Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Okay, here is Siobhan with our meal we had- mashed potatoes, gravy, candied carrots, stuffing, two turkeys, green bean casserole with mushrooms and home made onion rings on top, corn, creamed peas, cranberry sauce.
We also had appetizers- deviled eggs (you know you miss my signature dish), plantain chips (the closes thing we can get to actual chips, guacamole,and ranch with a veggie dish.
For dessert was: Pumpkin bread and pumkin pie. You can see the pie crust in the next picture, with our eggs we are boiling and our amazing stuffing. My favorite dish!
Here we have the girls of Thanksgiving. Laura came from the South west and Kate and Connie came across country for a collaboration project and stayed on for the food. As always we have lisa, siobhan and myself.
This is my counterpart for basic education. Her name is Bertha and she's such a fabulous lady. She's really motivated, English speaking, and I love seeing a woman in charge in such a chauvenist coultr
Friday, November 20, 2009
I was in charge of game, here's the apple bobbing!
Here we are hanging out at an sweet bar, with the nicest decor in town. You know that, because of this life sized picture of Averal Lavine
So here is when I locked myself out of my house and then proceeded to use every hanger and crow bar I coudl find. Thanks for the Help Siobhan
Here are Lisa and Evan for Christmas. Evan is dressed as an African Mamma.
Wow, I've been crazy busy. So I have created a CD of 59 songs to teach English and 10 tracks of pronunciation exercises. Then I have been selling them (not for profit but so I can get my money back from making them) to all of the francophone teachers of the East. The result is that the better part of the teachers of the East are listening to me sing "Bingo was his name o" and "I have a head...a head...on my head what can you see". Don't worry, if you want a cd I have plenty!
The other big project I have been working on is writing a book for these basic education teachers to help them better teach English. I finished the book a couple of weeks ago and I am in the process of editing it. I also wrote a grant to try and fund the printing of the book, but more to come with that!
The aformentioned things are all the office work stuff I've been up to, but I've also been out in the field as well. So far I have presented seminars at 6 different Journee Pedigogiques (essentially pedigogical conferences for teachers in the different regions of the east). I have been presenting information about how to use songs in lesson planning at the basic education conferences and this is where I give out my cd. At this point I have given the same presentation like 5 times and I've been solo a few times so its just me in a room full of teachers about twice my age, singing and doing some theatre exercises! Its been really fun but pretty demanding because we have had to travel a bit to get to all of the conferences. (more on this later) I have also presented at two conferences for the secondary education teachers. Here I was able to give a speech (in English don't overestimate me) to about 300 teachers and administrators. I was pretty proud of this because I was able to change the normal format of presenting papers, where the presenter just reads for liek 20-40 minutes and bores everyone to death. Instead I was talking about hte bilingualism game. Essentially its a new thing the ministry is trying to get everyone to do, where the last 5 minutes of their class they play a game related to their lesson in English. (since Cameroon is supposed to be bilingual). So of course, instead of just reading my boring paper I decided to play a game and give an example of the project. All the teachers loved it and came up to me after and seemed happy for the change from the normal procedures. I was also obliged to present during the English workshops where I discussed lesson planning and how to make lessons more student centered and interactive.
So as you can see my work is going really well, even if I'm a bit ready for the holidays. Coming up I have a girl's camp on Saturday where we will speak about health and making good choices and stuff. Then on the 1st of December I will be presenting at the national CAMELTA conference, this is essentially the English Teacher's Union. I've been asked to present two exposes on my own, so I've got a lot of work to do.
So enough with Work...where are your funny stories Elyse?
Well I definitely have a lot of those so I should put some here so you know its not all work and no play here.
1. I went to Abong Bong which is a village about 3 hours from Bertoua where we were going for a conference. The conference was for two days so I stayed at an Auberge with the other inspectors. I was given my own room. You have to understand that I'm the only woman that works at the higher level of inspectors and I'm a white chick so everyone treats me like I'm an idiot. I couldn't go to sleep because my colleagues kept tapping on my door and asking if I had soap, then toilet paper, then they came by to tell me to lock my door- as if I couldn't figure any of these things out. Then I try to go to sleep on the thinnest mattress in the world and you can feel every wood plank that is holding you up. So I decide to rearrange the wood planks so that they are in a less annoying spot. So I lift up the mattress and what do I find? About 40 used condoms on the floor under the bed! Ugg...well at least they were careful?
