06 July 2010
09 September 2009
Posted by Mike at 5:25 PM
25 August 2009
Yep. I'm pretty sure this picture sums up what many PC RIM Volunteers are feeling and have been feeling for the past month. (Thanks Steve. These pictures made me laugh louder than anything these past 15 months)
Posted by Mike at 4:36 PM
19 July 2009
Everyday it seems, is something new.
In the past month alone, it is as if some current event strikes suddenly (or protracted like the elections/campaign) on a daily basis, which is in sharp contrast to my increasingly sedentary work schedule.
Let's start there. Work. One month ago to the day, I was enjoying the end of an exhausting 3-day English camp here in Nouadhibou. I decided to organize this a little last-minute, but the unfortunate postponement and later, cancellation of the new class of volunteers freed up some help from a few other vols who would not be helping with the training of this new class. Also, Katie was indispensable in her maticulous organizing.
It was also the first project I led where I actually felt productive and able to meet an important Peace Corps goal - sustainability. Ah, sustainability. The word alone I'm sure strikes cringes in my fellow volunteers spines as they think of this "buzz-word" from training. You see, as an English teacher, I spend a lot of time in the classroom, crazy huh? Even the English Club consisted of my own students. So after 2 years, I leave and then what? A new volunteer must take my place? Or do my work and projects simply lapse? Well, in theory, with sustainability, a Mauritanian "counterpart" could continue with a project, a class, or simply an idea that has been tested between you, them, and the community.
The English Camp was simply three days of English classes for bright students. We did descriptive writing, essay writing, music, and preparation for two important exams (one for ~6th graders and one for ~seniors). What will make this sustainable, inshallah, is that we had help from 8 Mauritanian Enlgish teachers. So we were able to work together and if we do this again next year, maybe a trend will develop and the Nouadhibou English Camp can continue with less and less Peace Corps involvement. (Or at least with continued Mauritanian involvement.)
The following week, I finished regular classes on June 25 and my final Enlish Club was June 23. I ended up teaching so much later because a week after my directeur des etudes told me classes were over, my director came around with a paper for all teachers to sign saying they would continue to the 25 for test preparation. I wasn't swamped with students, but I did have a steady stream all month as well as additional classes I taught because of the early departure of other English teachers. It was a busy month.
Saying goodbye to the English Club was probably the hardest thing. Time will tell, but I may not see many of these students again. They were all in the final year of school (some for the second or third time) and may not even be in NDB next year. I will definitely have a club next year. Here's a picture of our last day. We took 3. I told them to pose normal for one, cool for one, and crazy for the last. Most of them got it. Ismail, in the middle, didn't understand my explanation until after the picture; seeing his classmates. Then it donned on him what I had said - oh! crazy! I love Ousman with his hat. I can't help but smile every time I see him. The ladies up front maintained their tranquil demeanor, although Fatimata's smile is among the best ever in all the world. And Diop, oh Diop, he wore his suit just for the occasion. Love these kids.
Posted by Mike at 11:25 AM
18 July 2009
Posted by Katie at 8:26 AM
08 July 2009
Just a quick post to let everyone know about some current issues in Mauritania:
1. Our computer is currently on the fritz and we need our Windows Vista reinstallation CD to fix the problem. Only issue there is that the CD is somewhere in the basement of Mike's parents' house in Kansas City...darn. How does this impact you? Probably not a lot except that we might not be able to respond to emails as quickly or post on our blog as regularly for the foreseeable future. Also, MagicJack and Skype aren't likely for a while.
2. All Mauritanian Peace Corps Volunteers were offered the option of "Interrupted Service." Basically this means that we could choose to leave early without completing the entire 2 year committment and still get all the benefits of having competed our service. The reasons behind this offer are complicated and not worth the time to explain here because Mike and I have decided we are sticking it out for another year. (If you want more information, check out the link to other PC RIM blogs as many other volunteers have been blogging about it.)
3. Mauritanian elections are coming up very quickly and the campaigning is once again in high gear. The first round of elections will be held on July 18 with a run-off election (if necessary) on August 1. Please pray that everything goes smoothly and elections proceed without any major upheaval.
Okay, that's all for now. Sorry if we are out of contact for a while. We still have Internet access from our Peace Corps office in NDB and can check email there though, so we won't be completely out of touch. Also, we still have our mobile phones if anyone needs to reach us right away.
Posted by Katie at 1:38 PM
27 June 2009
Okay, okay, okay. Not exactly a product. But ouguiya (oo-ghee-uh), the local currency, are the means to the PROMs. So as an ode to the old monetary system of bartering, trade, and commodity-backed currency (yes, Katie makes me listen to the same podcasts) - which is very much alive here in the RIM- I give you PROM 8: Ouguiya (UM for short, unit Mauritanian I think?) ~ 260UM = $1.00
Posted by Mike at 12:28 PM