Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I want exams to be over so I can stop failing people.

Hi Mom,

I’m guessing the jaw pain is stress related. Clenching, you know? You should do some yoga and/or meditation.

Hooray Opera! It can be my birthday and Christmas present, eh? :)

Do you spell Maya incorrectly on purpose? Are you trying to change her name? We have had water NONSTOP for two days. It’s obscene.

Also, I think the rainy season has officially made its debut. We’ve had some awesome rains both yesterday and today. Unfortunately, one of the major rains occurred during exams while the students were in the primary building (see the photo from the beginning of the blog) and so the students got soaked and moved and there was rampant cheating and LORDY me, it was loud.

Also related, though not as dramatic. Twice in the past day a frog has lept on my foot while walking. Both times I shouted, “Jesus!” thereby leading several people to the assumption that I have allowed Jesus into my heart. I’ve argued to the contrary, but they’re unconvinced.

Approximately one million of my students just failed their exams. Big time ugh.

Of the 6 million that did not fail, approximately 4 million of them cheated. Are exams always this hard?

I have 4 beers stored under my desk to be put in the fridge and consumed in extreme need (as drinking beer is moderately frowned upon) and I’ve put two in.

On the plus, the microscope project is fun. I wish I had discovered them earlier too. There are so many things that people/organizations have donated to the school  and/or village that are unused. I’m sure whoever provided the microscopes thought, “Wow! Those African kids are going to love these!” and that would be true if anyone actually put them to use, but, no. They’ve sat on a shelf gathering dust for who knows how long? As I said to Nicholas, without knowledge and inspiration to use them, they’re no more useful than a stack of wood. (Somehow from this statement he decided that I had said that without use they would turn into a stack of wood, so there was about 15 minutes of solid confusion following this comment.)

On Saturday Lemuel and Ernest (science teacher) will be coming over to learn about microscopes. They have never even seen a microscope before and, from what I can gather, don’t know what it is or is used for. They’re excited though. Everyone is. With some students we’ve been busily making “slides” with laminating paper and examining them. We have: 4 kinds of soil, 5 kinds of hair (Caucasian, African, fake, goat, cat), one ant, one squished spider, one spider exoskeleton, one butterfly wing, my blood, 2 flower petals and one leaf, spider web, onion skin. That might be all so far. I’m trying to fashion my student Naomi into being the expert. I want her to be a scientist because a. she’s got the right sort of thoughtful personality, b. she bombed her English exam, and c. this area is in desperate need of a good scientist. She ran down a goat to get the goat hair (it was hilarious, as you can imagine) and, don’t ask me how, but she’s the one who got the butterfly wing.

Also, can you please send me information about the basics of cell stuff and about anything interesting to note about the slides we’ve made so far?

Seriously though, the knowledge of science here sucks. Everyone teases me for “believing in science” and they largely suspect that scientists lie and that the true in science (as with everything) is only to be found in the Bible and tradition. Some things that make me crazy:

1.      1.  A student of mine, Christopher, who I generally like a lot (though he also bombed his English exam) lives in the boarding house. He broke his wrist (I think) playing football and it was HUGELY swollen. I asked him if he went to the doctor and he said, “No, it’s a fracture. I saw a twin.” Insert my confusion here. Apparently, in Ghana, twins (like, you know, people born from the same lady at the same time) are considered to be good at healing fractures by placing their hands on the injury or some such nonsense. Flabberghasted I recommended going to the doctor as well and was met with, “But, Madam, it’s our culture.” This was a week ago. He’s still swollen. Also, related to this, I said, “He needs ice” when I saw it, largely spoken to myself, and the students there said, “But, Madam, we’re in a village. There is no ice.” Which I know and is true and that’s why I didn’t actually say it with any intention, but that’s something I didn’t really even consider that we don’t have here.
2.No one here believes in evolution. There is a serious belief that the world was created in 6 days and that Adam and Eve were, in fact, the first two humans, fashioned from clay. Even the science teacher for senior high believes as much. I argued with him about evolution and said that I’d never met a scientist before who didn’t believe in evolution and we got into a bit of a shouting match. He’s still teaching the students nonsense. I’m still trying to get my way.

You know, it’s a good thing you’re my mom because any other sort of mom wouldn’t be so helpful when I ramble on in my hypochondriac ways. That said, I am pretty sure it’s not a problem to not have my period while I’m outside of the U.S., but WHY is it so? I eat enough here, I ate enough in Central America and still, BAM, no period, but immediately when I return to the U.S. it does too.

In other news, I’m studying French in preparation for BF. I’m wondering if it will be really rainy while I’m there and, if so, will a 3 day camel trip even be possible? We’ll see, I guess.

Well, I love you still.


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