Settling In

Trip Start Jan 17, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Friday, January 23, 2009

Hi again,

Come all the way to the café to upload some photos and I forgot to bring my camera.  I suppose I could technically run 'home' and get it because I only live 2 minutes away but it's far too hot outside. 

Anyway, I am settling into some sort of routine now, especially since I started working and everything seems to be going OK.  Work is interesting to say the least - it is completely different to all the nurseries back home.  The kids don't seem to have any sort of routine and they just please themselves most of the time.  There are over 30 in the class and only 6 spaces for them to work.  So while the 6 kids write 3 or 4 letters each the others sit on the floor and get told off for talking, even though there is nothing else for them to do!!  During the day though they don't actually do much work.  My first day there, they drew one stick man each and wrote 6 letters.  All this took 4 hours (plus of course the half hour long break-time).

Today though, I was left in charge of the kids for the first time.  One of the teachers told me yesterday that I had to sing a song with them.  I thought for ages about what I could do and then decided on 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' which can be easily translated into French.  However, teaching a song to a room full of 3-5 year olds, whose first language is not French I should add, is not very easy!  I started off quietly confident but then all hell broke loose because the teacher decided I had control of them and left the room.  To say I got frustrated is putting it very politely.  It's not easy to tell children off when you don't speak their language.  Also, the only way they know of being to behave is being hit with a wooden plank - I absolutely refuse to do this, although I came very close on a couple of occasions.  I did learn though that even just picking the wood up was enough to scare them.  When that started to loose its effectiveness I decided on public humiliation - getting the child that wasn't participating up in front of the class and doing it by themselves.  However, even this didn't work.  Everyone wanted to come to the front and show off.  I just about snapped when my teacher came and saved me from my ordeal.  It was fun though to watch the kids, at first, fascinated by what they were doing and then the novelty wore off!!!

Met up with most of the other volunteers on Wednesday night for a quiz night - something that happens every week.  I have to go next week as well because I am writing the questions.  The losing team has to nominate 2 of its members to write them.  Since it was my first time my teammates thought I should take on of the places so I am now trying really hard to think of fun questions.

Tomorrow I am going to one of the bird reserves here in Senegal, organised by the office.  It is meant to be spectacular so I am really looking forward to it.

Apart from that, nothing much else is happening here - still v hot and getting hotter each day!
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