Thursday, February 21, 2013

Back Again

Oh man it's been a long time since I blogged.  I guess you could label me as a negligent blogger.  My apologies.  I can't even remember the last time I wrote an update.  As most of you know I took a trip home for Christmas, which was absolutely amazing.  Can't thank my parents enough for making that possible.  Since returning in early January it has been business as usual.  Here are a couple of the latest stories:

--Different permeations of my name: I have yet to find somebody in my village that pronounces my name without a Mexican accent.  I find I have to fully roll my 'r's when introducing myself for anyone to understand me.  My favorite is when I walk around town and the children shout Erica FRESH!  as I walk by.  They haven't quite gotten the hang of French.  I also sometimes get Monica or Jessica.  I guess they all end with an 'a' sounds but other than that I don't really get it.  At school I mostly get Eric, particularly from my teachers.  Guess to them the 'a' isn't all that important.  To some of my fellow peace corps volunteers I am known as 'mama-pus' after they discovered my not so hidden love for cats.  I really just don't know what to respond to anymore.

--Success story: I think I may have actually gotten through to some of my SS 1 students (think freshmen in high school) about osmosis.  I spent at least 4 weeks last year trying to teach osmosis to my biology class and I still don't think any of them understand the concept.  The difficulty is understanding concentrations.  It seems like it should be easy to explain (ex: putting too much sugar in your coffee makes a higher concentration of sugar) but these guys look at me like I'm speaking gobbledegook.  I think the root of the problem is that they are taught to simply recite notes, and not to try and understand a concept, but that's a whole different story.  Anyways, I finally decided, after a few unsuccessful classes of chalk-board work, to try something new.  The next time we had class I took everyone outside and did some examples of concentrations using  boys vs. girls.  I figured high school boys would understand the concept of wanting to go where there's less competition for girls.  Fighting 6 guys for a girl's attention is a lot less appealing than fighting just one guy.  (I may have overestimated this ideal in a Muslim country where polygamy is common--they may have just thought I was suggesting women be allowed multiple husbands.)  Anyways, I think a few of them got it, and if not, they at least enjoyed being outside.

--Not success story: it is getting to the really hot part of dry season now.  (Not a success.)  100+ degree weather every day and no fans or AC.  I now sweat through a shirt a mere 2 minutes after putting it on (Definitely not a success.)  Now my house is pretty cool because none of the windows directly face the sun and the floor is made of tile.  By extension, my veranda is also pretty cool, and out of the sun most of the day.  (Success.)  I, apparently am not the only cognizant being around here, and have hence found that the chickens have also discovered my den of less than 100 degree heat.  (And yes, I just compared my mental faculties to that of a chicken--I'm losing a lot of brain mass here people.)  The not success of this whole story is that now I come home every day to at least 2 dozen piles of chicken scat on my front porch.  And I also get up every 10 minutes to yell at the chickens and make them go away--which is a fruitless effort because they always come back in about 30 seconds.  I can be seen a couple times a day yelling about how I hate chickens and wildly flapping my arms.  And we wonder why the locals think white men are crazy.

--Actual update: we are now 6 weeks in to term 2 at school.  If everything goes as planned on the calendar I hope to get another 2-4 weeks of teaching out of this term for a grand total of 8-10.  That would be my record best for weeks taught in a term here!  Term 2 is typically the time for schools to engage in sports which for us will be held at the end of March.  We did not hold sports last year so I am quite looking forward to it this time around.  Not sure how everything will go, but I look forward to it all.  Overall life is going fine.  I'm a bit restless and ready to move on.  I think I finally realized how long 2 years really is.  Looking forward to spring break in April and to  a COS trip to Morocco when I'm finally done in July.  I certainly still have room to learn new things about Sierra Leone, so I hope the next few months will give me some opportunities to have new experiences here.


  1. I don't suppose they have chicken wire? To screen your porch?

  2. It's so nice to read about your journey! I'm thankful for the update! Keep updating! You are amazing! I wish I could follow in your steps! <3 Nicole