Monday, December 28, 2009

One year plus later...

I'm out of the Peace Corps, but back in the Gambia. Life is easier than it was the last time I posted - I live 5 minutes from the beach, for one thing, and not the River Gambia tar beach. It's a little quieter, too - not nearly as many neighbors, and not so many minor adventures.

However, it's the end of 2009, and I'd like to put up some pictures. A little year in review, if you will.
The end of my street during the rainy season.
Thanksgiving in my living room. Peace Corps people and a couple of American visitors, who were no doubt a little less excited by the turkey and cranberry sauce than we were. The hand-turkey wreath at right has stayed up and warms my heart daily. The house plant at left is still alive, a testament to the knowledge of Ebrima the plant guy - he rightly steered me away from buying anything "not strong." Note also the 2 couches and numerous chairs -that's 2 more couches and a lot more chairs than I had a year ago.
Above-mentioned house plant, being loaded for shipment. Now that I look at it, I can see that Ebrima took better care of it than I'm doing. At least it's surviving, though.

My friend and neighbor Ellie made turkey rolls! (Those are rolls in the shape of a turkey, not rolls with turkey inside. Look closely - she even gave them little skinny legs.)

My classroom (the middle door), all done up for the holidays. Colleen (the door on the right) and I went all elementary-school multicultural - from left, we have papel cortado, prayer flags, and Chinese-style lanterns. On the far left is our assistant, Mr. Allen, who actually hung all that up. And in front are some mango and eucalyptus trees, which help contribute year-round to the back block's Secret Garden/100 Years of Solitude feel.

The inside of half my classroom, set up for our first-ever publishing party. The kids looked at different currencies and wrote books about them, which they then read aloud in thoroughly adorable fashion. (I won't post pictures of them publicly, but email me if you want proof.) As part of the usual classroom set up, we have (from left) class rules, pictures of baseball (we started playing Baseball Multiplication - thanks, Everyday Math! - and I realized that some of my kids have never seen a baseball I was a little shaky on the concepts of innings and at-bats, too), the world map, the word wall, and the single most fascinating machine the kids have ever seen: the overhead projector. Old school. On top of the chalkboard is our nascent Nifty Thrifty Fifty list - holla, fans of Patricia Cunningham! I know you're out there.

I just got back from a trip to Sierra Leone, which generated a lot more beautiful and dramatic pictures than your average week in the G, but also made me realize that this place too is unique and pretty darn neat. So, watch this space for more beauty and also for more ordinary cool things. Also coming soon: instructions on how to make your very own Book Suit. Stay tuned.