This is a guide for my family and friends about my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, Africa. I teach English as foreign language to high school students in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. Also as a disclaimer, the comments expressed here are solely of the author and do not represent the United States Peace Corps, the American Government, or any other governing body.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Remember that roller coaster ride I talked about last time? It continues. It was brought to my attention that certain phrases or sentences I use in my blogs tend to sound unintentionally bad or, I believe the term was, racist. When any of you who know me at all would, I am sure, immediately laugh at that fact, I just wanted to clear up that when I describe people in a certain way or with certain features, be it the color of their skin or their particular accent, I in no way mean to sound racist or against them in any way. Since not one of you are here to actually experience what I am experiencing, I try to give the whole picture. This may include describing a particular feature a person I am talking about. Maybe I should conduct my speech with more tact, but this is a blog and I am just me talking about my life. And again, I don't mean this to sound mean or snooty in any way, but if you have a problem with the way I conduct my blog, you can go and read someone else's blog who I'm sure has the time to sit and consider exactly what they are writing and proofread it, and go over it AGAIN, and then publish it. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. So my blogs contain what I think and what I experience, and thus is the nature of a blog in my opinion.

Anyway, sorry if that offended anyone. But I had good news today!! Leland and I finally have a post office box, so it is nice to see that we actually exist in this world. I was beginning to think we were just lost forever in the Hotel Boa Vista. We don't have a house, but I was told today by my VERY NICE AND CARING Education Director (his name is Yonis, the Dominican Republic man I referred to earlier) that it is possible we may have an apartment by tomorrow. Which in Cape Verde Time means possibly by this weekend. Which is good news for us. I am thinking of a getting a cell phone (Ha I know can you believe it??) they are a little costly, but as the house thing is still in the air, I think a phone number would help me feel a little more at ease. But we shall see.

I also got my school schedule today. Classes start on Monday and we have been having meetings all this week. Let me just begin by setting this scene up a little for you. The maximum amount of time a teacher is supposedly allowed to teach in a week is 22 hours, and only on rare occassions. The secondary schools here go from 7-12th grade. These 6 grade levels are then divided into cycles. First cycle is 7th and 8th grade, second cycle is 9th and 10th grade, and third cycle is 11th and 12th grade. As far as Foreign Language classes are concerned, students are allowed to choose whether they want to take English OR French when they enter 7th grade. They then take either of the two foreign languages they chose throughout the first cycle (meaning 7th and 8th grade). Once they reach 9th grade, however, they HAVE TO take both English and French for the entire second cycle (meaning 9th and 10th grade). Don't ask me why I don't know who thought of this bizarre notion. Students who chose to take English in 7th grade start at level I English (obviously) and move up one level for each grade level they move up in school. Example, if the student chose English in 7th grade, he/she would be in English I. In 8th grade, would be in English II, 9th grade English III, 10th grade English IV and so on. If, however, the student has chosen French in 7th grade, the student would then be starting at a Level I English class when he/she entered 9th grade. Do you see where I am going with this? No? Yes I know it's confusing. They do not mix the grade levels; in fact, the classes are put together and the beginning of the year and they stay in one classroom the whole year. Each period, the teacher goes to the class. So I don't have my own classroom, I go to each room, each period, where each of my classes remains. Here is my point: there aren't enough teachers to divide up the second cycle language students into different classes, which means in my 9th grade class, I have studets who have never taken an English class, and for other students this is their third year in English, they are level III. The same goes for my 10th graders. They will be both Level II and Level IV all in the same class.

I, by the way, will be teaching 23 hours per week (yes, 22 is the maximum), including Saturdays. And I actually cannot wait. I will be soooo busy, I cannot possibly be bored in this little one-horse town. Of course, everyone I tell looks at me like I am crazy. Even Yonis was a little worried about my morale. But today I am in good spirits. It's funny that the smallest things can make you happy. Like a schedule, or a post office box. And by the way, did you know that ships to Cape Verde?? I know, awesome, right. Ha. Anyway, things are finally starting to look up, I knew they would, it's all about my good friend the rollercoaster. He and I are best buds by now. If you don't understand the school thing, that's understandable, it's a little confusing. But if you have any questions about it, or any unique suggestions to get children motivated, let me know!! I love and miss everyone.


Blogger Trisha said...

Hi Nadia, l have been following your blog and find it a very interesting read as well. l would like to make a comment that nothing l have read could be perceived as racist, to me what you have written is an everyday observation to describe everyday things that are occuring to you.Carry enjoying what you are doing. Love Trisha (England branch of the family)

26 September, 2006 19:27

Blogger Nadia said...

Thank you. I so appreciate your feedback. I am glad that nothing has been perceived that way because I really did try not to sound that way. But I appreciate everyone's comments. I know it's a pain to set up an account or whatever just to comment, but I do appreciate the feedback.

09 October, 2006 09:06


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