The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training


I woke up this morning in a fog, both literally and figuratively. I woke a few minutes before my phone alarm went off, aware enough to know that I really didn’t want to get out of bed but also to know that I had a class first thing. So after hitting snooze once I got up, stumbled around, had bread and butter for breakfast (my first loaf of NYT bread here: somewhat successful, but I couldn’t get the “oven” hot enough so it’s a little underdone) and dressed.

The view from the windows was soft grey as far as I could see. Everything past my porch had disappeared. By the time I walked over to the school it had cleared somewhat, and later when it cleared from town it was beautiful to watch the clouds sneaking around the neighboring mountains.

When I got to school, both the outer iron door and the inner wooden door to the computer lab were unlocked and open. Which was odd: usually I’m the one to unlock them when I arrive in the morning. And then I got a look inside the lab.

For a good minute I was convinced that I’d somehow found the wrong room, or that I was dreaming. The computers had disappeared; the tables had been pulled out into a rectangle formation. I entered the lab, totallly baffled, and saw that the computers were still there, stacked on a few desks against the wall. Every cable had been disconnected and was in a pile next to one of the desks. I put my things down and went to find someone to ask. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be teaching my morning classes.

I ran into my mkuu (headmaster), who told me that the Minister of Education was staging a surprise visit (he later called it an “ambush”) and they needed a room to hold the meeting. Fine, reasonable enough. The meeting was short, maybe half an hour. The minister said some very reasonable things: that math education is a problem here (it is), that having labs in schools is important (it is), that the students should use condoms when they have sex (very progressive of him, I thought. This point was elided when his remarks were summarized in a staff meeting later). At least, I’m pretty sure he said all those things. My Swahili speech-comprehension skills are not all they could be.

Then he left and I found myself facing the seemingly-overwhelming job of reassembling my lab pretty much from scratch. Some students helped me move the tables, UPSes, and monitors back, and then I hooked up all the computers and re-wired the network. It only took a couple hours but now I’m tired and still pissed off that they took apart my lab without telling me. I went home for lunch and then the rain began, so I’m not going back today. My project for next week is to clone all the computers, but first I have to spend some quality time with the Internet (hopefully that will be possible in Bulongwa).


Comment from kit
Time January 24, 2009 at 11:12 am

If you want me to do some research on cloning them and send you resources, I’d be happy to.

Comment from Mair
Time January 25, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Hey friend – we follow your doings in foreign lands with admiration. We bundled up a package of this and that. It was put in the post maybe 10 days ago (before we came out to OKC – a very strange land). Here’s hoping you see it soon and that, without being nostalgia-making, it smells like home. NYT bread is always an up-lift, even if a little underdone.

Comment from Grandmom
Time January 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

Dear Marie,
Just posted a package to you. It is just socks and chocolates. I have a “80 Piece Art Set” with watercolor paints, colored markers, colored pencils, crayons, oil pastels and misc. other things. Should I send it soon?

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