Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Learning Portuguese, and Also Some English

We are approaching the end of the first trimester of school and I can’t believe it. I feel my effectiveness as a teacher has improved but still has a far way to go. I feel my Portuguese has significantly developed but again, still has some room for further improvement, as evidenced by the pedagogical director blatantly insulting my “inability” to speak Portuguese in front of about 2500 students as I was announcing my informational meeting for the girls youth group I am starting at our school. But aside from this mishap, and the concomitant issues I had with my students semi-rudely correcting me during class that day, I had over 50 girls show up to ask me more about my group. So I guess I did indeed get the message across. We have our first meeting on Wednesday and I’m hoping for the best. The program I am starting is volunteer-run nationally throughout Peace Corps Mozambique, but Gurué has just never had a group. It is called REDES (Raparigas para Educação, Desenvolvimento, e Saude- or Girls for Education, Development, and Health) and though we have yet to officially decide on our group’s focus, we will probably do a variety of things like sports, theatre, HIV/AIDS awareness, community volunteering, or perhaps even an income generation project like sewing or building a chicken coop. I am pretty excited about it. Should be fun.

Best ride of the many I have gotten in my recent travel to Ilha de Moçambique (Mozambique Island, what used to be the capital before Maputo and an awesome beach and historical landmark) and other places:
-A work truck that stopped every 5 minutes to run a generator they were towing behind them to measure some unidentifiable quantity on a computer inside the truck, turning a 2-hour ride into a 4-hour ride, but it was free, raining, and I was safe and dry inside. Success!

Also, pineapple and avocado season is ending, which breaks my heart. But we are now entering orange season, though I must note that the word in Portuguese for orange is laranja for both the color and the fruit, and yet surprisingly, the "laranjas" are green. I don't get it. 

Our second unit in class was relationships. Instead of giving them a test to evaluate their knowledge, I assigned a composition where they had to choose one person in their life with whom they have a relationship (family member, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, teacher, etc) and use all the grammar points and vocab we had learned to write any number of things for a composition. As much fun as grading 240 English language learners’ essays are, I would like to share with all of you the best of the best statements proclaimed by my lovely students prior to any corrections.

“Her fat is beautiful”

“He is my land god”

“She tall, clear, black eyes, big foot”

“I came by this way just to speak about my best friend. I consider him as a brother and this young angel I’m talking about studies here in this school…”

“My husband advises that I cannot have other guys”

“My father her name is Paulino”

“Just now that we are students she must use the condom to prevenir of the different sicks and others situations by example HIV/AIDS”

“Our relationship is very simple and well because we love each other all days”

“I grow up in his hands”

“He likes to spend his rich time computering”

“She treats her sweetheart as he enjoys”

“He has 16 years old and walks very sad because smoking leave he very tired”

“He give advice. Not have more than 2 girlfriends”

“The tongues that she speaks are: Portuguese, Cisena and Inglesh”

“We listen to music’s and sometimes we drink bears”

From the two essays about me, since I told them they could interview me if they wanted:

“My Teacher Ana he is honest, friendly, and funny” (and clearly also a man…)

“Our Teacher Ana is fair because she treats everybody the same and does not have any favourites” Boo-yah.


  1. I started busting up at "My father her name is Paulino."

    Classic. Love you teacher Ana, I love you all days!!

  2. I just got back from visiting Emory University (in Atlanta) for their Public Health Grad Program. There were SO MANY return peace corps volunteers. They were all really cool. It made me miss you!