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Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 25 First Day of School

I’ve officially made it through Day 1 of school. All in all, I’d say it was a successful day, but it can’t really serveas an indicator of things to come because only 7 of my 17 kids were in attendance. Supposedly, the rest will trickle in during next week and the beginning of September as they return from summer vacations abroad.

Today, the kids that were there represented Canada, Zambia, Lebanon, Brazil, and Sweden. I asked each, in honor of Flag Day, to design a flag to represent himself or herself. One of the 2nd graders particularly impressed me as he described his flag to the class. He explained that the green represented the color of grass and growth; the red was for the blood shed for Africa, the orange was for the minerals of Zambia, and the black stood for the black men. He also drew an eagle to show leadership. Wow! How eloquent and reflective for a 7 year old!

The Swedish boy hardly knows a lick of English. I asked his mother to write a few phrases down for me, which was extremely helpful. I spent the whole reading time asking him, “Vad är det?” (What is this?) He’d tell me the word in Swedish, and I’d tell him the word in English. We labeled the objects in the classroom with both languages and practiced.

The challenge, I foresee, in teaching these kids is that, though they are only in one of two grades, they are all at different levels. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

After school, Adisa and I traveled to the Cape Hotel for a change of pace. We needed a meal and an internet connection from somewhere other than the Royal Hotel. The Cape is another expat hotel, but it’s in Mamba Point. It’s located on the beach and surrounded by palm trees. I wonder if guests there get the wrong impression of Monrovia, thinking it’s a beautiful vacation spot instead of what it really is. How surprised are they when they walk not 5 minutes away and see chickens, dogs, and naked babies wondering the filthy streets?

Dinner was excellent. For the first time since I’ve arrived, I found a place that cooks excellent American food. I had a pork chop, rice, and vegetables. For dessert, I had a layered chocolate cake that tasted very much like tiramisu. Finally, I felt full and satiated!

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