01 April 2009

This is not an April Fool’s

I ate a handful of termites yesterday. Salted and grilled. Mmm crunchy.
Actually not as crunchy as I’d expected. I sat for a good ten minutes contemplating the bugs in my hand, trying to work up the nerve to pop them in my mouth like all the other teachers were doing – with relish and gourmet suggestions for improving the spice mixture.

As the end of the second trimester of classes, yesterday was a journée culturelle: the students perpared dances, songs, and skits. And one of the professors decided to make it ‘educational’ and get a group of students to do an exposé about why education is important and what’s going wrong – why girls drop out to have babies, etc.
The Inspector for the region came by for the party. It’s been interesting to see the teachers’ reactions to him. Most teachers have not been paid since the beginning of the school year. There was a small strike about a month ago and all of my professor friends are complaining about not having enough money for food. It’s really distressing. The Inspector has come by to inspect (duh) the school and ensure that it is a quality institution. Hopefully passing an inspection might speed up the process of actually getting pay checks?

In any case, the teachers ate very well today. In between the dances and skits and the final soccer match in the afternoon, there was a ‘pique-nique’ scheduled. So all the classes brought along various foods. Every time a student walked into the school with a basket on her arm (it was the girls who did all the cooking obviously), the teachers called her over and demanded a toll – they had to give one full bowl of food to the teachers. We ate tons. Judging by the towers of food left after the pique-nique, none of the students went hungry either. In fact, I kind of pity the soccer players trying to play a match after stuffing their bellies. Ouch!

In addition to the soccer game, a bunch of other games were set up around the grounds – table tennis, basketball (on a sandy court?!), and an interesting traditional game which involves rolling nuts across the ground to knock out the nuts of the other team. Surprisingly mesmerizing.


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