Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bertoua living the high life

Greetings Family and Friends,
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 cafĂ©, 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


Hello Everyone
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