December 28, 2012

Dear Guys Who Stole My Laptop (and all my other cool stuff):

Hey guys.  I haven't seen you around since that one exciting night - the first time we met - so I thought I'd write you all a letter.  I'm hoping that you'll find my blog and read this letter as you browse the internet on your new Lenovo ThinkPad laptop.  I also posted on Craigslist in the Strictly Platonic section ("Down-to-earth guys in orange disintegrating John Cena shirts, heavily armed - m4mmmm"), just in case.

October 28, 2012

Sharting, Shibarfing, Shiliving


This Peace Corps blog would be incomplete without an entry about bowel movements.  Yep, those.  I am loath to write about it because I can think of nothing more self-deprecating, but the third-world BM is a necessity to relating the Peace Corps experience, as I’m sure my fellow volunteers will agree.  I am hoping that the aggregation of my posts by the end of my service will thoroughly capture the Peace Corps experience, and I would be remiss to ignore the Peace Corps BM.  So, let’s get this over with.

July 23, 2012

Barf Into My Clothes, Boy! Into My Clothes!


I've written before about what I called “bush magic” – e.g. my bush taxi has broken down in the middle of nowhere, it cannot be fixed, I’m stranded, I have no food, and then, like magic, a miraculous event extricates me from the situation.  What I didn’t mention is that bush magic isn’t free.  In my experience, it’s followed by a hardship that is, in my opinion, the universe’s way of collecting what’s owed.  It’s always the same pattern: stuck in the bush > miracle occurs > endure hardship > balance is restored.

July 21, 2012

Evil Meter Maid Nightmare


I’m still not clear on why I have dreams about zombies.  Possibly because I finished the new season of Walking Dead recently.  And then there's the mefloquine.  The evil meter maid is the main antagonist, although she's absent from most of the dream.  She only appears to remind me that she thinks I'm insane.

June 10, 2012

The Malagasy Truth Bomb


English Class Prep

I’ve been teaching English at the local high school for several months now.  I teach there twice a week, and each class is scheduled for two hours.  Two hours is a long time to stand in front of a classroom.  I prepare my lessons at the beginning of each week and, at this point, I’ve become pretty good at creating substantial and engaging lessons that fill the time allotted.

So, one Monday, I sat down to plan my lesson.  According to my twenty year old textbook, I was supposed to teach my students how to describe objects in detail.  I knew that I had to find something for the class to write descriptions about.  I found some things, but being unsatisfied with them, I decided I had a better idea.

So I went to class with nothing.  I taught the required vocabulary to my students – simple adjectives that they could use to describe things, how to construct descriptive sentences, etc.  We practiced the new vocab and I answered their questions, and then I divided them into groups for an exercise.

“Describe me, and when you’re finished, you’ll present your descriptions to the class,” I told them.  This way, I thought, I could teach them anatomical vocabulary too.  How innovative, I thought at the time.  The students set to work.

June 9, 2012

Full Power Will Own You


My Peace Corps counterpart has many sons.  When I first arrived here, he explained the meanings of the names he had given them.  He translated them for me, pointing each of them out, saying, “That’s Good Growth, that’s Blessing, that’s Heritage, that’s Power, that’s Full Power, and that’s Grandpa Power.”

My first thought was that Full Power was awesome and Grandpa Power was lame.  And what about Power?  Why doesn’t he get some specific kind of power, like Full or Grandpa?  Aren’t there any other kinds of power here?  Does that mean he inherently gets both, since the word “power” categorically refers to those sole two kinds?  Is he really Full Grandpa Power, but just goes by ‘Power’ because the ‘Full Grandpa’ makes his name redundant?