Friday, November 20, 2009

Sharing some Pictures

Okay here is the Halloween Crew

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.

Catching up

Wow I guess its been a little long since I've written. Sorry about that, but I became super busy, which is good for Cameroon and for me, but not for my blogging. I'd like to catch you up so I'll try to summarized the last few months in an interesting way.

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!