Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving at school

Here are some pix from our thanksgiving celebration. Xavier was our excellent narrator. We had some help from some 5th and 6th graders for the act. They did well even though they were really nervous. yes, that boy doesnt have no shirt! he's in my class and i thought it was the best costume for an indian. at least he DID wear pants! yikes!
And my small cute class, minus one, eating a typical Thanksgiving feast! They pulled through and brought all the things I asked them too! it was a lot of fun!

Panqueqes y Elecciones...ole!

Aren't those the most beautiful pancakes you've ever seen? And I made them!( Well, with a little help from Aunt Jamima herself). they look just like the one's on the box, just what i've always wanted. I had time to fix them finally on a day off for Thanksgiving.
The other picture is from my balcony of the street during elections. A lot of people were lined up on the left all day to vote. The red party, Mel, won. He's who I would've voted for if I could've, but I don't know why. Red is my favorite color, though.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Soccer and Thanksgiving

We went to a real FUTBOL game in Tegucigalpa the day after Thanksgiving. The red lights are the flares held by the crazy people who had their own section. there were'nt any other crazy people in any other section.
Thanksgiving was wonderful this year with all the trimmings made by Jeanne on the far left. Her husband is president of Baxter and she made everything and invited americans living and visiting here, and a couple of girls who are married to students here (one on the far right).

Another bathroom

But this is from the hotel in San Salvador, El Salvador where we went for our little vacation. Read the blog below for more info. You can see the lock on the OUTSIDE of the door, and the shower pipe going up the wall, with the nice invisible separator between it and the toilet. nice.

The Bucket Brigade

A typical scene once one enters the bathroom. Pick a bucket, any bucket, to wash yourself!!! The possibilities of ugly buckets are nearly endless, unfortunately. but fortunately, at least one can be found now adays!

Feliz Cumpleanos

This is karen, the girl who used to be "Cinderella" of the house. She's so sweet. i don't think she'd ever had a pinata, maybe not a party even like this, with pizza and cake. it was real fun. We did have a "Hello Kitty" pinata and beat the crap out of it. That made for a real great afternooon.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Living it up!

Upstairs, that is. As I have mentioned other happenings in the house before, I decided to write again, at the encouragement of others. I have been a little skeptical about whether i should or not. I don´t want to make it sound worse than it is, but I ain´t gunna sugar coat nothin neither!
I did promise some pictures in a recent blog but the feature wasn´t working and as I can´t do it now, pictures will have to wait, but i do have some good ones saved up!
I´ve been living with a pastor and his family since late August. It was pretty good at first, and I still am thankful that there is water, although it´s sporadic, that I have a bed, though a little uncomfy for my bad back, a room, though i have no lock or door, and therefore no real privacy, electricity, food, and cable, which means shows, although out of date and with subtitles, in english!
Recently, however, i´ve taken more than i can bare. There were 4 women family members staying awhile, one of whom is 27 and mentally retarded. She was also treated like Cinderella by the rest of the clan, literally, screaming and all. The five year old ruled the TV, nearly all day long, and I couldn´t exactly sit down with her. She wasn´t a huge fan of Friends or Gilmore Girls.
The mother, eh, ¨wicked stepmother¨, rather, was hardly ever home and left her five year old and fifteen year old girls in the charge of the mentally slow woman. No names will be mentioned to protect the innocent. When she was home, she yelled at others to do things for her from her room where she moped. Clothes of mine, jewelry, and food was taken by one of them. They have sinced moved out...across the street, but we don´t see much of them anymore.
Now I have more mice, cockroaches, and gnats to keep me company, all of which are just about as welcome as the former family. My food still gets taken but they, the pastor and his family, have my permission since they are letting me live there free, although i´d rather not them drink my only 2 pepsi´s left in the fridge, or ALL my macaroni that i had planned on eating when i got home.
As I said, sometimes there is water, but usually not. I have to get it out of the huge sink outside but it´s dirty after sitting there for over a week. I´ve begun to heat up my water though lately which has been nice since it´s been cold here lately, like in the low 70´s. But colder at night and early morning when it´s bath time.
I am hoping to move out in January, where I can sit in my living room without getting 20 bites on my leg in 15 minutes. I only have three weeks left where i am at, then i go to guatemala for 3 weeks. When i get back i hope to move. I am praying for a place just big enough for me with a kitchen I can cook and clean my dishes in. I´d rather not leave my dirty dishes with food int he kitchen to invite all the critter´s that want to join me. No gracias!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You don't see this everyday

Yesterday as I walked to school as usual, I saw something, or someone, quite unusual...a naked lady. and of course, once again i didn't have my camera! seriously, yes, I didn't know what to think. This had never happened to me before, which is weird being from southern california. i couldn't believe my eyes, was i dreaming? what do i do? help her? give her a sweater? she did have underwear on, but not even shoes. She didn't try to cover herself or walk fast or hide herself. I do hope that I don't ever see a naked man walking on the way to school!

