… waiting to go to Liberia and meeting one volunteer at the airport who had already been in the country for a year, I noticed that his feet seemed to be stained brown. I honestly worried that this would be me in one year. Yet, every night I wash my feet…and then I step out of the tub. :)

Once upon a time…. ‘TIME!’ =is what the Liberians say to the storyteller to tell them that they are listening and eager to hear the story. There lived a wee little spider above Stephanie’s bedroom window. On impulse, Stephanie went to kill it straight away. But at the last moment decided….nah. It wasn’t hurting anyone. She’ll leave it be. And so one month went by, two months went by. The spider got bigger and bigger but that was okay. It stayed above the window all day and kept a good control on the number of flies in the house. And then one day, just like in Charlotte’s Web, it disappeared. Stephanie was surprised to admit that she missed the company of that little spider. She has yet to find a replacement fly killer that keeps to one area and is as sweet as the first. The End. :)

Our school, the Bong Mine Central High School (BMCHS) recently started a teacher’s association to support the teachers of the school. Some of them still do not have housing to live in, and many of them are not on government payroll or are not paid regularly. Officers were voted on, and I was nominated and won the position of Treasurer in a landslide vote. …I think this means they’re sure I’ll keep the money safe and not spend it on myself.  I’ll keep you updated on what tasks we take on as soon as a constitution and by-laws are established.

I also started the Bong Mine Central High School Health Club in Feb. After teaching health topics in Period 4, I asked for a list of  students interested in starting a health club. I got a great response and from the many names, drew 12 from a hat..erm, or plastic bag. We met for the first time and I explained to them that even though I was their acting advisor, this club was for them and I expected them to do most of the work. They would hold meeting, and vote on officers and write by-laws. Not all of these they have been able to do alone, as I learned that many of them are not familiar with how these clubs function. But they’ve stepped up to the plate and are running most of the show themselves (One step closer to sustainability!) We have students from the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade involved and an even number of girls to boys. The goals (as they have drafted them) are to raise awareness on health issues in the community and inform students as well as community members how to keep healthy through poster sheets, live action dramas, and workshops.

I also have two chickens! My fellow teacher and friend Sarah Jamison gave me my first rooster who I named McNugget. McNugget is a young fella, all white with a little brown on his back. I’ve wanted a chicken for some time now.
I somehow feel that you can’t be a PCV in Africa without keeping a chicken at least once. :)
McNugget was joined by Tater Tot a week later. Both roosters are doing fine together but I know they really want me to find them a woman. I’m working on it. I tied them to the porch of my house for the first three days after I got them. I fed them rice and water and untied them at night and put them inside. On the third day, I untie them and they leave….roam allllllllll over the area, eating bugs, grasses, seeds, rice and what have you until dusk comes. Then they come back to my house on their own and prance into the shop room where they hop up onto their little woven chicken baskets to sleep for the night. They just must take care to avoid the devious Chicken Rogue aka Hawk who will swoop down and carry any size chicken away. When the chicken rogue is near I know because the neighbors will yell ‘Chicken rogue, chicken rogue, chicken rogue!’ while they throw rocks or bust out the slingshots (respectively called ‘rogue guns’ here).

China Union is supposed to be responsible for doing many things now that they are taking over the iron ore mine previously operated by the Germans before the war. They are responsible for the renovation of my school (we’ll come to that later) and paving the road from Kakata to Bong Mines, taking over the German-built hospital, and running the mine. (I’ll give you one guess as to which one of these things they are actually doing real work on.) :/
Anyway, they started to roll all the bumps and ginormous craters out of the 19 mile road from my site to Kakata. My only road out of here. The road used to take one hour and forty five minutes to travel and rainy season…HA! Parts of that road were nothing but a mudslide…which is only fun if that’s why you’re on the road. Now you can travel the 19 miles in about one hour depending on the number of bitter ball sacks and oil stacked inside the car. The Chinese started to pave the road from the Bong Mine side. The Liberians were so happy! My students would come to me and say ‘Miss Stephanie, the coal tar is fine-o’. A paved road in Liberia is called coal tar, but when you say it in pigeon English is sounds like ‘co tar’. It didn’t take too long before ‘the co tar, it spoil!’ and the Liberians were ‘vexed’. I heard many comments along the lines of ‘cheap Chinese co tar’ and such. I wasn’t too surprised that this would happen, but was slightly surprised that the Chinese did tear it up and re-do their ‘mistake’. And so currently, as of May 16th, 2012 the road has no coal tar and is a rock-filled mess that takes at least one hour to drive. Eye, yah.

At the first PTA meeting (I know, right?) the parents and teachers brought up many topics; one was the empty space where we were supposed to have a computer teacher. He was around at the beginning of the year, and asked the PTA to pay him for his classes. For a multitude of reasons, money business mainly, they never made progress and he left; leaving twelve computers and no teacher. Who? Who will help BMCHS with this computer teacher business? Me, of course. :) Although on this, I did volunteer to teach computer to senior high (10th-12th grade). The PTA was so happy. They love free teachers….and now I have loooots of things to keep me busy.
Now all that remains is to find out which computers still work and can I take the viruses off of them?
Stay tuned, :) I’ll add ‘March, 2012’ later this week.

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