lørdag 15. november 2008

Kokebok og måpefjes

Wednesday morning, 12. November, and it's my first day at CEG, the secondary school where I'll be working. Fortunately Øyvin and I will have the same grade, 5th grade, so it'll be easier to prepare together. We've already prepared what to do and look forward to the first lessons, starting with English club for the teachers as er were told to days before. Evelyn , the principals secretary, meets us when we get there. I'm going to have 5th grade and Øyvin 4th grade. No, this is not the same grade. Apparently are these kind of changes completely normal, at least it doesn't seem like she's aware of the changes being done. We then ask how it'll be when i go to Mahajanga in December, when i won't be able to teach my class. Not a problem at all, she tells us, because they've found a great solution: Øyvin's going to have my class and another teacher will have his. Huh? Easy solution! ;)
We separate and are taken to our class rooms. The teaching is BEFORE the teacher's English club. I enter the class room and excited eyes are looking my way to see me, the new vazaha-teacher. «Good morning, teacher», 52 voices greeting me, everyone now standing. «Good morning, pupils» is my answer back, feeling my heart beat a bit faster that before. I walk towards my desk while Evelyn tells them to sit down again. Which I forgot to tell them. She shows me the book where I'm going to write down who's missing and what we've been doing during the classes and then leaves me alone with these 52 children, between 11 and 15 years old. I read all the names on my list, the Malagasy names, which are not very easy to pronouns, and they are all laughing. I imagine that we're having a good time! At least I am.

It's time to start teaching and I find my book and try to communicate that we're going to use the book and if they have brought them. All of them are staring back at me, with a typical «måpefjes» (a kind of lost-look), as I would say in Norwegian, and it doesn't seem like they've laid eyes on the English book before this day. Then three boys run out of the class room to get them, apparently the books are kept in the library. I open my bag to take out my Malagasy copy book to have some easy phrases in front of me. It would just have been a bit easier if the book didn't say «kokebok for Ingrid» (cooking book). Oh yes, I had brought the wrong book. My body turn colder as I realize that I only have the Malagasy words I remember, which are not so many. As many of you might know, reading, practicing and remembering vocabulary is not one of my strengths. I pray that it'll work out OK anyway.
The books have arrived in the class room and I start by asking them what the bird is doing? No response, they don't understand a single word I'm saying.

This whole situation is starting to get a bit ridiculous. I don't understand what they're saying and they don't understand what I'm saying. I try one more time. «What is this?» pointing at the bird, «Inona ity?». «Vorona!» loud and clear from everyone. At least I learn a new word, one that I've written down and should know but don't. I write on the black board «a bird – vorona» and we're starting. «The bird thinks», «The bird flies» and something as difficult as «The bird drinks water from the pot». The surprising part is actually that it's the youngest pupils who actually understand the most and are most eager to answer. My confidence is getting better when at least some of them understand. I learn some more Malagasy words, they spell them for me when I write on the board and they copy and hopefully learn some English words as well.

It's 08:53 and it's closing up to the break. They're now finished with their work and until it's 08:55 and the break starts, we've been able to communicate that the class is over and that they can go. I'm exhausted.

torsdag 6. november 2008


Ok, long time no see (or written). I'm still bad at updating!

Short list of news:
We baught animals: one duck each (two dead, two left), one chicken, one cat and one rabbit. I'm the lucky owner of one of the two surviving ducks, Jakob, and a rabbit, Peter (in eng, Petter in norwegain).
We've visited all of our working places.
We've started working.
We've been teaching the board of FKTLM (youth department of the lutheran church here) about leadership.

Working places:
Behororika, a center for young women and teeage girls who want to be housmaids etc. We will teach them basic hygiene, some dishes and some handcraft.
Faravohitra, an institution for under age girls who's done som minor crimes or who are just being punished by their parents for doing something wrong. Doesn't sound very nice to me. I feel sorry for them but it's probably better than going to jail anyway.
ILOFAV, a women's centre where women learn how to cook, some english and computer skills, handcraft, etc. Øyvin and i will start working there after Christmas
CBN (Club de la Bonne Novelle). This organization works with sone institutions for under aged boys who have done some minor crime, drug addicts, etc.
Akama, a school for deaf children and teenagers.

We've also gotten a new friend these past days: Preben, the «ett-åring», here in Mada this year. He stayed for dinner and also joined thte English club with the Bible stydy in the evening. It was really nice! Unfortunately he's going to work quite far away from here but we all hope we'll get to see more of eachother during these 5 months we have left.

So yesterday was my first workingday for real. English Club is also work, but still a bit different. Anyway, we were all at Akama, the deaf school. While Øyvin and Jens Jørund had sports with the oldest students Arnhild and I were with the youngest. We made paper cards (you fold and cut paper, glue it to another paper and fold it like a card. Then when you open it it's like a face with a mouth. Very fun!;) ). This was a great success and the children are so lovley! We had three different classes, one hour in each group.. The fact that we didn't have to worry about our malagacy skills was also quite good. Though the reason why in it self is bad.
But we had a really great time and I'm really looking forward to next thursday when we're working there again. It's a pity we're only working there once a week.

After eating some wierd, and quite bad malagacy food (no offence, but it was some kind of mashed leafs, cooked. And rice, of course. And some meat. The leafs were not very good, and they were the main dish) we went back home to Sab-Nam. At 17.30 we were let in to the living room to have our presentation about leadership and youth in Norway. This presentation was supposed to last for quite a while and how to teach about leadership without really any experience? This was a dilemma for me. But we did well all of us, talking in english with Daniel translating everything. It was really touching that these people, the board of the FKTLM wanted us to teach them about leadership, aks us for advices and help.
After the presentation, at the end of the meeting, it suddenly became a huge foto session with us «vazaha»s. My smily-muscels were quite exhausted afterwards and acctually hurt a bit. But it's nice to be appriciated so much. The malagacy people are so nice.

I realize more and more that I really like it here. Of course things are different, but mostly in a good way. There's so much joy and eager to learn from these people. They work so hard and are always smiling and cheerful. They are a blessing for the world and I'm really happy that I've got the opportunity the get to know some of them. Thank you, Lord.