2. I was in NDiang a village about 1 hour from Bertoua, on Wednesday. Now when you go as an inspector everyone treats you to a meal and gets you drinks and are incredibly hospitable. I can't help wishing however, that their efforts resulted in me eating Famous Dave's Barbecue, or delicious sandwiches for lunch instead of what I get. So for our first break they give me a cold omelet that is 4 parts oil 1 part egg. And as I'm eating it I taste something slimy and can't figure it out, then I look down and realize there are sardines in my omelet. ugh! So for the next meal they open the lids to two pots with great gusto and I look in. First we have plantains mushed together in this sorta spongy side dish (I actually like this dish). Then there is obviously some type of meat in a tomato sauce. So I take a smaller helping to be polite and proceed to try and decide what the meat is. I finished my helping which is mostly fat, by stealthily feeding some to the cat by my feet. Then one of my colleagues asks what kind of meat it is to the lady of the house and she proceeds to say, "tu as goute quoi" "What did you taste?". Then we all laugh and say, no really what was it. And she says, you don't ask in village you just eat it. So obviously we ate some kind of bush meat, who knows what it was! I hope it wasn't dog!
3. So there is some phenomena right now where all of these praying mantises are decending on Bertoua, along with their friend Mr. Cricket. So my front yard is currently a corn field, because my landlord owns it and uses it for his field. So, having a corn field as a front yard sorta encourages these critters to gravitate to my house. I currently have a ridiculous number of them in my house, and its to the point where I'm killing so many I have to make a pile before sweeping them outside. Unfortunately, they are really big, so killing them makes quite a mess. Anyway, so I'm trying to sleep the other night and I keep hearing this crazy sound coming from my ceiling. Now, Siobhan has told about having mouse in her ceiling for a while and I really hope that isn't it. But after listening for a while because I can't sleep, I figure out that its one of those freaking mantises. There is a tile in my roof that has been removed because that's how you get up in the ceiling to rearrange the power lines. Well this piece of ceiling is right above my toilet. So after not being able to sleep I go into the bathroom to pee, and my friend in the ceiling decides to take this opportunity to dive bomb me. However, as he's coming down he decides to find somewhere to hide, and of course choices under my butt in the pot. SO I jump up because I've just been goosed by a huge green bug and I proceed to dance around my bathroom with my pants around my ankles, trying to kill him. Needless to say, I have recently swept out a large pile of these guys.
Well, I think that's probably enough for you to contemplate today. I miss you all and love you!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sorry about not updating more in depth, we still don’t have the internet at the case in Bertoua so I have to come to the internet café, where the keyboards suck and it takes about 9 years just to log on to email. Boo. Hopefully the situation will change soon because I am buying a new phone which I can use to access the internet from my computer. So what has happened so far with me this month? Good question.
I’ve been extremely busy here in Bertoua with my new job and with school starting. I must confess I find that I like my health, my happiness, and my overall contribution to peace corps a lot better now that I’m in Bertoua. I’m extremely busy and I am actually doing work that I think might be helpful. While I’m sad to be away from village, the fact that the mayor and a few people in town are still giving me a hard time even when I moved away, reminds me that village was not all sugarplums and lollipops. What do I miss? First off, I miss the fact that I had so much time for reading. I also miss the quietness and the community of Ndelele. I miss the forest too, I don’t much feel like going out of my house to run because there isn’t the same type of serenity in town. I also miss my students and the fact that they had a better rapport with me than they do here, simply because I had more teaching hours and I lived right next to them. But, there are somethings I don’t miss, like the horrible travel to get there. The lack of electricity and water (though Bertoua has its share of problems with water), and also the fact that a lot of undeserving people are in power and they abuse that power. I also don’t miss the fact that I didn’t feel very useful there.
