Thursday, June 24, 2004

Three little boys stopped by this morning, wanting the birds’ nests from our trees. After realizing what they wanted, Matt obliged. We watched as a small ten-year-old boy climbed the small evergreen tree and retrieved two nests, one with five tiny eggs. To be nice, Matt offered the three boys the three bananas left from dinner last night. The boy looked at him, at the bananas, and at him again, and said that the bananas had gone bad. Matt was a bit indignant that the boys said his bananas were bad, as they still looked perfectly fine to us. The boy seemed a bit indignant that Matt had offered him bad bananas.

The students in my class (3 year-olds through 5th grade) generally begin to arrive 20-30 minutes before class starts. Today at 1:30, I followed Jordi up the stairs, peeved that my last 30 minutes of preparation had just been taken. Soon Yoshua’s round smiling face found it’s way into the room and the two were content to look at books, which is the activity that I strongly encourage early-comers to engage in.

As the students enter the classroom, their clothes always find a way to amuse me. My favorite today was four-year-old Bella’s costume—a black leather skirt and a red halter-top. Albert was wearing a Tom and Jerry shirt until his mom striped him down to his underwear in the middle of my classroom and changed his clothes. Many days the t-shirts will have “English” phrases, like “I like to football.”

For some reason, people here don’t consider the heat a factor. The building where these classes are held has windows on all of the outside walls of the second floor, thus giving it a green house effect that our small ac units struggle, unsuccessfully, to fight. Sometimes I step outside to cool off. Luckily, the heat has only induced vomiting in one child.

We were told in an e-mail that we received today that we are in stage two of culture shock. I had said the same thing to Matt a few days ago. In the first stage of culture shock, everything is new and wonderful. In the second stage, all is dreadful. You walk around wondering how people could live like this and how you are going to deal with living like this. You start to salivate over a glorified shadow of the culture you left behind and wonder why you left. Soon we should level out to stage three: acceptance.

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