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.

Friday, April 27, 2007

16th April 2007

So I found out today that our internet will be disconnected until around the end of this week. Not just our island’s, but the whole country’s internet. This is due to someone dropping their obviously heavy boat anchor right on the country’s DSL line in Praia, snapping the fiber optic wire in half. This raises several questions: 1. Why is the very important wire not buried deep under the ocean floor; 2. Why was a boat able to drop its anchor in it in the first place; 3. Why is the wire running through a place where boats park themselves? These are all valid questions that of course have led to the argument over who should pay for the wire to be fixed. The boatman or CV Telecom? I, personally, feel that it is the responsibility of CV Telecom to pay for the wire repair as it was in a dumb location to begin with, plus I hate CV Telecom for my own reasons; perhaps, then, I am biased. But anyway, this means that I am currently blogging at home and will publish my blogs when I am able to use the internet again, so these blogs are in journal format. Sorry about that.

Well, things are going fairly well these days. School and work is back in full swing, although there is that distinct smell in the air: the smell of things coming to end. Spring is ending; summer is coming upon all of us quickly. It’s the smell of the end of school and the crazy and fun times ahead. The students have an energy that’s like the last inhalation before you blow out and blow off all that steam. It’s a good feeling. My students are anxious to be finished, and I don’t really blame them. They are behaving slightly better in class, although “better” isn’t the best word to describe it, I just can’t think of the appropriate word. It’s almost as if they feel that if they just hold their breath, keep their heads down, and do the work, they’ll get out of here just that much faster. Well, they won’t but it works all right for disciplinary purposes.

Although, the end of the school year is approaching quickly. There are 6 different grades that make up the secondary school. These 6 grades are divided into three cycles. The first cycle is 7th and 8th grade, second cycle is 9th and 10th, and third cycle is 11th and 12th grade. At the end of each cycle, the students have a large cumulative test, called a PGI. Weeks are spent reviewing for this test, as it is crucial for their final grades. In two and a half weeks, I give my first test of the trimester. Then for the four weeks following that, I will review for the PGIs in my 8th and 10th grades. They take their tests beginning the 6th of June. This trimester will be over before all we know it. I’m in the fifth week of my little people English class. I still love it, and the break I had a couple of weeks ago was very much needed, as it is exhausting to keep up with 6 year olds as well as plan new lessons and discipline the 8th graders all in the same day. But I like it, it makes the days pass quicker.

I know I talk constantly of counting down the days, passing the time, and basically sit in anticipation for the end of all this business to be over. I don’t mean to sound as though I am going through hellish torture here. It’s funny, because in my past life (ante-Peace Corps) I remember counting the hours until work/class was over. But I don’t think that I’ve ever counted down the days for a selected period of time. And like I said, I don’t hate it here by any means, and I’m not miserable (most of the time ); but I guess I look at my service here as one long work day. My trip to England is like lunchtime. Each school break in the middle of school is like the ten o’clock coffee breaks that I always forgot to make coffee for :) (I was never good at making coffee). My life, like my days used to be, is divided into breaks and quantified time spaces. I jump from break to break, like jumping form hour to hour in a workday. It’s no way to live life I know, but my life is currently unique and calls for unique ways to cope. Anyway, things are good, classes are going pretty well so far, I have finally booked our tickets to London after much trouble and deliberation with airlines, and Leland and I have some pretty solid friends in the community that make the experience just that much better. It took a while, but I can now say that we have fit ourselves pretty neatly in daily life here. Everyone knew us before, but now nearly everyone who knows us says hello to us on the street. We are no longer the strange Americans, but we are “so-and-so’s teacher” or ‘profesora de Corpo da Paz.” It’s nice to fit in finally.

By the way, I just received a card in the mail today from my friend who is in the Peace Corps in Macedonia. It was a Christmas card, and it was sent out December 12th, 2006. I guess there is absolutely no predicting this ridiculous mail business.


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