Friday, February 27, 2009

School Days

So I've finally gotten an internship here. I use the word "internship" loosely, though. Let me tell you about it.

I had plenty of time to be there by 10, because my maman practically drags me out of bed if I'm not up by 8:30 or so. I walked to Fann, which is about a 30-minute walk from my house and caught a car rapide. A car rapide, just so you know, is a beat-up yellow and blue mini bus, wildly decorated that acts as a bus. It only costs 100CFA (about 20 cents) and will drop you off anywhere on it's route. It is packed to the roof with people. I was in the car rapide for probably a half-hour, jumped off (literally) at la Grande Mosquee, walked past the mosque and through a market, turned left at the pharmacy with the giant milk advertisement and walked until I saw the electronics shop with the sign for English classes. About 2 yards after that, I turned left into a barely visible alleyway between two shacks. A couple more turns and I'm in a kind of courtyard in the midst of what can only be described as a shantytown. Take the first left and I am in an open space full of laundry hung out to dry, children playing and goats just hanging out. Incidentally, this is the classroom. There is a row of desks and benches facing two chalkboards hung on the side of a building.

This is where I teach French and Math to four students who range in age from 6 or 7 to my age. They are at this particular school, l'Ecole de la Rue, because they work or beg or take care of their families during most of the day, so they only have time to come to 3 hours of class each day.

Their French is very lacking, and of course my Wolof is nearly useless, so it is an interesting endeavor, but they all try really hard and genuinely want to be there, which makes up for the language barrier a little.

Today I tried for class participation (which is a totally foreign concept here). Our reading was about boxing, so I tried to get them to act out simple phrases like "I box Seni's face. Seni boxes my face. Ah, no! I box Seni's face." They understood very little, but were, at least, very entertained. :)

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