30 September 2008

jour ferie

30 September 2008

Today is the end of Ramadan and therefore a “jour ferie.” I really need to find out when the rest of them are so that I can plan my school schedule.
I’ve been working a lot on my lesson plan for the life skills class I’m teaching at the lycee. There’s just so much to cover. I’m having a hard time fitting it all in, especially with only 55 minute sessions. I really want to cover everything: role models to AIDS prevention to business skills to gardening. I’ve made 3 rough drafts for lesson plans up to December and I’m still adjusting to fit things in.
On Sunday afternoon I spoke with the people of a local church, I focused on telling them about the AVEC (Associations Villageoises d’Epargne et de Credit) program. There were 28 people at the meeting, the pastor served as my interpreter as Da E was in Lome. He took on the idea quite quickly – even changing the name from Associations Villageoises d’Epargne et de Credit to Associations Chretiennes d’Epargne et de Credit. Based on my limited experience, I think Mission Tove would benefit a lot from this program, but I want to make sure to do activities that suit the locally-defined needs.
Some people were more interested in forming a groupement to farm together than doing AVEC. I said I could definitely help with this as well especially with formulating a revelant action plan. A woman asked if I could teach how to conserve vegetables –particularly tomatoes and ademe. I promised to look into it. (Maybe I should think about sun-dried tomatoes? probably easier than canning. Plus... yummy!)

Yesterday I had my first Ewe lesson with the sister of my landlord. She’s been so nice and generous and already informally teaching me Ewe – even loaning me these amazing elementary school Ewe readers that must be decades old. So I decided to take her on as a teacher with pay. The hour was a good chance to practice pronunciation – we worked through 15 pages of one of the readers.
She was really nervous and seemed worried that I would get made if she wasn’t doing a “good job”. When I gave her the mille francs for the hour, she was overcome with emotion and told me she is a widow who still supports four children. I didn’t really know what to say, but I’m so glad that I decided to use her as a teacher. Now I need to find a French tutor.

I opened an account at the local IDH on Monday as well – it’s 2.500F to open, 5.000 for part sociale and fees of 50F per month just for having the account. It didn’t feel very safe to have a bunch of money hanging around in my house, so I’m glad to have put it somewhere secure yet accessible.

On Monday afternoon at the Syncoutat (syndicat des couturieres – trade association of tailors) meeting, I led the apprentices in a game where they divide into teams and try to make as long a line as possible using only what they have on them. They weren’t terribly creative, just linking hands and using fabric to hold between them. One boy is handicapped and initially participated, but then dropped out fairly quickly when I pushed the teams to stretch further. Another girl replaced him. I will have to be careful to do activities that he can participate in more often than the more physical ones. He can walk, but has a severe limp – no running games! :)
We decided to do an Income-Generating Activity formation next week. A project with turning black plastic bags into other things. So that means I need to actually find that fabled project and instructions, practice it and be ready to teach it by Monday. Yikes.

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