His eyes told the story. Empty, frightened, confused. And he wasn't saying a word. As I knelt by his mattress on the floor of the two-roomed mud and tin house in the back streets of Kolfe a stone's throw from Bingham, I felt pretty helpless. I was also being watched. In addition to Theresa and Dawid who had brought me here, there were at least half a dozen more people in the room, and double that in the yard outside. All worried. All concerned. I needed a story and Dawid was translating, but Yalew would say nothing. As best as I could I checked him over.
Imagine sitting in a three-person swing seat, moving gently. The sun is shining and there is a slight breeze. Two little boys (one American, one Ethiopian) are sitting beside you as you read a story. No Supply teachers are available here so when a teacher is absent requests are made for volunteers to use their planning time to cover classes. On this occasion it was 'learning support', hence the small number. We had completed the comprehension exercise that was set, and read a play. The final instruction was a story. Teaching in Africa has its perks.
It had to happen. I've had a normal week. Nothing abnormal (apart from the African Union meeting causing the traffic to grind to a halt) has happened.
The Tesfye Birhan girls came to Bingham as usual this Thursday from 4.30 to 6.00pm. The venue was the grade five classroom where a snack was prepared for them. Usually it's popcorn, half a banana and a cup of water. This week the popcorn was replaced by chocolate cake with icing sugar on top. They were more tentative about trying this. A couple of the younger girls put their finger in the icing sugar, licked it, then made a face. There wasn't much cake left over at the end however, so they overcame their reticence. While they ate they listened to a Bible story.
Blogging this week has presented me with a few challenges.
One thing I didn’t expect in the middle of Africa was some quality professional development training. We received two days-worth on ‘Authentic Enquiry and Disciplinary Literacy’. A whole new world of jargon opened up to describe literacy features (mentor authors, graphical brushstrokes, linear rays and crafting leads) which are familiar to Americans. Brits I discovered, have their own unique set of terms for the same features.
I wonder when we'll have a normal week? Just when you thought Christmas was over another holiday happens. We took the usual days off over Christmas and New Year (the British ones - Americans don't do Boxing Day but we did), then the Ethiopian "Gena" happened (7th January), then this Monday there was another holiday. It wasn't entirely clear that it would be Monday or Tuesday until the last minute, but Monday it was so the clinic was closed.
Remember those two "cows" Chris saw after the SLC whilst doing washing at Bingham? Well they were bulls. Haile my now permanent taxi driver tells me they are oxen.
Looking at the BBC storm warnings for the UK recently, prompted me to blog about the weather here in Addis which I still appreciate every day. Since we arrived in November, the weather has remained the same. Usually cloudless blue sky and sunshine. There is a big contrast in temperature between shade and sunshine, so we dress for a British summer but with extra layers to wear indoors.