Sunday, July 22, 2012

Winter Is Coming

[this was written a month ago, totally forgot to put it up]

Well actually winter is officially here this side.  As always, the weather in Luderitz is different compared to winter of the rest of Namibia, but it is still definitely a marked change. There is A LOT of fog/mist these days, and noticeably less wind. The intensity of the fog makes me feel like I’m on the set of a bad horror movie as I walk to and from school sometimes. It’s not that it’s crazy cold, it’s just that it never gets warm. I miss heating. The past few nights I have worn socks, leggings, pants, a shirt, a sweatshirt, and been inside a sleeping bag under sheets and two comforters in order to stay warm.  Then I wake up at 3 am and am extremely hot. I swear it’s colder inside my house than it is outside, don’t really know why. But as any true Buchter will tell you about the weather here, Luderitz has 4 seasons in a day! It will be super cold in the morning, then get surprisingly nice in the early afternoon, then the fog/mist will roll in with a drop in temperatures, and then it gets cold again. Despite my best efforts at staying healthy, these rapid weather changes have finally gotten me sick along with about half my learners.

Anyway, things have really picked up here in Luderitz. I think the theme of Term 1 can be called “Survive” and now this term it is “crazy busy ahh!” I’m so glad I stuck out the challenges of last term, because while classroom management continues to be challenging, things have gotten SO much better. The first week of school this term I switched classrooms to the one right next to the office, and adopted a new classroom management strategy introduced way back in PST [at the time I thought it was completely insane and way too strict]. I don’t know if it was one of those changes or I’ve gotten better at dealing with learners being rude to me, or a combination, but the change is like night and day compared to last term. It’s AWESOME. Things are starting to fall into place and I now definitely understand why Peace Corps asks for two years. So back to what I’m up to after school these days:

-       First off, during week 1 of the term the smartest girl in Grade 7 approached my colleague and I mid-conversation and asked what we thought about starting a debate club. After meeting with her and hearing her very articulate vision for the team, now I’m heading up a debate team, and there are about 35 kids so far who are interested. We had our first meeting a couple days ago, and it was amazing. I can’t believe what a difference there is between Grade 7 and Grade 6 learners – not only are they like a foot taller, but we had a really productive conversation about topics they want to debate, one that could never have happened in any of my classes. The group is really enthusiastic about debating controversial issues in Namibia and I can’t wait to see where this goes. If any friends with debate experience are reading this I’d love input/advice!
-       Second, we officially opened the library last week! So far I’m really happy with how well the prefects are doing at running it and checking in/out books for the learners. The one thing we’re doing in the coming weeks is assigning grades particular days to go get books – the library space is WAY too small [like the size of a small college dorm room] and there is A LOT of learner interest.  The first day there was a line of 25 kids waiting to go inside, and we hadn’t even announced that we were opening it. This week the lines are going to be madness. At a school with 970 learners, this is going to cause problems in the long run, but we’re making it work for now.
-       Really sad to say that the other two volunteers in Luderitz are about to leave! One of them goes home to America at the end of this week, and the other moves up north in the middle of July. So since this is happening, they have recruited and trained several Namibians to take over and continue their projects. Yay sustainability! One of the projects is a girls’ group, and I along with two other teachers at Diaz have become facilitators. Most of the girls in the group are in Grade 6/7 at Diaz, so the group is now going to be meeting at the school once a week. I’m really looking forward to this project. After having attended a few meetings already, it brings me back to the good old days of SR.
-       After getting these three things on solid ground I’m going back to the World Map Project idea, working towards opening up the computer lab for typing/IT classes, and developing an educational community recycling project with the science teachers. So in sum, life has gotten very very busy, but in the BEST way possible. Peace Corps is definitely a roller coaster, but right now things seem to be going up in the right direction!

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