.....and by the tail of a mouse
01.09.2007 -17 °C
The following news has been taken from letters to Leslie's Grandmother Anderson and Grandparents McAbee. These letters were written 7/28/07.
My training schedule has been intense, as we just finished 2 and 1/2 weeks of teaching training. For the 1st week, I was having so many discipline problems with the students that I wondered if I actually had the talent to teach. But after some advice from the trainers, I learned how to give the naughty students a death glare, move those who talked to their neighbor to another desk, and yell at them to be quiet. So far, these tactics seem to work, and I now have confidence that I have a place in the classroom. The best day was when I taught the 7 year olds a lesson about the environment. My vocabulary included "to drop" and "to pick up", but none of the kids seemed to be paying attention as they were focused on something under a girl's desk. I told the girl to pick up what I thought to be her pen, but the commotion continued on that side of the room. As I continued to try to explain the vocabulary, the girl kicked something out from under her desk in my direction: a dead mouse. I was so flustered that I unthinkingly picked up the mouse by its tail and kept pointing at the word " to pick up" on the board to illustrate that what I was doing was relevant to the lesson. Then I walked the mouse body over to the trash can, all the while pointing and repeating the words " to drop".
The women in my homestay family have particularly befriended me and have shown me how to survive here cooking and cleaning-wise. You'll be proud to know that I can wash my clothes without a machine and can make my own peanut butter by pounding it with a blunt staff by hand. The fresh peanut butter is delicious. We eat it with watery rice for breakfast, which sounds revolting, but it is actually quite good. It's better than eating the rice plain. Alas, the eating of rice can be tiring, since we eat it 3 times a day. But there are always side dishes (laoka) to eat with it. Believe it or not, but they eat a lot of collard greens here, and I look forward to them every time my family buys them at the market.
I guess you guys have already heard that I'll be living in the southernmost tip of Madagascar. The location isn't quite a desert, though it is very dry there and the vegetation is called spiny forest. Don't tell mom, but turtles abound in my region, because it is fady (forbidden) to eat them. In ancient times, it is said that a turtle carried a woman lost in the forest on it's back all the way to her home, and so it is highly disrespectful to kill them.