The Sun is Eating My Skin...
...Says my friend Tony as we are walking to internet today. It IS pretty wickedly hot these days. The heat has begun, my friends. The days of cool nights and mornings and the occasional shady afternoon are disappearing. Summer is coming to Tanzania....
So...this past week I set out with a stash of health magazines in Swahili and went to my schools to share em with the kiddies. I was successful only on Tuesday as the rest of the week the students were out because Class 7 students had their exams to enter secondary school. I find it interesting how an entire school can be off for 40-70 students to take an exam, but thats how it works here. The school system in TZ is divided into Primary School (Class 1-7) and Secondary School (Forms 1-6). Primary School is supposedly cumpulsory (am I spelling that right?) and is free but students start Primary School at any age starting from 7. I teach students of Class 6 and 7 so they basically range from age 13 to anything above that. There's so much that is interesting and different about the education system here that I fear what I write won't make much sense, but here are some random sentences:
-Students get beat for anything from being late to disrespecting the teacher
-Students are responsible for cleaning specific areas of the school, their classrooms, and dormitories
-There are single sex Secondary Schools
-Students are kicked out of school for being pregnant or making someone pregnant; its obviously much harder to see the latter
-Students and teachers never return back to school on time after vacations or for the start of a new school year
-Students don't have their own textbooks
-Secondary school is SUPPOSED to be all taught in English and all the national exams are in English while in Primary school, everything is in Swahili.....
-Grades are crazy...You can have entire classes failing or passing mark be a 30
-Most of the time teachers aren't even around or teaching when they are supposed to be. There is a HUGE shortage of teachers at both levels of school
-Secondary schools come with fees but not all the students can afford to pay them. Yet they still go to school.... Not sure how this works. I don't know if its legal to kick a student out of school here for not paying school fees
-Many secondary school students board at school and eat horribly
Sorry, these days I don't even know if I'm making sense. Its the whole lots of things to say, little time or space to compose my thoughts problem. My brain feels fuzzy today. I apologize.
But I am doing not so badly. Getting a LOT more comfortable and friendly with people in my village these days. Still not super uber excited about work. How horrible does that sound? I'm an HIV/AIDS educator in Sub Saharan Africa whose NOT motivated to do work...? I sound like a bad human being. But what can I do? I've tried to disect this "problem" of mine and get to the root of my issues but its not so easy and I think trying to pick the problem apart makes it even worse. So my brain is fuzzy, I'm running low on internet time, its getting wicked hot, I still don't have either electricity nor ceiling boards, but at least the mice have not been around lately.
Miss you all tons. Check out my friend Jen's blog. She recently completely training here. Also a Health Volunteer, used to live in NYC and now lives a mere 20 km away from me! One of my closest neighbors here! A link to her site is on the left hand side of the page.