Friday, 12 October 2012

As Taylor Swift would say...


Hatutakuwa pamoja kamwe. Or...

We are Never ever Getting Back Together.

Okay, I really just translated that just for fun. And, yes, I have that song currently on repeat in my house. I love overplayed American pop music when I'm aboard because I havne't yet heard Katy Perry, JBiebs, Sean Paul or Rihanna enough to be sick on them. Because I'm the only gosh darn people around for miles and miles playing them endlessly.

You want another one? Okay:

Call Me Maybe - Nipigie labda.
Boyfriend - Mchumba
Where have you been? - Ulienda wapi?
She Doesn't Mind - (Binti) Hajali.

I think this is what happens when you've run out of thisngs to translate in your head...

Well, I guess it's time to get to the actual post. And it's quite long. Enjoy!

So, like usual here, it took longer than expected to select our students but we’ve done it now and today I actually came home after our first practice.  Goodness, I could not be happier.  It was so rewarding to see their smiling faces and the bounce in their step afterwards.  My counterpart coaches were grinning from ear to ear too.  What a great feeling!  But, I’m getting ahead of myself. 

So this week, despite not getting through a ton of new material with my students, has been incredibly rewarding.  I finally got the chance to teach my Form 3’s and I’d been planning on doing review.  I finished up the segment on reproduction with 2 classes on menstruation.  Fun!  : )  My plan for reviewing was to make it more interesting than just question and answering.  I decided on group work so I made 10 different group assignments that ranged from diagrams to fill in the cycle to plays.  After one class period to prepare, they were expected to present in front of their peers.  It ended up being a bigger hit than I expected and I was just stunned and elated.  The groups that drew pictures of things like vasectomy/tubal ligation, angiosperm fertilization and transfer of materials across the placenta took their assignments quite seriously and did a phenomenal job with coloring and labeling it.  I told them that they had to present in English and it was even more inspiring to see some of the students that I’d hardly recognized just blowing me away with their poise and fluency.  I was so impressed.  Then one group had to explain the advantages and disadvantages of family planning methods which was tedious but I realized how many of the students weren’t familiar with many of them.  That opened up the discussion for the plays that I asked them to compose and perform.  There were two groups, one to display examples of irresponsible sexual choices and another to illustrate responsible sexual behaviors.  They did PHENOMENAL.  I let these groups use Swahili because I knew that it would allows more of the message to get across but now, so many of them are not shy or even in the least intimidated by going in front of their peers.  The last groups (irresponsible sexual choices…) even ended their presentation by explaining the causes and effects of irresponsible sexual behavior. I used this as a spring board to brainstorm ways to prevent these things from occurring.  Darn!  I was just so impressed and please by my students and they asked me to do more classes like this.  I think that I may have found the perfect way to do review before the end of the year.  It’s just great, though, when your students pleasantly surprise you.   This even more validated my feelings about building the library at the school.  It was a great time too, since I just completed my revisions on the grant and am waiting for PC-TZ to review it in the Grant’s Committee, after which (hoping it happens) they will send it to PC Washington DC and I’ll be able to start collecting donations.  Oh, goodness, it’s great when things work out.  Fingers double crossed.

Additionally, speaking of working out, after school today we held our first Zinduka Club.  I’ve already explained what it is in previous posts but I’ll give a little recap.  Zinduka is a program based out of South Africa’s Grassroots Soccer NGO in which they use soccer skills and language to educated the more impressionable age groups, ages 10-19, about HIV/AIDS.  The program consists of 10 sessions in which a small group of about 30 students are lead by 2 teachers and a PCV in activities and discussions to educate them about HIV/AIDS and the skills necessary to prevent being susceptible.  It’s a great program because it appeals to the youth through, not only soccer lingo, but also encouraging language and high energy cheers and exercises to get them excited and involved.  I was a bit nervous going into this practice, not only because it was out first time but also because we all went to the training back in June and due to school breaks and scheduling, haven’t been able to start until now.  And, as usual, the typical preparations and meetings for me and my coaches kept getting pushed back and back.  Then, today, when the practice was supposed to start at 3pm, after constant reminders, one of my coaches finally opened his book at 2:30pm while the other chatted it up with the secretary before finally getting sucked into looking over the material too.  But, to my surprise, we hardly hit any speed bumps while teaching.  This also may have been because I super over-prepared and had things figured out to a tee logistically, so I could pick up for any slack and answer any questions that they had.   But, then again, that’s what I’m here for.  So, the students started off a bit wary and unsure of what to expected but many of them, especially the older ones, were really enthusiastic after we started them off and even took the lead in many of the cheers and warm ups.  It was so great to watch them.  My coaches really stepped up to the plate just like they were back in training again and did the silly looking energizers and used the methods that they were so well taught to incorporate the kids into the teaching and discussions.  I was just beaming with pride watching them.  I need to bring a camera to the next session.  Also, I didn’t even need to use the extra time fillers/energizers that I prepared in case things went sour.  The most rewarding aspect  though, aside from the big smile on my face, was the smile on the students’ faces.  They were all just smiling bigger than I’ve ever seen and talking about the exercise that we just did and I swear that all of them also had an extra bounce in their step.  Wow.  What a great feeling!  I’m so glad that I took this opportunity and my teachers and students stepped up to take it as well.  Go us! : )

So, that’s all for now.  I’m going into Katesh once again tomorrow to say goodbye to Mel because she’s changing sites but I think that I’ll leave early on Sunday so I can be here as much as possible.  I love my time here.  Today I went over to Shafii’s when he wasn’t even there (they are crazy busy with harvest because the rain is coming soon) and stayed for an hour and a half chatting with Uncle (his brother), Rama (his cook) and eating sambusas and drinking cold coke.  Oh, life is so hard! Actually, I’m just really freaking blessed. 
One last translation before you leave...I just discovered recently that I've been translating the name of my blog wrong.  Of course.  So, Finding Umoja (Finding Oneness): Life through Translation should be:
Kutafuta umoja: Maisha yenye utafsiri.  So there's that.  Night night