Friday, December 19, 2008

December... ist, vacations, it's good.

Well… it’s been an interesting month… (a month without watching Lost or Friends or any dvds, but still interesting, ha ha).
School, you don’t want to hear about school… it’s boring… the kids are ok… I like teaching… it’s rather uneventful, actually.
The most interesting thing that happened in Anjozorobe was the arrival of the new Dodwell Trust volunteers (They come for 1-3 months to teach English around mcar). There was a Chinese girl and a Belgian girl, Alex. Alex and I ended up spending good time together. It was so refreshing to be around other young English speakers from different sides of the world. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Malagasy people, but sometimes it’s nice to get a different perspective of things. Also the Dodwell volunteers don’t speak any Malagasy and are therefore very impressed by my gasy skills.
I did group tests to finish up the term. It worked out really well. I don’t think that I will ever give individual tests again. It’s too much work to try and keep them from cheating (and you know that do anyway) and it’s much easier to grade all the tests in one day-long grading frenzy.
In the first week of December, I traveled to Anosibe Ana’la, my friend Kinsey’s site. It was what I pictured Peace Corps Madagascar to be. I would pay money for her site (real American dollars, not fake ariary). She has a site partner who is an environment volunteer. He organized a programme… let’s say an environment fair, if you will. We planted trees in the school yard at the EPP and used a booth to demonstrate making Cookstoves (an alternative to wood fire cooking) and how to start and plant Moringa trees. There were a lot of environment volunteers, plus me, Kinsey, and Megan, another girl from our stage. We played a volleyball game (the longest ever) against the Malagasys, ha ha. We made a huge Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie (which I tried for the first time… nothing against Megan’s baking but I’m not a fan). We also performed at a ‘spectacular’ (some Sublime, Johnny Cash, etc, good times). But most importantly, I finally met a lemur. It licked my tattoos. That was very sanitary, I’m sure, but a lot of things here aren’t sanitary and we’re establishing immunity. I had a great time with Kinsey and Megan, of course.
I returned to site for less than a week to finish up the first trimester of school. I was done with grading and recording, so I just sang Christmas carols with my students, which was awful. They were terrible. They knew the songs in Malagasy and I couldn’t get them to sing in English! They really motivated me to want to pack for vacation.
Now I’m in Tana. We just finished IST (In Service Training). My whole training group (minus Mike and Derek :*( ) reunited for the first time since August. It was really good to see everyone and talk and complain and drink and laugh and complain and repeat…
We went out on the town the first night we were in Tana. We went to a fancy restaurant and then out for salsa dancing. It was like we were in a different country and we all really enjoyed the momentary escape.
IST was basically useless, but that’s exactly what I was expecting. The times when we weren’t in sessions were great! We had some bonfires by Lake Mantasoa and drank lots. I found wine coolers, which were hilariously awful. Me, Megan, Sarah, Lauren, Brian, and Jeff had a good time in the big room. A lot of people were mampmararykibo by the food, but I’m used to marary kibo, so it didn’t bother me J. I feel like I have a lot to say about IST, but I’m using the computer instead of hanging out with my friends right now so I’m trying to wrap up my potentially long tales.
Last night we went to our favorite karaoke hotetly. Evan and I rocked out on “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “It’s Not Unusual.”
Tomorrow I’m leaving with an awesome group of people (Lauren, Megan, Kinsey, Brian, Sarah, and Lucy) to go on what is known as “the trail of tears”… it’s going to be an adventure, so I’ll leave you in suspense for stories of our travails in the North. We’re going to have so much fun, even if we have to get out of our taxi brousse and walk up muddy hills on our way to Antalaha. Brian and I have our fingers crossed for a cyclone party, but the others have different hopes :). If we’re lucky, we’ll be in Antalaha on Tuesday. Cheers!
Happy Holiday things…

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