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.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Well, here I am in all my glory, a Peace Corps volunteer with so little to say. Although, I did, for the first time, give a falta collectiva in my Spawn of Satan of class. Today was climax of a very frustrating week. Only about half of the students actually showed up for class, and those that did for some reason would just not be quiet. Here, the discipline system works with 'faltas.' For example, if you don't show up for class, you get a falta. If you get kicked out of class, you get a falta. If you don't bring your notebook to school, or don't wear the proper uniform you get a falta, etc. These faltas build up and if you have so many in one class, they notify your parents. If you have so many in one trimester, you get kicked out of school. There are also falta disciplinas for if the students are fighting in class, or talk back to the teacher, or just do something extra bad. So, the students who didn't show up for class obviously got a falta, and those that did I basically kicked them all out, so they all got faltas as well. I gave two falta disciplinas to two students who wouldn't stop arguing and kicking each other. Well I got protests from the students of course, but I don't really care, cause I've had enough of their crap basically.

Everyone's so high stress at the moment, planning tests, then I have to plan makeup tests, then more tests, then final tests. I'm sick of planning/grading/re planning tests. But, on a more personal note, life is actually pretty ok. I think I'm the happiest I've been since I got here, and this is probably due to a variety of factors, but I can't imagine leaving at this point in time. There was a time in the beginning of my service where I contemplated leaving at the end of this school year; only I completely understand why they hold out service for two years. It's probably the perfect amount of time. My friendships are stronger, people have a sense of who I am, my students are comfortable around me except of course when they don't give a crap and half and won't stop talking. But I've noticed that just having been to the Norte and hanging out with the students who live there make them easier to deal with. Like they understand that I'm human, and not some foreigner they know nothing about.

But picture for a moment a college campus with about 4,000 students. All the students live on campus, and most of them are related. So everything you do, everywhere you go, everyone you talk to, it's all observed by someone who either knows you, or who's cousin is in your class. There is no privacy. Everyone is in everyone else's business because the campus is so small and secluded that people don't have anything else to do but gossip about everyone else. And because you're the "linda" Americana, your actions are monitored just that much more closely. That's like my life here. If I go out with someone other than Leland, people think I'm cheating on my husband. For the record, Leland is NOT my husband and even though we tell people this repeatedly, they don't seem to believe us. But I'm on a secluded island with 4,000 other people who are all someone else's cousin, so my actions are watched like a hawk by everyone around me. When I go to the Norte everyone knows and wonders why, and who invited me (the people in the Norte are fiercely defensive against keeping their little towns pure of outsiders/tourists. You basically have to be invited by someone who lives there in order to go. And in the car ride there, people will ask you why you are going to the Norte and who invited you).

Well this weekend, a friend of ours from Sal will come down and visit, which is nice. We like having visitors. Leland and I are throwing a little "American" party and invited some of our friends here. We'll make hot wings and pizza and just let loose. That's only if the back-again "bruma secca" allows our friend to fly here. Yes, the dust storms that interrupted our first Volunteer conference back in January are back and making everything gross and dusty again. Anyway, that's the small update on my life. I hope everyone has a good weekend :)


Post a Comment

<< Home