I have made it through the first week of school…alive. The teaching part is not hard; it’s the monotony of living and working in the same place and being around the same people all the time that is going to drive me nuts. (Perhaps I should note that I’m in a bit of a cranky mood as I write this post and that, had you asked me earlier in the week, I might not have had the same take.)
I don’t think I’m the only one in this proverbial boat. Each day after school is over, one of the other ladies is busy trying to make off-campus plans. We’ve journeyed to the grocery store and to eat out just to get off the compound.
I feel like it’s taken almost this whole month for me to take off the training wheels. Finally, I went to the market by myself. When I told my mom that I went outside the compound gate by myself, she had a minor conniption fit. However, it was time. I need to be able to venture out. To prove to myself that I am really living here. These people are not to be feared, but to be mingled with and educated by. I used my solitary journey to bring the picture I promised to the man who grinds cassava leaves. I also bought bananas, potatoes, and onions. Thankfully, Miatta, my house help, had given me a little mini-lesson on how much I should expect to pay.
The main stress this week was water. There’s a leak somewhere on campus, and all the water they bring in to fill the tower drains out within a day or two. Every other day, Adisa texts me to inform me of the lack of water; she has become the consistent bearer of bad news.
It is the rainy season, so it is uber-ironic that, with water falling all around me, I can’t get it in my own room. Therefore, I donned my swimsuit and took my shower products outside one morning before school. The water was a bit chilly, but it beat the option of trying to take a bucket bath in my shower, which is the size of a phone booth.
Ed told the school board about our woes with leaky pipes and unreliable internet connectivity. The board members have promised quick solutions. One member sent his crew out to look into the possibility of cleaning up our well and putting a pump in it to supply the apartments and school with a more reliable source of H20. Another member sent an internet supplier out to check our routers. Here’s to hoping the results come quick!
Other things to note about this week:
• I ate sushi on Thursday night with Adisa, Aminu, Ed, and Elisa (Ed’s girlfriend who just arrived on Wednesday night). The Living Room is a restaurant located in the lobby of the Royal Hotel. It’s a bit sketchy to eat seafood here in Liberia; many of the waters are polluted. So, I stuck to shrimp tempura and California rolls. The chicken stir-fry looked good, too. All-in-all, not a bad dinner. Afterwards, we rolled over to Dona Maria for some more macaroon cookies.
• The yard behind the apartments has been cut…by men with machetes. Of course there are no lawn movers in Africa; it’d be too expensive to import them or to buy the diesel.
• After one whole week of school, I have 11 kids, with one more confirmed to arrive on Sept. 12.
• I began a kid-friendly blog site at http://AnAmericanTeacherInLiberia.blogspot.com
• I got back into the routine of cooking my dinner. This week’s menu included Ritz cracker chicken, beef stroganoff, and some delicious marinated chicken (garlic and butter) from Exclusive supermarket
• Albert, Aminu, Linda and I went to Groovies on Friday night. Albert spent the night pointing out the three other white women who showed up --one of whom I had already met last week (Kate). A group of young girls wearing matching shirts that said “Girls Guard” got loud and rowdy. They were definitely in the spirit of “I am woman. Hear me roar.” They were in town for a women’s symposium where President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson spoke. One of the girls gave me an election pamphlet about the initiatives the president has taken and plans to take if reelected.
• Saturday night, Albert, Linda, Adisa, and I revisited Tides for the 2nd open mic night. Albert played one of my favorite songs, “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee. Mr. Music gave Adisa and I several shout-outs. I must remember not to order the Bourbon-ade again. It was too sour!