Monday, October 22, 2012
August was supposed to be a happy month filled with fruity drinks, sandy beaches, sea turtles, old slave trade forts, and national parks....and then Air Nigeria had to go and **** everything up. They grounded flights and I lost my ticket. Solution? Visit America instead.
I had a 22 hour layover in Accra though and got to hang out with some PCVs there and they took me around and I tried some local food and shopped around for fabric. Accra is far more developed than Monrovia is. They have a Holiday Inn, a shell gas station, and a mall....with a movie theater. I'm rather jealous. The taxis are nice and not falling apart, you get the whole seat to yourself and the people are much more used to seeing a lot of foreigners. We also saw a funeral procession that was taking place down the middle of the road. Ghanians spend a lot of money on funerals, they are quite a big deal there. When I told my friend Becca RPCV from Ghana and Liberia about how impressed I was with Accra (I do realize that upcountry Ghana is not that well developed) she said, “I know. When I was leaving Liberia and driving from the capitol to the airport, the taxi car was smoking a lot and caught fire once.” Crazy how close these two countries are but how far behind Liberia is due to the war.
Airplane food tasted like heaven...whatever that tastes like. I giggled in the JFK airport while using the vending machine, and rode the escalator twice. I ate so much cheese and other fatty American foods that my GI tract was very mad at me. I saw my parents, sister, friends, and old co-workers and bosses. I threw rocks into Lake Superior, enjoyed the Minnesota state fair, bar hopped nearly every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and ultimately had a blast. But I missed my dog …. a lot. I did buy him lots of yummy treats and toys for when I got back though. I also bought a dog crate to carry him back home in. That made it back to Liberia. I'm still surprised by that. I got stuck in JFK airport on my flight back. Deja vu? And sleeping in the JFK airport the second time around is ten times less fun since I didn't have my fellow PCVs from LR-2 to keep me company. By the time I landed, I hadn't showered in three days and was still wearing my original clothes (because they checked my spare clothes bag). Also in that bag was my toothbrush and deodorant. I was very happy to get it back finally in Liberia. After a hot shower (my last for awhile) I got a ride back to Bong Mines from the amazing and incredibly kind Craig. My new roommate, LR-3's Rachel Riti, had been watching over and taking amazing care of my dog, cat, and turtles. I can't thank her enough...but I think the bags of Cheetos and chocolate helped.
Naw wei was beyond happy to see me and never left me from his sight for at least the first five days I was back. He had been stressed by my unexplained departure and was very skinny (his ribs were clearly showing) and he had been acting out of character and picking lots of fights with other dogs. Monkey got big! Rachel fed her well. And because I'd left for the states just as Rachel was moving in with her own puppy, Otis, we never all settled in together. That was week one and two of my return. Me, Rachel, Naw wei, Otis, Monkey, and turtles.
School started (late) like I predicted it would again this year. I'm teaching 9th grade General Science, 10th grade Biology, 11th grade Biology, and 10th, 11th, and 12th Computer Class this year. In addition, I also asked to be 11th grade class sponsor. Basically this means I represent them, fill their report cards, and carry their complaints to administration. I'm very close with my 11th grade. They were my 10th grade last year and we all survived summer chemistry together. I know them all quite well and want to help them reach 12th grade. I also don't want them to have to deal with another dysfunctional classroom situation as was the case with Chemistry last year. Although, the chemistry issue has been fixed. Rachel is teaching chemistry to the 10th and 11th sometimes to 12th and General Science to 8th. We are the science power PCVs or as one Liberian man said to Rachel “Chemistry! You must be a medical doctor.” So pretty much everyone thinks we're the smarties.
My 11th grade class and I are excited to to the World Map Project this year on one of the outside walls of the school. We'll be painting a map of the world that is about 3m by 6m and this way, students will be more likely to learn geography and remember it. I can't tell you how many seventh graders could not point to Africa on a map. Also, the 11th graders and I need something to do for my last year. This is a fun and educational experience. After a few months, we will finally get to the painting process and before then I'll have to go buy paint. I estimate the project to cost less than $70 USD including brushes and paint. If you're interested in helping out with this cost small, let me know. I'll keep you updated on the map's progress.
And DONE! Blog is updated and current!....for like maybe the first time ever. ENJOY, and don't forget to read Early June where I remind you to send goodies :)