On the upside, here in Bertoua I have been having a great time. First off, I moved into my new house last weekend. I’m so proud of myself, I pretty much moved all of my stuff by myself and everyone in my cartier now thinks I’m very strong. The first thing I set up was my kitchen, because with all the awesome food I have gotten in packages it just seemed like the most necessary thing to do. Unfortunaetly, Bertoua has these horrible red ants that are so small you can barely see them or feel them. Anyway, when they bite you its like fire and its pretty much the most horrible feeling ever. Unfortunaetly, they have already decided to live on my countertop that comes to my waste. So I am currently covered in these horrible bites around my waste. I have however, taken new precautions with my food and I have bought RAMBO which is their ant killing spray here. I hope to be free of the problem soon, if only for my mental health. I keep having bad dreams where ants cover me and eat me- very Indiana Jones of me.
The other room I have set up is my bedroom, and its awesome. I have a new bed and a bedside table, and now with the power I’m actually able to plug in my reading lights and my radio so I don’t have to go through so many batteries. I have found a bit of a problem trying to post anything on my walls though. Cinderblock walls have never corporated with nails or screws! So my mirror and all of my posters are looking quite sad in a pile on my floor. The other things I have done is put up all of my curtains, because with out them the people that are still building the house next to mine and my fence, can look right into my room! Not cool.
So I am very much loving my house and when I finally arrive back there every afternoon I feel like I have a bit of a haven, I can’t wait to pick up my new furniture and actually create a living room. One thing I do have to say is that I’m really enjoying the power because Siobhan got me into these workout videos. I work out like an hour a day and I always feel tons better afterwards!
I do want to tell you alittle bit of the work I’m doing in Bertoua right now. First off I teach 8 hours at the Lycee Technique de Bertoua. I teach 9th grade and 10th grade and every time I have a new class I find that I am greeted by more and more students. At this point my 9th grade class has left me about a two foot walkway to maneuver by the board in the front of the class. The students are a bit rowdy, but the faculty is very nice and the school is so big that they have many discipline masters to assist me. I have really been enjoying teaching thus far simply because the kids seem to really respond to my activities and my enthusiasm. In my 10th grade class I had to teach the national anthem in English because they had to sing it and it was such a fun exercise because really the anthem is quite beautiful and the kids sing it really well. They got me dancing and I even had a student act like he was doing the cymbals and make the noise when the band would.
A part from my teaching I am also working for MINESEC which is the ministry for secondary education. I normally go into their office and work on my computer creating didactic materials, sample lesson plans, and things. This week I went to a seminar and gave a presentation on activities to motivate students. Next week I will travel to a village and observe some classes, (thankfully my counterpart has his own car). I am also working with the Ministry of Basic Education. This is where I am doing most of my work right now. I have decided to create an instructional book for all primary students on how to teach English. A lot of the teachers don’t really speak English so this will be a great manual. I am also creating a cd to go with the book of songs and pronunciation in English. This project is proving to be very fun and incredibly exciting. So far my manual is about 75 pages and I haven’t even added 3 chapters. I also found that I can record with my computer and my microphone so I visited some elementary school classes and recorded the students singing, which was about the cutest thing in the world. I’ll have to upload some of the files, it will make your day.
Overall, I’ve been very busy battling the hierarchy as well as trying to be at three places at once. Its been a really good couple of weeks though and honestly I can’t wait for Siobhan to get home so that we can discuss our days over a glass of wine. Can you tell by my long entry that I have a lot to discuss? Anyhow, I hope you are all well and I love you all so much! Big hug and kiss.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Im working here in Bertoua and Ive been so busy I havent had time to write. Im also waiting for PC to put in free internet so I havent really been on. I have still yet to move into my new house but i think in about a weeks time ill be good. they did paint the interior walls a really fabulous shade or orange and then the guy told me i should like it because my skin matches. not sure what to do with that information
Last weekend I went to Batouri to do the camp with lisa that fell through a couple of weeks ago when we tried to do it. Thankfully this time we were able to coerce a bunch of students to come. I think the kids learned a lot and it was really successful. I think we planned really diverse excercises so that helped. I was also really happy to hang out with the Batouri clan, especially because Lisa made me her famous chili which is exceptional.
