Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just another day at school in Africa...

So, today I went to my cognitive psychology class (which was originally a clinical psych class, but it was changed because the prof decided clinical psychology was irrelevant). First we started out in a room marked "Library" and then they moved us to another room, both of which would have been condemned in the States. There were random broken electrical wires poking out of the wall, the fans are broken, covered in dust and hadn't been used in years, the windows were broken and the chalk board was so badly cleaned, you could hardly tell what the professor was writing. Like much of my life, it looked like a Unicef commercial.

Now, as a note, in Michigan, in a psychology class, there are a hundred women and two men-- and the two men are dating each other. Here, my psychology class had eight women-- and this is a lot. The women dress really conservatively, too, in academia-- I'm assuming so they'll be taken seriously. One was a nun (with a veil), one had a headscarf (which is actually not very common in Senegal), and others wore things that covered their hair.

Okay, so there was an hour of the prof talking and no one writing anything and then all of a sudden, everyone's writing! Apparently, the prof is dictating-- we don't get a book, he just spends an hour of our two-hour class dictating what we need to know. It was not pretty.

Then, all of a sudden, students burst into the classroom, shouting in Wolof. As the girl in the headscarf translated for me, we are striking. Well, striking doesn't involved just not going to school. People were barricading roads and threatening to throw rocks! I am fine, but I left as fast as I could!

Yep, just another day at school in Africa...

6 comments:

Reid Hamilton said...

Any notion what it was you were supposed to be striking about?

Classroom conditions?

/wry smile

Grace Cowan said...

What excitement! I'm glad you're ok, just make sure that you stay that way.

Allie said...

No. :D Someone explained it to me, but it was rushed and half-French, half-Wolof, and I was dazed as it was. It was either something about the University's opinion on the east (or maybe Middle-East) or orientation. I'm not sure.

Marie said...

8 women? Out of how many students? Not trying to make this math, just curious. I'm enjoying your writing. Thanks for posting. --Marie (Alice's mom)

Allie said...

8 women out of 30-ish students, which is a lot for here, in reality. The other class I tried here had 4 women in a class of 50.

Susan Ruosu said...

I'm glad your okay. Sounds crazy. Naperville is still the same. Hope to see you safe and sound when you come back.