School’s Out For Easter

Yesterday was our last day of school before the Easter holidays, I taught my IT 6eme class in the morning and half way through my lesson (getting them to make powerpoints on their favourite footballer / wreastler / singer) some of my 5eme English students came in to see if they could ditch class at 10am, cheeky as ever. I refused of course and said that if they didn’t show up I would go to the principal. The class went pretty well, it was on arranging plans / accepting and refusing invitations and I even had a student join the class whose teacher is on strike. Mr Diop didn’t seem too keen in the end on me taking over his class as I guess it does sort of make him striking irrelevent. However, we’re able to do revision lessons for students that need them and if after the Easter holidays, the lycee still hasn’t started up, I’m definitely going to get another class or two at the CEM. I could teach more IT easily, but I’d rather do English and help out those who haven’t had lessons in months. I brought Awa some practice tests to do, which she found really difficult due to her teaching missing so many classes. She was fine with the 5eme test but the 4eme and 3eme ones were a lot harder. The 3emes, 4emes and 6emes have all done their rounds in the English competition now and there was lots of support from their classmates, maybe a hundred kids or so showed up for each match, which was really encouraging. I went to another English club in a different middle school last week and the week before with Abdoulaye Ba, our neighbour who is in his first year at the lycee. He said that last year they did the Hokey-Kokey with the volunteers and he wanted to do it again, so I taught it to the students and we did it with our English club in the primary school too. After Easter, the CEM are doing a play on equality between the sexes. Our friend Alphonse said that he’s started working at the port in a factory due to there being no lessons in the lycee. Apparently the factory is full of students who aren’t able to go to school because of the strikes.

Took Marieme to school the other day on my bike and she managed to get her ankle caught on something, which resulted in her crying hysterically for about an hour and watching Dora until she felt ready to be walked back to school. Had other nightmare with my bike yesterday, Julia and I cycled home from our first Batik class with Samba and the kids from Caritas (our neighbourhood) ran to meet us and one of them ran straight into my bike leaving me no time to break, so I took her to the shop and bought some sweets to stop her crying. Shocked me so much I screamed at the same time she did. Luckily she didn’t have a scratch, it was more just the shock of being mowed down.

Our maid Sally (aged fourteen) got married last week. Aicha told us that lots of young girls in the neighbourhood are getting married or engaged, as they’re getting pregnant and Sally’s mother wanted her to have a husband before she ended up with a baby. Luckily Sally’s still able to work here though, so it’s not put too much of a strain on everyone doing the housework. Julia had the German club over the other day for a traditional German food day. We all prepared potato salad and marble cake, which went really well and Herr Fall brought over some German board games. I was marking my 5eme tests at the same time and giving those who got 17 or more out of 20 stickers. The students were really confused about stickers and what they symbolised. I guess it just seems like such a normal thing for us.

Woke up feeling very ill last Monday and went with Julia to the hospital at 8 o’clock. Instead of going private and paying an extra few pounds, I decided to go to the general hospital and ended up regretting it majorly as we waited there until midday before I was informed that I had tonsillitus and had to spend 20 quid on medicine.

Last Thursday Julia and I went with Aicha to Mbour for a Macky Sall political rally. It was absolutely heaving like a gig in a stadium and people were pushing and shoving trying to get into the seating area. The police actually used gas to make people back off. We couldn’t believe it when we smelt the gas and everyone started coughing and hurridly moving away. Julia felt pretty faint so we moved further back and just watched the speeches on the big screens. The second round of elections is tomorrow and if there aren’t too many riots, we’re heading to Kaolack on Monday. Been getting a lot more proposals and propositions from the locals recently, so we’re looking forward to leaving Joal for a bit… A teacher was trying to get me to set him up with Julia yesterday! Couldn’t help but laugh.

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