Any way I hope everyone is well and ill work on a more indepth blog later. love you
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I hope that you enjoyed my little photo blog. My vacation was really something else. Thank you so much to my parents, Grandma Betty Jo, Grandma and Grandpa Peragine! You guys really helped out a poor volunteer to have an amazing vacation. Thank you to Dave for putting me up for a week, to Jaime, Chad, Dave, and the two humongous cats for spooning so expertly in a queen bed! Thanks to Billy Elliott for teaching Tyler to dance, even if it is in the subway after a few glaces of wine.
So I thought I would make some comments about the photos:
First off, we have a picture of us lazing around Dave's house after we walked the better part of muesums and Brooklyn!
Second is me laying in the grass at the historical cemetary in Brooklyn (all Jaime's idea)
Third is Jaime and our new friend Ivy at a bbq at Daves house (who knew a vegetarian could cook meat so well)
Fourth, this is Dave sleeping, he slept until 12:30 one day! He was very tired.
Fifth, Jaime at the BBQ looking down home and country.
Sixth, Shot of the church at the historical cemetary. I enjoyed this because it had nice bathrooms and was air conditioned.
Seventh, Chad Ramsey sporting his chest as we are leaving. Evidentaly in America showing some chest is okay.
Eight, These are my terribly attractive parents, Who doesn't love this photo?
Ninth, This would be an immigrant slapping my bum.
Tenth, TYler dancing in the subway.
Eleventh, Eating Giloto( sp?) in Little Italy.
Twelfth, Hanging out in the NBA store. One of these things is not like the other...
Thirteenth, tyler with crazy sideburns. This made me laugh a lot
Fourteenth, me in one of my favorite places, hanging out with pastries
Fifteenth, Ethan and ty in little italy
Sixteenth, Ethan eating mac adn cheese in a restaurant that only serves mac and cheese! Tyler's heaven.
Seventeenth, Dad and I in the disney store.
Eighteenth, Mom and tyler doing their Circ de soleil auditions.
Nineteenth, Wow America loves technology!
Twentieth, Me checking out a well sculpted statue!
So there are a lot of photo's there adn Chad and Jaime posted some great ones on facebook. The vacation was great and I think the memories will last me the next nine months. I have a tons of work to do this next year and I'm really excited to start. I'm not sure when I'll next get to blog but just know I'm working hard to help out some peopel in the east, because the lord knows I have been away from my peeps too long. I love you all and I will miss you, embracing the coming fall for me because that's my favorite time of year!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The family is all sleeping right now because they are on West coast time and I am on Africa time so I went to the gym and took a shower and now i'm posting this for all you lovely people. Enjoy the insanity!
In the Douala Airport, wow Africa! Doesnt it look like Adventure land in Disneyland!
Did someone order some New York with a side of Hot and Crusty. Here I am in NY next to a pizza place!
First Grapes in a year! I'm eating them in Time Square, is there a better place for Produce?
Here is a Tussey Family Gem!
I dont think tyler knew he was getting video. Don tworry all the ones of the family are coming soon, i thought i'd just show you some of my antics first!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Brussels: I am currently in Belgium and I have a couple of thoughts to share with you, obviously these observations will be solely of the people I have seen and met in the airport. First off, everyone is white here except the people that got off my plane from Africa and then conveniently disappeared. It’s really startling to leave Africa and see so many white people in one place. I know this sounds crazy but it is a really exciting development to not be a minority. Secondly, no one speaks English here, they all talk like the muppet’s scientist guy..not beeker he just beeped, but the Swiss guy. Anyway Dutch is the weirdest language ever and it cracks me up (its Dutch right, not Belgish). Also, everyone and their mom are still speaking French! What do they think they live next to France and they should just keep speaking that language! Lame! Anyway, I am only here for 3 hours before I fly again. The plan was to eat Pizza Hut Express (yes I know it is 7 am). Of course this was thwarted when they told me they don’t serve pizza yet, anyway It would be weird to be in Europe and not get some local foods. So I bought some chocolate bars- if you are nice I’ll share! I also bought one of those fabulous premade sandwiches in a triangle box. After about 10 minutes of deliberation I went with the Chicken and Bacon on 7 grain wheat.