San Salvador

The capital of El Salvador...Amber and I have to leave the country for our Visa's every three months, so we went together to just relax. We didn't know anything about it really or where we would stay, but knowing it's the capital we were sure we'd find something, and were willing to put out about $40 per night for hotel. We didnt' know what there was to see and didn't really want to wear ourselves out sightseeing, so we planned on staying in and reading or what not.
It started with a great, comfy bus trip complete with pancakes and juice, and Pepsi! On the way back it wasn't as satisfying as they served us a quesadilla and Twinkie for breakfast. The breakfast of Champions, eh mom and dad? The seats were way more comfortable than on an airplane, although the service wasn't quite as nice. One stewardess got a little upset with me for putting my water bottle in the overhead bin, which really isn't a bin since there's no door protecting things from falling out. Afterwards, I fell asleep only to be woken up by the two stewardesses talking about me putting my waterbottle up top. I went back to sleep and when i woke up again it was gon! oh the orror! someone stole my nalgene with an in n out sticker! but alas, it was on the back seat safe and sound.
When we arrived we asked a worker at the bus station for a hotel that wasn't ugly(literally the word in spanish) but isn't too expensive. He told us about a place around the corner that cost $15 dollars a night. We walked away thinking, ok probably not going to be as nice as we want, but let's see. Well, we ended up staying and only paid $8 a night!!!!! So much money left over for foood!!! We even had cable, from the states! ya hoo! we spent almost half our vacation watching TV!
We dropped our stuff off and then went the mall, yes, a mall, which is 3 times bigger than the mall in Teguc. It was huge! We walked around so much just looking for a map of the place, of which there was only one! Que feo! How ugly! We just browsed and then took "home" pizza hut for dinner while we watched our cable.
The next day we slept in and spent the whole day at the mall again, eating, trying on beautiful dresses that we couldn't afford, went to a movie, ate, etc.
Here's a picture of our bathroom. Everything all together without a barrier between them. and the funny thing that you can't see is that the lock is on the OUTSIDE of the door! huh?
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lo siento

so, there were parent teacher conferences last saturday where we gave the parents the report cards. another ¨rule¨from the minister of educ., to meet on saturdays´. not! since the director says so much the minister requires us to do, i aksed for a copy of hte rules so we could know what we need to do. i´ve yet to be shown them or see any posted anywhere in school like i suggested. hmm...
so some parents came who i didnt expect to come, and now wish they hadnt, but what happened was mostly my fault.
every friday we send home weekly report cards with grades. wel, up until the last 2 weeks, i thought they were only to report behavior and i didnt put much thought into them. so this one kid in 4th grade had mostly excellents every week. bbut his final grades, which were mostly avaraged from tests, were horrible. the parents were shocked, understandably, and i felt horrible. i kept telling them over and over the truth, and they kept asking the same questions over and over, then complained to the director, which i didn´t know about till yesterday. but she didnt seem to upset and my honest explanation was acceptable. so now i have to keep better in contact with these parents everyweek and include everything, not just behavior.
tomorrow we´ll be having a pizza and movie party for good behavior. i love my fourth graders!
please pray for them, some of them are really slow academically, but for the most part, sweetharts!


Let me get this straight...you want us to...LIE...to the parents?
This was my question to our director at our meeting last friday. The high schoolers are failng most of their classes and so that the government won´t shut the school down, she wanted us to tell the parents a different grade and then change their grades so that they wouldn´t fail, or at least maybe they could fail with a 59 instead of a 18. no lie, there were grades that low. the kids are lazy, don´t study or do homework. teachers work hard, but i don´t think they should work harder than the students. at least it should be equal.
I said, ¨no i can´t do that. i´m not going to lie.¨i was in shock. What? come again?! i´m much more vocal and confident in our meetings now after my meeting with the director ...see previous blog...
another teacher spoke up and agreed that was wrong...duh, doesn´t take a Christian!...but maybe we could do a curve so that they kids with the highest grades could pass.
Ă–Rrrrrr...said the director, we could keep the real grades on the report card for the school to see and send other higher grades to the minister of education so that the school won´t shut down.
um, sorry, not doing that either. how about we tell the truth, because the kids earned these grades by doing nothing, and we can´t let them get away with it. call me an idealist but maybe that´s what the school needs, to start afresh with the kind of kids we want in here.
in the end i agreed to give the kids another opportunity by giving them extra work, and if they did it all they could raise their grades.we´ll see how many turn it in!

What a relief

Well, i don´t know how much i´ve expressed about my director over the blog but something happened last week that i want to share. in case i´ve not shared much, in brief, it´s a very stressful environment and many of the teachers i talk to are unhappy. last thursday a note came to my classroom via secretaria, another interruption i try to avoid by having a sign on my door that read ¨do not enter¨in spanish and english, because so many people were entering during lessons for stupid reasons that could wait. but alas, i guess somehow people got hired without being literate and continue to ignore the sign. So anywho, the secretary brings a note that says there will be an emergency meeting from 2.30 to 3.00 about grades, because report cards were about to come out. i am so tired of the director calling things at the last minute and i didnt want to sign it, which is why the secretary came in, so before signing i wrote a note showing my annoyance at this once again event. about 10 min. later another note came saying the meeting would be cancelled till the next day since some teachers had prior arrangements. i didnt really have prior arrangements and i didnt say i did in my note, but apparently other teachers complained too.
now, we usually meet afterschool thursdays to plan, discusss the week, etc. but i knew this ¨20minute¨meeting would set us back at least another 30 minutes, and i had no planning to do and didnt want to stay.
so the director comes to my room after school very buffed and it began what ended up being a 90 minute ¨talk¨about all the things i don´t like about her and working there. but i was able to say it calmly in a discussion format, to speak honest answers to her questions, and she took them in stride. she also said a lot of things i don´t need to go into boring details about, things i´m not sure i believe because she´s done so much stuff in the past that has led me to distrust and disbelieve almost anything she says, especially promises to do things by a certain time.
after ward, i felt so much better and was glad i´d stayed to talk, although part of me wondered if she kept me out of spite since in didnt want to stay for the 20 minute meeting. not much has changed and i still don´t particularly like her, but it´s a much more enjoyable and peaceful environment, at least for now.