Saturday, December 1, 2012

hodge podge

November 17, 2012

So first I want to say that I'm sorry I go back and forth between current blog posts and typing up past journal entries.  I haven't been able to type up my written journal entries for a while now.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to, and hopefully you'll still be able to understand the timeline.  But for now, happy reading.

So I am just taking a break typing up the end of the term exams, and I thought I would blog a little (even though I’m really tired of typing).  So the Form 3’s having already started taking their end of term exams.  Their tests need to be taken and graded by December 10.  On December 10, we register the Form 3’s to take the BECE which is the entrance exam into High School (basically).  So, the students’ overall scores on these end of term exams qualifies (or doesn’t qualify) them to register.  If they can’t register for the BECE, they can’t go to High School and they have to repeat Form 3 of Junior High.  (Hope I haven’t confused you yet)  So you can imagine how ridiculously nervous some of the students are.  And you can imagine how nervous I was when they were taking the math exam.  Gah.  It was ridiculous.  And I was even more nervous when I began to grade them.  I wanted all of them to do well (obviously).  And I know you’re not supposed to have favorite students or anything, but…I do.  Oops.  So as I was grading my favorite students’ exams I was practically pooping my pants.  A qualifying grade is 45% (I know, right? ).  One of my fav’s got an 83%!!! I was so stoked!!  Another got a 64%!  And another one got a 42%.  I almost started crying.  Ugh.  I felt horrible.  That student is so ambitious and tries really hard.  But it’s possible that in combination with his other exam scores, he could still qualify.  I definitely have my fingers crossed.  I learned that night that teaching is a difficult job.  It’s exhausting.  And sometimes breaks my heart.  But I guess that means I care, so in essence, I suppose it’s a good thing.  I dunno, still sucks when students don’t pass.  But I will try to look at the positive side of it.

So lights are slowly but surely coming!!!  They are still working on it, and I am getting to anxious!  I wrote more about this in my journal, so for now, I won’t mention much.  I’ll just copy that info down before I post this blog.  But I did want to mention something else concerning the lights.  On our way into town today, Roger pointed out a few houses to me on the left side of the road.  He told us that while our whole village was getting lights, these houses would not.  Ummm…what?  Why not?  He told me a while ago, people came to that area to install the lights.  And apparently the workers signed off on it saying the houses got lights before they actually did.  The “leader” of that community also signed off on it.  And after all the signing was done, the document was taken to the district assembly.  So, the person in charge at the district assembly saw that this community had gotten lights and he didn’t have to worry about it anymore.  When the people in the area complained, the person at the district assembly said he had documents saying they had lights, and he wasn’t going to do anything.  Ugh.  How stupid.  I asked Roger if someone could just come out and inspect the place and see that they actually don’t have lights.  But nobody probably will.  So I really really really want to do something about this.  Especially while the people are still here working on it all.  The only difficult part is that I’m leaving next week for Kumasi/Accra for Peace Corps related business.  And I’m not sure if the workers will still be here.  But if I can’t do something before I leave on my trip, I’m going to try to do something about it when I get back.  It’s just stupid.  Especially when your neighbors across the street have lights, and you are stuck in darkness.  It just doesn’t make sense.

I know I mentioned before that I wanted to have someone come to the school to give health talks and what not.  I’ve done some more research with that.  I have met with 2 nurses and a guy who works in the lab and asked if they would be willing to help me set up talks around the community.  What I would love to do is set up a presentation of some sort and educate people about HIV/AIDS, nutrition, handwashing, etc.  I have seen projectors around town, so doing a PowerPoint would work perfectly!  Peace Corps also has a committee that focuses on educating people about HIV/AIDS.  This committee has videos that can be shown to anyone and everyone.  So I think having movie nights or something similar would be great too.  And with our community getting lights, I can do the same at the school!!  I have talked to a few volunteers, and they have given me health curriculums that they have used in schools and within their communities.  It’s great material!  I am excited to get started with this.  It’ll sadly have to wait until school is out, because right now, I am just way too busy with all these exams and what not.

I met with the Assembly Man a while ago just to sit and chat with him.  As we were chatting, he asked me if (after harvesting) I would want to meet with a group of women and just chat with them.  He said they could teach me how to make soap.  I thought that sounded wonderful!  I would meet more people and learn a new skill! =)  I told him about making moringa soap.  Moringa is a leaf that is filled with vitamins and nutrients (I don’t know much else about it, so I won’t go into more detail).  I also told him about Neem cream.  Ghana is covered in Neem trees.  And there is a way to use the products on the Neem tree to make what Peace Corps calls Neem cream.  This cream is actually a mosquito repellant.  I don’t really know any facts or statistics on it as of now, but you just put it on like a lotion, and it helps keep mosquitoes away.  I would love to teach the women how to make this.  Not only to help prevent malaria, but also so they can make it and sell it and earn an extra bit of money.  It’s a win win.  So that’s another thing I’m excited about doing.

Care packages!!  Let’s just say, these make my life.  I picked up 3 yesterday.  There was one from my mom.  Inside was a letter, pictures, and two puzzle/game books!  The pictures were of Emma’s birthday and her broken arm.  The puzzles were Sudoku and fast paced brain game things.  I loved it!  I just love getting updates from back home.  And I also love puzzles.  Gotta keep my brain in good shape!  I got another one from Katrina.  Oh my gosh.  I absolutely loved it.  It was filled with so many great things!  A bunch of individual Pringles containers, fruit snacks, soap, magazines, CDs, letters galore, jokes, MadLibs, games, etc.  It was beyond great.  I loved getting little snippets of her new life and seeing the things that reminded her of me.  My cheeks definitely hurt from smiling so much after opening it.  The last one was from my dad.  I knew of at least one thing in this package.  A digital camera!!  Oh, I was stoked.  I opened the box and found so many other goodies!  Cheez its, club crackers, chicken in a biskit, ritz, wheat thins, triscuits, cookies, reese’s cereal, shells and cheese, and Pringles!  And lo and behold, inside the Pringles can, at the very bottom, was a (wrapped up) digital camera!!!!!!  What a beautiful site!  I took it out, put the batteries in and started taking pictures.  I took pictures of all the goodies from all the care packages, so I will add those to this blog entry for you to see!  I am so excited about all the things I got.  I was in such a great mood.  Just having those small pieces of home and knowing everyone still supports me is wonderful.  I miss everyone like crazy, but it’s like I’m getting a little piece of them here.  And I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being willing to pay the ridiculous amount of postage.  YOU ARE ALL AMAZING.  Seriously. 

So I really want to write more about the care packages and everything else, but I am really tired of typing right now.  After a break, maybe I’ll type some more.  Maybe by then I’ll have lights in my house!  Ah!  I am beyond stoked for that.  You have no idea.  It’s gonna rock.  Anywho, I’ll stop updating your ears off.  I love everyone so much and know that everything you do is much appreciated!  Love love love!

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