May I take a paragraph to write about not eating wheat bread for a year (hahah some boys just walked by speaking Dutch- they sound insane someone should lock them up!). Anyway, I love sandwiches, they are my favorite food. They are versatile. They can be hot, cold, dry, saucy. And, my, all of the choices of bread! Don’t get me started on how I was born in the wrong time and should have married the Earl of Sandwich. Anyway, this sandwich is currently amazing. The bread is all grainy with little nuts in it and the chicken is not scary at all, and I didn’t have to witness the death of the bird. Of course the bacon isn’t really crispy (Crazy Europeans someone should teach them right) It’s more like meaty ham, but it is still making my palate super happy. The only issue is that the food on the plane was also amazing! (yeah I said it). First off I had really bad free red wine (I was trying to sleep). Then I had “Bœuf” in some brown sauce which was delicious with mashed potatoes and oniony green beans. Then there was the side salad with chunks of fancy cheese and a hold your breath! 1 Pepperchini! Holy moley, I missed those little guys. Needless to say my stomach is already confused as to what I will be doing to it for the next two weeks. Hang in there buddy we’ve got some eating to do. I plan on arming myself with many medicaments when I get to the states, which is in T-minus 10 hours!
Other updates include: I am the most annoying partner on a plane. I had to sit in the middle aisle in the middle seat where I proceeded to move every two minutes so the people next to me couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t like I timed it but I’ll tell you what, I figured out every position needed to alternately make your limbs fall asleep. I’ll write a manual: Yoga in your airplane seat: How to deny others the sleep you crave.
Anyway, obviously you can see I’m super happy and ready to head out. I’ll be boarding in like an hour so now that my sandwich is done I think I’ll take a look at one of those chocolate bars (I also bought gummy bears and fancy Dutch gum). Hold on tight for the next update, it might be called something like “The Reunion of the Century” or “Frantic hugging turns into impormtu leg wrestling tournament”
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
This was written on the back of our West Wing DVD that is distributed by the Chinese. You can a whole season here for two dollars. I think you can agree that this might be a third translation.
Won the Nobel Prize in Economics successful candidate of the Democratic Party Butler entered the White House int eh election played an important role in a number of aides, in charge of the White House office.
President of the Oval Office while the Chief of the centre, but the day-to-day operation of the White House is entirely located in the west side of the White House Office of Administration busy. Rio grand chief of staff- drama, a former alcoholics, it is now the cornerstone of the entire West Wing office, but he ultimately jeopardize the hard work of marriage. Quian Jie is awesome spokesman for the White House every day and the media carried out clever deal, resolving or conceal a pile of press crisis, but never gained the upper hand with her character has made the pursuit of those between Danny relations become quite delicate. Talent full Toby director of Department of Public Information- Ziegler has a bad temper, the president's speech all speech can not be separated from his Miao T Health spent. Young Sam, deputy director of the Department of Public Informaion- Xibaen the capacity to deal with unexpected events class. some dirty, deputy director fo the staff from the public enterprises against political opponents, it is very smart and capable.
All important policies, the birth of the Bill, rejected or adopted, how to combat political opponents one by one, how the federal courts, the national emblem, the Senate expanded the influence of the White House, how for the next presidential elections that paved the way before, and how intervention impact on the other side of the world of international disputes, all of which the White House on this story on several major staff in the West Wing office started slowly big screen.
