So I’ve been at site for a month now, and it has taking some getting used to the fact that this is where I will be for the next two years. I love my site here on the East Coast of Madagascar. It’s about to be the start of the hot season here. I always forget what month I’m in because it feels like summer back home in Buffalo.
Listening to the waves of the ocean from my house at night never gets old; it’s a very soothing way to fall asleep. Living on the school compound and hearing all the students arrive before 6:30 in the morning is not my favorite wake up call (but it is better than the roosters around 4:30). The sandy roads here lead to sand everywhere, the constant cleaning of feet, and the checking for fleas who have dug their way into my feet. (I’ve had two so far).
Then there’s the guessing game of whether or not water will come out of the shower head, or if it’ll last the entire length of the shower. There’s also the slow, peering around into the shower to make sure there are no unwanted bugs beforehand. I constantly keep an eye on the drain ever since the one time a wet, either large mouse or small rat appeared at my feet as I was fighting the shampoo in my eyes. There’s nothing like jumping out of the shower, soaking wet, shampoo in hair, broom in hand, praying it’ll find its way back down the drain (and to never return), as it slides all over the place, trying to find its way. Once it was close enough to the drain, I pushed it back down with the broom, and quickly finished my shower.
I teach at the public CEG (the middle school) twice a week to 6th graders. It’s their first time learning English. I have three sections, around 45 students in each class. Classes are two hours long, but they always fly by so fast. Teaching the same thing three times a day forces me to keep class interesting and fun, both for me and the students. The best part of it all is seeing them finally get it. They love coming up to me in the market or on the street to say ‘good morning/afternoon’. They’re so happy to say it, that it brings a smile to my face. It also can bring frustration when they say ‘good morning’ in the afternoon, but I’ll take what I can get.
My afternoon class unfortunately always gets their class cut short once the sun goes down and the classroom is too dark to see. The class is full of constant opening and closing of windows and doors, either for light or because the sun is too hot. Then there’s the moving of seats around 5:15, when the light is necessary to see, but too hot to sit under.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been placed in a site where the previous volunteers did an amazing job because the students, teachers, administrators, and everyone in the town are very welcoming to Peace Corps. Both the teachers and the students want to improve their English. I’m in the perfect place to jump right and keep the learning going.