Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Breaking the Sound Barrier

The title of this entry was inspired by tonight's air show. A certain entity decided to create "sound bombs" by doing fly overs and purposefully breaking the sound barrier. Sound bombs kind of sound like bombs, or at least like a plane is about to crash into your house. Its quite obnoxious and unnecessary.

There have been several things I have learnt recently that have added to my frustrations with this entity. I already mentioned the burning of the olive groves, which happens frequently apparently. In fact, one of the other teachers witnessed and has photos of such an event.

There are other things too...I'm trying to remember. It really is a lot worse than people realize. And whats more, it affects their daily mentality. For example, I learned Palestinians rarely take the same route everyday as a survival mechanism...so as not to be tracked/hunted. Not that its necessarily an everyday threat for everyone, but apparently that has normalized into their culture from the past I assume, when Nablus was a heated "battleground." I'll have to look more into that and see if it holds true. I wouldn't doubt it though. Looking at graffiti and other forms of statements, you get a feel for what living out daily life is like for the people here. I wish I could remember everything, but it is late here, and I don't sleep very well yet...still getting my body's clock in tune.

I live in a relatively nice part of a refugee camp, which is essentially buildings built where tents were originally. BUT I have now seen the less nice parts, and probably have yet to see the worst. One of my afternoon girls when I teach at the refugee camp (a different one than the one I live in) is essentially a street girl. She has a "home" and "parent" but pretty much roams free and does as she pleases--something you can kind of gather by her appearance. She is sooo cute and eager to learn though, as are all the kids at the refugee camp.
My favorite is a little boy named Mohamed. He is probably about 7 or 8 but really small for his age. He has the biggest missing teeth smile and he uses it a lot! The best is when he agrees with something or wants something and says "yesss yess yess yess" and nods his head definitively. Even when he is being snarky and says the wrong answer to be silly...I have a hard time keeping a straight face. Its tough to teach though. I started today. Taking over one of the classes (with no materials today). They speak in Arabic which is a HUGE no no by our policy, and I have to tell them not to and give them "Xs"...4 and you go home for the day....I definitely ignored a lot today, but I do need to be tougher.

I started teaching half of the 2 hour class for my 5,6,7 grade kids too at the private school. So how it works for English is that grades 5,6,7 are grouped together and then separated by levels of comprehension and ability. I am with the lowest of this group. There are first graders that do better than them. And they have HUGE discipline issues when it comes to not talking in class and not throwing things at each other, even when I am watching them! These are relatively affluent kids as Pioneers is the best private school in town.
However, I definitely love them already. There are a few that, even though their disobedient, are sooooo sweet too. They need stability, and someone who will be there for them. Their first teacher quit, then they had an interim teacher, then a third teacher who got fired, then the same interim teacher and now me. So they have been tossed about a bunch. And apparently in Palestine the smart kids are the cool kids, and the not so smart kids are the not so cool kids....so they have that to deal with too. My goal is to find a way to motivate them to learn and behave. Easier said than done I'm sure, and Im afraid we got off on the wrong start. Today was literally a mess. I got out of the class looking like I just came out of boot camp.

I should go to bed. At least I got a few things down though. Tata for now!
I almost forgot to mention!!! Lats night my neighbors showed me two family wedding videos!! It was sooo interesting and fun to watch! So much fun and dancing!!
Additionally, I was in a shared cab with two adults and three kids (all in the back of a regular sized cab). Anyways I decided to smile at the 10 month old boy and the dad as soon as that plops him on my lap....which caught me off guard but was totally enjoyable as the chubby cheeked- big brown eyed boy was INCREDIBLY cute!!!

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