So, I guess I needed to be reminded how awesome this vacation is going to be because this morning was quite the harrowing experience. My friend forgot her computer cord in Yaounde so I went to send it to her by using the buses we take to get to Bertoua. These buses are a bit out of the city and it takes 30 minutes to get there. So I get up early and grab a bean sandwich and then head out to the routiere. The first car I get in already has 6 people in it and I'm smashed in the front with a very large man who evidently has restless leg syndrome. He keeps asking me to move my arm or my hip, though there's no where to really move them and he keeps giggling like a girl. Then after about 5 minutes of this fun ride my cab driver looks all panicky and pulls over. He tells me I have to get out, so I do, assuming he wants me to try and smooch in the back. So I get out of the car, almost falling down because I can't feel my leg that the large man was sitting on. And the driver yells, "take another cab the police are ahead." (in French). So they aren't supposed to have that many people in the car so I get the boot. Now I'm on a busy round a bout and have to walk a ways until I find another cab that's willing to take me.
So I get in this cab and go with out incident for about 20 minutes and as we get near, as is my habit, I tell the driver that I want them to take me to Orient (the name of the bus service). He starts laughing and saying I should have told him earlier and that he was going toleave me at the round about at the start of the section of all of the routieres. He keeps telling me I'm going to have to faire le sport! Thanks dude. The thing is, I love walking and I don't mind having to get out and traverse the route, but this is one of the most annoyingly intense areas in Yaounde because all of the guys that work for the cars will literally grab you and drag you to their agency so you will take their car. (they get paid money by the drivers if they fill the car). Anyway, I argue with the guy a while but I end up having to get out. I have to walk for about 8 minutes but its hell. I've got guys calling me all sorts of names, I've got creepy dudes touching my arms and I"m ignoring them all because if you react they are like sharks smelling blood and they all come toward you and encircle you.
So I finally get to Orient and thankfully the guys know me there so they protect me and fight off the creepy dudes that are trying to touch me. After sending my package I go back to the road to catch a taxi back into town. I again get accosted by the guys I don't know and then some of the baggage people at Orient start getting in a fight over me. I guess that's nice but I really can't take it at 7:30 in the morning. So then they grab me a cab and I get in. This is by far one of the funniest cabs ever. I get in and the dashboard looks like a carnival. The 'leather' seats are flaking off on my skin. The driver is playing Makosa music (traditional western Cameroonian music). His rear view mirror has a medallion of Marie and Jesus and a tassel is hanging off of it. Then he has little Chinese flags about three of them, tacked into the roof with little tassels hanging off of them. A fluffy Easter bunny about the size of a small baby is sitting on the passenger side dashboard and on the driver's side there is a blue towel with Winnie the Pooh on it. In the air conditioning vents (that don't work) there are heart shaped lollipops stuck in. As I am admiring his decor the other passengers alight and I am left in there with the driver.
He asks me to come sit in the front (which I refuse) and then he switches the channel to 'My heart will go on" by Celine Dion (who they love here) and asks me if I will marry him. At this point I have been in his cab for about 3 minutes. Wow. We pick up some more passengers and a guy gets in and looks at me and says something very excitedly. After about 5 tries I realize he is just yelling "Kentucky Fried Chicken". To which I say what about it. And he says that he's been to American and he loves it. Wow!
Anyway, it was quite an adventure and it would be a good time in Cameroon if someone hadn't have stolen my phone while I was walking to Orient. I looked in my bag and it wasn't there, and I knew it was because I had just checked my credit. So now I don't have a phone but I think I can still get the same number, so we'll see what we can do. At least I've had that phone for more than a year, which is a bit difficult in this country!
Well it is now 4 day until I get to see the fam and though this mornign was a bit of a challenge, I"m super happy!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
So the first picture was a sign posted in a small van that I was traveling in, I thought it was good advice. Next is an adorable baby in the van who was sucking on a mango! Then I was in another car where there were ducks in the trunk and it was very odd making noise the whole trip, later the family ate him for dinner. The next picture was taken after I climbed a mountain in Koumbo in the North west. It's insanely beautiful there, very green! The picture in the house is with my friend Kate, look how pink her house is! She did not ask for this Cameroonians just wanted to paint her house pink I guess. Hope you enjoy the pictures.