Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012
For the past couple of mornings, I have woken up with a swollen right eye.  I felt pretty cool and intimidating for about five minutes, then it got annoying.  Cayla and I have concluded that I’m allergic to something in my bedroom, possibly the mosquito net or mold, because the puffiness is almost completely gone during the day.  I’m relocating to the living room with Sr. Loretta for a slumber party tonight.  Hopefully this will solve the problem because I’m quickly running out of Benedryl.  
I taught first and second period today.  It gets easier every day, and I’m learning better ways to teach the lessons.  It’s amazing how great it makes you feel as a teacher when students participate and ask questions.  I was afraid I was becoming a little bit like the teacher in Ferris Bueller, but maybe Miss Frizzle status is on the horizon.  After class, I took care of a few things for the essay contest.  I had downloaded relevant information for each student onto a cd in order to print it at the school, but of course they have the worst equipment and technology.  The computer didn’t even have a cd-rom drive, so another teacher disappeared for about an hour and came back with copies.  I’m not sure how it happened, but I was thankful.  I wrote an outline of questions and how to format an essay.  We’ll see how the students do when they hand in the papers tomorrow!
I got caught up talking with Jerome, a business teacher and the head of the finance committee.  He showed me a preliminary draft of Aligegeo’s five year plan.  They hope to refurbish or completely rebuild most of the facilities.  The dormitories where the students live are left over from WWII and are a sad sight.  The teachers’ room was completely flooded from the rains yesterday, soaking books and papers stored on the floor.  Other projects include a library, science lab, home economics room, dining hall, computer lab, etc.  It’s very overwhelming to digest everything that needs to be fixed and improved.  The finance committee is in the midst of developing an estimated budget.  It will be expensive and difficult to collect funding.  Jerome wanted to know if I could help raise money for their efforts.  Of course I will try to help, but it will be a matter of making sure the money goes into the right hands.  There is so much corruption, not only in the government (there was an election yesterday for a new representative for Parliament because the previous one was arrested on charges of stealing money), but with school staffs as well.  It would probably be most effective to donate supplies or send funds to Sr. Loretta to budget for the library or science lab.  The issues lie much deeper than not having enough money.  They involve acquiring the right materials, workers, and leadership.  Jerome’s explanations alerted me about the extensive work and time it takes to start rudimentary improvements.  He wants to retire in five years and is passionate about leaving the school better than he found it.
Cayla got home from the clinic at 1:45, so we got our things together and headed for town.  We caught the bus and stopped at the Telecom.  It was market time after that.  I had a big list of things that we’ll need for the next few days.  Along with the usual veggies, Cayla and I have been doing damage on the peanut butter, pineapple jam, and chili sauce so we bought reinforcements.  On Saturday, we are going to the beach for a picnic and also celebrating Richard’s birthday.  Richard is active in the parish and plays on the soccer team.  He is around Fanualama a lot, so Cayla and I are friendly with him.  Birthdays aren’t really celebrated in the Solomons, but Bishop Chris is going to host a little party for him after the picnic.  We bought ingredients for a basic cake, a soccer ball, and a backpack.  We were so excited to get Richard a few things that he ordinarily wouldn’t receive on his birthday.  Cayla and I saw Agatha, the housekeeper for Fanualama, in the market when we were at the jewelry table.  She picked out a bracelet for herself and promised to think of us when she wore it.  Weighed down by lots of groceries and gifts, we rode the bus back home.  

Cayla and I were motivated and did Insanity in the living room.  Quick showers, evening prayer, and it was dinner time.  Sr. Loretta was on duty at school, so the three of us chowed down.  One week later, I definitely feel at home here in Auki.

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