My first 2 1/2 weeks back in Ethiopia
I arrived in Addis at 8:45pm on the 13th of May and was greeted by a Peace Corps driver at the airport with a Peace Corps logo sign. Driving through the streets of Addis, as the cool night air hit my face felt wonderful. After sleeping half the next day, I headed to the Peace Corps office to be debriefed and I was a bit overwhelmed as it hit me that I was back in Ethiopia. The feeling really only lasted about a day though. I adjusted to this life once, I could do it again. My friend, Alex, was amazing enough to meet me in Addis so that my first bus headed to my site, was with great company. I really took a lot of my bus anxiety away. My second leg of my journey, alone, wasn’t terrible. I am still working on it though.
It is difficult to fully describe the feeling of being back in my town of Deneba, after over two months of being away. Coming back to lack of internet, repeating the same 6 foods every day, constant power outages, going full weeks without water, and going 24 hours or more without speaking to anyone in English, is an adjustment. But, I have been able to come back with fresh eyes and a fresh start. I was greeted by my community as if I were shiny and new. Invitations rolled in, even though before left, they had pretty much died out besides holidays.
The fresh start also gave me a new perspective with my students. I could have come back frustrated and overwhelmed by the fact that my classed had been taught sporadically throughout my 9 week absence. That in that time, my classes had covered about one out of the needed 5 chapters. Instead, I met with the teachers who had graciously covered my classes and made a plan for catching my students up.
I began teaching tutorial (make-up) classes every day after school. I taught only the grammar sections(the necessary part for Ethiopian tests) of each chapter. In two short weeks, my students were caught up with the other teachers and had covered what was to be on their final exam. I am now ready to use my final teaching week to only REVIEW for their final! In tutorial classes we have had a ton of fun as well. Since it is an extra class, I have used it to do activities we never have time for in class. We have played jeopardy, made art projects, played matching games, and done other fun things that they have really enjoyed. I know they are all worn out since it is the end of the semester, but they have attended my extra class!
Here are a few photos from one of my tutorial projects. We were making poster on the use of A, An, and The. It is always surprising to me how excited they get with art projects. They really get into them as class progresses. Some of the students who take control of art projects are my goof-off kids ordinarily, so that makes me very excited to see them participate in something more actively.
Until next time, Peace.