Monday, July 20, 2009

Life is but a dream

Ok, really, I can’t complain. I manage to a lot, but it just feels good. In reality, life is going as well for me here as anywhere else I ever am.

The teacher training can be frustrating – “Click here…No, I said here... Yes, but now click… wrong button, it’s ok, go back…Too far, uhm… right, ok, now click here… I know you already clicked there, but really you need to move the mouse down about a millimeter and then click… yes, the hand, once it makes the hand.”

But really, the teachers are doing well and progressing much faster than I thought they would. They are kind and patient, even though communication can be an issue and what they’re dealing with is stressful for both them and me. Come to think of it, working with my parents and neighbors in the past has been a good introduction to this – we deal with just about the same problems.

People will get it. For the most part, they want to. For the other part, they have to. They realize that too.

It is a bit sad for me to think it, but people who can’t use computers are at a great disadvantage when compared to others in the world, not socially or culturally, but just in terms of job opportunities. Even in Senegal, ten years from now, when these kids – god willing – graduate high school, it seems like the only options available for people without computer skills will be mango sales and taxi drivers.

If you read the other blog, which I know you must, you will have already read this next bit, but Stephanie interviewed the principal here for a class writing-activity. In the interview, he gave the reason why he saw the computers to be important, stating, “Students need to know how to read, they need to know how to write, and they need to know how to use computers.” Later he continued:

“In the beginning, if you want to know how to use it, if you have the desire or drive, then it is easy. The teachers in the beginning were scared, they kept saying I'm going to break it. But, now they are getting it. In the end it doesn't matter if they are scared or not. Come October they have to use it in their classes and teach it to their class.”

Whether here at school or off in the ‘real-world,’ kids and teachers both will need to know how to use computers. It is a hard reality that I am coming to accept – this along with a few others. Still, as Pierre said, they are going to have to use the computers, but they are getting it. The latter part is encouraging. What I am doing here isn’t a waste of time or a forcing of foreign influence. While the foreign influence is certainly creeping in and may still hit them like a tidal wave, I’m simply helping build reinforcements so it doesn’t knock them down.

In the mean time, weekends are still nice to have off. If you can’t tell, I’ve been at the beach a lot. We started off Saturday with an early walk to the shore, leaving town in a different direction, through a more farmed part of the area. It was a great walk and much different scenery than we normally get, but the slightly extra distance meant that my calves didn’t completely avoid the midday sun. None the less, we made it in time for a great day at the beach.

I am lucky enough to have already made friends with someone who has a two room hut right on the water. It’s great to relax under his trees, talk with him when I can, and meet the other people who float in and out through the day – the lifestyle on the beach is incredibly open and communal, minus those trying to rip off the white people.

For dinner, Friday, we cooked rice and fresh fish and then about ten of us, including Eli, from my group, ended up staying in his hut. It was too great wake up to the waves and walk along the beach before taking a morning swim. The entire day I sat thinking about how dream-like life is here and that a piece of property like this costs about $4,000 US.

Ok, that is life for now. I’m trying to stay regular with this blog thing – and supposedly gaining some more readers if you who shall remain nameless are actually reading now. I’m interested to see if they finally tuned in.

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