Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ethiopia: Nazret: A Day at the Academy

Arrived at the KG campus of the English Alive Academy around 8:00 a.m. to help the teachers greet the students. Most arrived with round, stacked aluminum lunch pails filled with a morning snack and lunch. The kids shook my hand, and we saluted each other with a "good morning!"

I generally just got a feel for the classes today, spending the morning with the 3-5 year-olds and the afternoon with grades 1 through 4.

I started with KG2 and its "circle time". The teacher offered me flash cards to work with the students and I used them to generate complete questions and answers, such as "What is this?" "It is a balloon. The balloon is blue."

In another class, KG1, I asked one group of children about the sounds of the English letters on the puzzle pieces they arranged together in a long, long puzzle line.

In the nursery (age 3), the children recited their Amharic numbers and letters sounds, each getting up to the board by him/herself to lead the class in recitation.

During recess, the KG1 class became so rowdy - very excited! At times, I think we volunteer teachers must be more of a distraction than a help. The kids want to touch, touch, touch (this afternoon, I was the recipient of serial kisses by some 20 children).

At the end of the school day, I presented an English class to the teachers in the 1st - 4th grade campus.

Afterward, curriculum director Adenech escorted me to her daughter's beauty salon for a much-needed hair washing. Azeb, my home hostess, has a cold shower, and while this is fine for every day, the set-up is not conducive for washing my hair. The beauty salon is spare and tidy. The hair wash was with invigorating (zowie!), as only cold water used. There is a faucet in the interior salon wall; Adenech's daughter fills a bucket of water, then uses that to lather and rinse, pouring water as needed into the basin. It really is a pleasant experience having someone wash your hair.

With clean hair, I dashed up to the Dire International Hotel to see if its internet access was up - no! So I surrendered to the lack and instead sat outside on the hotel's secluded, breezy, flowery terrace lined with giant palms. I read a book (Double Star, by Rober Hein), drank a cold Ambo with lemon, and savored my solitude. Ahhh.

Upon return home, Azeb (Dawit's mother) served a delicious dinner of battered cauliflower and tomatoes, with a simple, but superb, rich dish.

Alas, no running water in the evening, so took a "sink" bath.

I prepared a lesson plan for the teachers' English class the next day.

No comments: