Extra classes started this week, and the kids aren’t any happier about it than I am. Jenrika asked them if they had a good break, and they all just stared at us and then grumbled. When she asked if anyone did anything fun, they all said no and “we only had a week!”. Eek. I don’t blame them though. I thought that they had a week off, two weeks of extra classes, and another week off, but I was wrong. They had just that one week off and now have THREE weeks of extra classes before the “holiday” is over. Yeah, they definitely have a right to grumble. Everyone else in the school gets a month off, and they get a week. Brutal.

I thought it was hard teaching on a normal school day, but the extra classes are even worse because it’s THREE hours of the same class. If I didn’t have Jenrika to split the time with me, I would be losing my mind. Even so, by the end of each school day (noon), I just want to collapse into my bed and sleep until morning.

We were with class 10 for the first three days and used the time to tackle Julius Caesar. Shakespeare is hard enough for students when English is their first language… so we knew that we had some struggles ahead of us. The first day was a total nightmare. It’s like the technology gods were conspiring against us. We wanted to show the movie first so that the kids could be introduced to the plot that way, and we would fill in the gaps and details later.

The “conference room” where the kids pretend they’re not falling asleep because its dimly lit and I sweat excessively from the heat of the projector.

The video file refused to play on the smartboards, so we eventually stopped trying and relocated to the chapel to play it on the projector there. Okay, great! We got it to play… but the sound didn’t work. I got my bluetooth speaker and connected it to my computer (since we didn’t have the cable to connect the chapel computer directly to the speaker), and we tried to press play at the exact same time on both computers so that the sound and video would match. So the chapel computer was playing the video on the projector, and my computer was playing the sound on my bluetooth speaker. Ideal, right? If you’re thinking that’s the end of the struggle, think again.

With about 40 minutes left, the power went out… which means the projector stopped running. At that point, I was determined to finish the stupid movie. I just wanted to get it over with so that we could move on and never have to deal with the video file again. My horrible solution? I held up my tiny computer and had the kids crowd around for the rest of the movie (but what other choice was there?). I chimed in whenever something important happened to explain it, and we somehow managed to slog our way through. It didn’t quite go as we had hoped, but a horrible first day meant that things couldn’t get worse.

The other two days went quite well actually, and I’m not just saying that because I’m comparing them to the first day. I think that we’ve mastered the story teaching technique. This is how it goes:

  • Introduce the story and give any important historical context, etc
  • Talk about where in the world the story is taking place. Show a map.
  • Introduce the main characters and give the most important information about them.
  • Define the most important vocabulary words… the ones that, without understanding their definitions, the kids won’t understand the story (for Julius Caesar, examples would be: assassinate, betray, democracy, dictator, etc).
  • Give a brief but thorough plot summary.

If you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s a long process, and you haven’t even started reading the story yet!”, you are correct. Okay, continuing on:

  • Read the story, pausing every few lines to explain in different words what is happening.
  • Ask questions about what happened in the story, walking the kids through the plot again.
  • Show a video that summarizes the story again.
  • Talk about the character traits.
  • Have the kids answer some questions in the textbook about the story.
  • Write out a plot summary for the kids to copy into their notebooks.

In case you weren’t counting, that’s about five times that you go over what happens in the story. FIVE TIMES. At least I finally figured out what works, just in time for me to leave. Jenrika said that she likes my strategy though, so maybe it will live on in my absence.

Post-school relaxation swing… on the roof!

By the end of the third day, they were doing a satisfactory job of answering our questions about the story, how the characters must have felt, and why different people decided to act the way they did. It only took 9 hours of class, but we did it! That’s nothing short of a miracle. I also learned a lot because I never read Julius Caesar in school, so I had to learn the whole story along with the students. Thank you, sparknotes! Though I will admit, understanding Shakespeare was surprisingly easier to do now than it was back in high school. I guess I have learned something over the last… 8 years…

Next up, three fun-filled (said with much sarcasm) days with class 9! I have my fingers crossed for a pain-free experience.

​Time moves incredibly quickly here. I wake up, I blink, and it’s time for bed. That’s a good thing though, right? That means I’m keeping busy at least. Ha… as if that’s something I was worried about. The fact that I go to bed every night with a list of things to do the next day is enough to prove to myself that I have plenty to do. No complaints about that though! It’s nice to feel useful.

This isn’t a great picture (because I took it from the parking garage so there wasn’t much choice), but you can see enough. I love how they build houses and buildings all over the hills and mountains here. It looks super cool! I don’t completely understand how you get anything to your house, but that’s beside the point.

I didn’t write yesterday because I was exhausted, and nothing very exciting happened. Debbie and I went shopping to get food and supplies for the team that’s coming this weekend. Six hours and 230 eggs later, we were back at Esperanza de Ana, nearly ready to collapse… and then we had to prep for class today. So yeah, needless to say, I didn’t really feel like staying up even later to write something.

Origami time!

I’m falling into a nice pattern of life. I love routine, and that part of me is thriving here. I wake up around 6:30AM, and by 9AM, I’ve already: either gone for a run (MWF) or just vegetated in bed for a little, spent time reading my Bible/reflecting/praying, eaten breakfast, and gotten ready for the day. From 9-9:30AM, we have community worship (me and the missionary staff – Tony, Jim, Debbie, and Julie), and after that, the day is nonstop.

Starting to work on their models.

Debbie and I usually have some prep work to do from 9:30-11AM, class from 11AM-1PM, I help with lunch at 12:30PM, lunch is from 1-1:30PM, prep again from 1:30-2PM, class again from 2-4PM, pull myself together from 4-6PM (more prep/other things I need to get done), dinner from 6-7:30PM, and then maybe work a little more/practice my Spanish (I have a lot of children’s books in my room right now)/journal/blog. And then I go to sleep for what feels like 10 seconds, wake up, and do it again.

Last night we had to cut some foam board for class today. It reminded me of late nights in studio in college. It’s a little funny that Debbie and I can totally relate because our experiences were so similar, but our majors had such a rivalry in school.

Today we thankfully only had a morning class, C3 with Vanessa. The kids are starting their first big project, making a “kid city”. We started off the class with some origami to get the kids thinking in 3D. We weren’t sure how it would go, especially since this class can get a little out of control, but the kids were into it! They got so excited when we finished and they all had little foxes that they used to nibble on each other’s ears.

After that, we transitioned back into talking about cities. We listed out some building types again and had the kids draw numbers to find out what building type they had. In an attempt to spark some creativity, we pulled together a few of our favorite/wacky buildings to show to the class. We don’t want them all making buildings shaped like boxes, but for some of them, that’s the only kind of building they’ve seen. It will be interesting to see what we end up with!


Our class, pretending for 5 seconds that they’re well behaved

Happy last day of summer school!! Nico and I were excited for school today because we had games planned in every class. In English, we had a spelling bee and played hangman. In Math, we split the class in two and did a math problem competition where each team sent one person up to the board and they had to race to solve a multiplication problem. The elective was the same as yesterday, the balloon game, because the kids liked it so much.

Balloon game!

There must have been something bad in the air today because our class was behaving horribly. We had 9 kids, and some of them had never been to summer school before. That was most of the problem because those kids were misbehaving, and as soon as one kid starts, it’s so hard to control the rest. In hindsight, there was one kid who I should have just sent home, but I was so determined to have a good last day that I couldn’t do it.

One of the kids solving a problem from the review of yesterday’s test

I was also really struggling with patience today, so instead of being able to work through disciplining the kids, I just shut down once I started getting annoyed. I know that’s not good, but it’s the end of the week and I’m thinking that this weekend will be a good time to reset and recover. In normal life, a teacher gets to go home and have some time away from their students. In our case, we come home and we STILL have to deal with the kids. They play outside our house and come on the porch even though they KNOW they aren’t supposed to. So you go to school and have to reprimand the kids who are breaking the rules, and then you get home and have to reprimand more kids who are breaking the rules. There’s no time to reset your patience.

Our afternoon activity consisted of making chalk outlines of the volunteers on our porch. This is what happens when the power goes out and it’s too hot to be inside without fans. It started because, as you can see, Amber is napping outside to avoid the heat and looked pretty unresponsive, so we decided to have some fun with it.

Sometimes you just want to do something without having kids around, but they’re EVERYWHERE. I go for a run and they run with me. I stretch and they stretch with me. I sit on the porch, trying to relax, and they can’t just leave me alone. We go to watch the soccer games and they’re always trying to sit on your lap or braid your hair or ask you questions. This is probably similar to what it’s like to have children, except when that happens, it’s your choice and you’re theoretically somewhat prepared for it. In this case, I don’t have my own children, and I certainly don’t want them right now, so I think that means I should be able to get some peace and quiet every once in a while.

Nico retrieving Amber’s boot from the poop

Okay, so after re-reading what I just wrote, I think I need a vacation. I definitely need some kid-free time to mentally recover because I’m not in the best place right now to be able to help the kids. Mostly I’m in a good place for being annoyed at them.
In other news, I had the chance to get some of my frustration out this afternoon because Nico, Amber, and I went to the farm to get started on the poop pit/fertilizer hole (and Fernanda and Avy came along just for fun). 

Sunset from the farm

There’s nothing like a little manual labor to take your mind off things. We decided to put the hole in the same place where they’re currently putting the pig poop, but that meant that we needed to dig through a layer of poop before getting to dirt. Amber was digging for about 5 seconds before her boots sank completely into the poop. Gross. By the time we left, all of the poop was out of the hole, but we still have a long way to go. At least the dirt doesn’t smell so bad.

The walk home ended up being my favorite part of the day. We were listening to music while digging the hole, so we just left it playing for the walk home and ended up basically dancing our way back. We have to go past a bunch of houses, and when we were almost home, a woman came outside (she was probably about 70 years old) and started dancing with us. The whole thing was so spontaneous and we were all acting like total goons. It was awesome. That energy extended into Fernanda’s goodbye bonfire, and we had a good end to what started out as a poopy day.


So. Many. Eggplants.

We had another day of fertilizing at the farm, this time using Nico’s plan (which we kind of did yesterday, but today it was with permission). Amber got an emergency call from the clinic when we were on our way out the door, so she had to go deliver a baby while we fertilized eggplants. Comparable mornings, I think. I’m pretty sure that she’s delivered like 5 babies since we’ve been here, and she’s now the designated baby deliverer at the clinic because she’s been doing such a good job.

Part of me wonders what the clinic is going to do after Amber leaves. She usually comes home exhausted from running around all day. It’s cool though that they appreciate her and that she’s gotten to experience a lot of different things while working there. It sounds like she’s gotten to be involved with every part of the process, from consultations and paperwork to lab work and treatments.

Naked pancake
Pancake with groundnut butter, sugar, and Milo

At breakfast, I had a pancake breakthrough! We have pancakes every other day for breakfast, but they’re a little different from the ones at home… I don’t think they put anything in them to make them rise, so while the ones at home are kind of bready, the ones here are more flat and sticky. Anyway, people usually put stuff on them. Everyone is different – some people put jam, some put groundnut butter (like peanut butter except from groundnuts instead and without the added sugar), some put sugar. I am in the groundnut butter group, and it’s always tasted fine, but my mom suggested adding sugar on top (thanks Mom!) and it changed EVERYTHING. I also added some Milo (chocolate powder that you can also use to make hot chocolate… which I’ve obviously done even though it’s constantly hot here). I used to like pancake day, but now I LOVE it. I’m also probably going to gain back all of that weight I lost during the first two weeks.

The English test

I went to school in a great mood because of my pancake, and the day kept getting better! We decided to make it test day since it was the second to last day of school, and we tested them on all of the things we’ve been teaching over the last three weeks. In English, I wrote a paragraph and they had to pull out some nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, articles, pronouns, and prepositions. They didn’t do so well individually, but when I guided them through it and we went over it as a class, it was pretty good. We’ll count it as a success.
Nico made the math test, and I decided to have some fun and take it with the kids. We also had some visitors, Maggie and Evans, two people who work with VCO (the volunteer organization). We tested the kids on comparing fractions, shapes, subtraction, multiplication, and writing numbers in word form. They all did well on the test (Maggie and Evans included), so that was encouraging! Just an fyi to everyone though, 40 is spelled forty, not fourty. Common mistake.

Nico and I found a bag of balloons at the volunteer house and decided to use them for the elective. We played a game where we split the class in half, drew a line on the ground in the classroom, and for 45 seconds, the teams had to try to put all of the balloons on the other team’s side of the line. At the end of the time, everyone had to freeze and we counted to see which team had less balloons on their side to decide the winner. It went so much better than I expected. The kids loved it, and we decided to save the balloons to use again tomorrow.

I passed out after lunch, apparently slept through my alarm, and Avy woke me up for dinner. Hm. I guess I’m still not getting enough sleep. Anyway, we went out and bought some snacks for school tomorrow to celebrate the last day of summer school. I can’t believe it’s almost over! Real school starts next week and it’s going to be so weird.

​We had a new task at the farm today! It’s always exciting when we get to do something different, and this time it was putting fertilizer around the eggplants. John showed us how they usually do it, by digging a hole about a finger length from the plant and putting some fertilizer in. Nico immediately disapproved. He said that there are two problems with doing it that way. First, if none of the roots are under the hole you dig, all of the fertilizer is just wasted. Second, if some of the roots ARE under the hole, the fertilizer might be too much for them and they’ll burn. So either way, it’s really not the best thing for the plant. Nico told us to dig more of a U-shaped trench around the stem and put the fertilizer in there. He still wasn’t completely happy with that solution, and we decided that we needed to have a farm meeting later to talk about what to do in the future.

Fertilizer loop

School was also exciting because Nico and I were reunited! Isabel and Sosane took over P2 for me, and I got to move back up to P3/P4! I was happy to be back, but at the same time, I was in the groove of teaching P2. It’s hard to adjust between teaching the different levels because you have to re-learn where the kids are skill-wise and adjust your thinking.
I read the kids a story in English class, and we asked them questions about it to work on reading comprehension. The story was taken from one of their textbooks, but honestly, the writing in the books is so bad that I don’t know how the kids are supposed to learn how to write properly. I read it out loud and modified it as I went so that it would make sense. Besides the numerous grammatical issues, some parts were so unclear that I didn’t understand what they were even trying to say. I wish I could just go through the book with a red pen and correct everything.

Our corn is growing! You can see the rows of little corn plants

The afternoon was spent doing laundry. I think that #1 on my list of things I miss from home is a washing machine. The list really isn’t that long, but laundry definitely makes the cut (also, seat belts, clean fingernails, flush toilets, and recycling). It probably took me 2-3 hours, and I can’t confidently say that any of my clothes are any cleaner than they were when I started. Hooray!
We had our farm meeting after dinner, and Nico presented his case against the single hole fertilizer technique. Joe (the guy in charge of the farm and logistics at the volunteer house) and John agreed to let us use Nico’s U technique instead. Nico also wanted to talk about a new way to use the pig poop (he’s an agricultural engineer, so unlike me he knows something about plants). They’re currently gathering it and using it somewhat, but he wants to dig a new hole for it (aka a new poop pit) and said that theyneed to mix in dry and wet leaves to make it a really good natural fertilizer for the farm. Apparently the soil is already good here, so he thinks that between that and the pig poop mixture, they won’t need to buy fertilizer anymore. They agreed to give it a try which is exciting but also means that we now have to dig a 3m x 3m x 1.5m hole. Things to look forward to! We’ll start Thursday afternoon probably.

Tonight we’re going to a birthday bonfire for one of the guys on the soccer team. It seems like every celebration here involves a bonfire… That’s great and all, but I wish that every bonfire also came with s’mores because seriously, how much better would that be? I should start bringing supplies with me so that when everyone else is drinking their beers, I can be chowing down on toasted marshmallows. Yummm.


A beautifully perfect piece of corn

What’s the best way to spend a Monday morning? Shucking, that’s how! I’m actually getting to the point where I don’t hate it as much as I used to. Definitely still not my favorite task, but I think I would choose it over hoeing now. I’m immune to the grossness of the worms and worm eggs and just steer clear of anything that looks like it might contain an ant farm. Someone else can deal with that.

A wormy mess

School went so well! Sosane and Isabel were just observing classes today, and they’re going to take P2 over from me tomorrow. It’s always interesting when an outsider comes in and you get the chance to see things through their eyes. Sosane said something about how I did a good job of managing the classroom, and my reaction was, “huh?” But then I started thinking, and while I wouldn’t say I’m GOOD at managing the kids, I’m definitely way better than I used to be. That was a cool realization, and I’m encouraged by it. I can do this, and one day, I might even feel like I know what I’m doing!

The fruits of our labor

In English, I read a story, and we talked about the animals in it. We’ve been talking about animals for the entire last week since I started with P2, and the kids have actually learned something! It’s so cool when I ask them a question that I know they didn’t used to know the answer to, and now they do because we talked about it. Like I taught them about flamingos last week, and now they know what they look like, that they’re birds, and that birds have wings and feathers. I taught them something!

We had a sort of English/Math overlap after story time because we did a dictation (aka spelling test), and it was all numbers. On Friday, we worked on writing numbers in word form and vice versa, but I realized that they didn’t even know how to spell all of the numbers. The plan for today was to work on the spelling first and then do the exact same thing as Friday because they definitely need to keep practicing.

I really want the kids to at least know the things that are important for life in general, even if they don’t stay in school for much longer or go to college. In math, I think that two of those things are times tables and DEFINITELY knowing how to say numbers. For example, Avy went out to the market recently to check the price on something, and when she asked, the shopkeeper said that it was “two hundred fifty”. She was taken aback because that’s WAY more expensive than the thing should have been. She asked at another shop, and the person said “two hundred” and then showed her a 20. Soo… not two hundred. Twenty. Big difference. When she went back to the first shop and asked to see the bills, the woman showed her a 20 and a 5. Twenty five.

Based on that story, I didn’t feel bad spending another whole class on how to say numbers. It seemed like they were getting the hang of things by the end, so hopefully if any of them ever work in a shop, they can tell the difference between 20 and 200.

Two of my kids with the body part lesson. Yes, I’m an artistic genius.

For the elective, we talked about body parts. That’s another thing we’ve been working on where I’ve been able to see that they’re actually learning. It’s seriously so cool teaching them something new one day and hearing them repeat it back to you the next.

After school, I spent the rest of the day playing outside. James (one of the new volunteers) and I did a workout together and then he and Nico tried to teach me how to play rugby (it did not go well). Really, I want to get better at soccer while I’m here because currently I’m horrible. Maybe I’ll add acquiring some soccer and rugby skills to my list of goals (other goals: learn Ewe and how to carry things on my head).

James is responsible for making both of the sports goals happen, so good luck to him… I’ll keep you updated. So far, the Ewe is going okay, I haven’t carried anything on my head, and I’m not optimistic about rugby or soccer. Plenty of room for improvement!

​I feel about a million times better today. Somehow, after I slept for like 8 hours during the day yesterday, I still managed to sleep through the night with no trouble at all. I guess that means I really needed it and I should probably be getting to bed earlier. I’m still wearing my glasses just in case I did scratch my cornea, but my eye already feels a lot better.

Amber had a bit of a traumatic morning. We have a mouse problem in the house, so they recently set a bunch of traps, including one glue trap. I’m personally not a big fan of glue traps because it takes so long for the mouse to die, and this morning, there was one stuck in it. Amber decided that she was going to save it, so she put on gloves, pulled it off the trap, and tried to clean the glue off. That failed miserably since they use ultra-sticky glue on those things, but she did her best and then put it in a tub to bring to the farm with us. About halfway there, she checked on the mouse, and it was dead. It definitely suffocated in the tub… so it wasn’t exactly the most successful rescue, but at least she tried? When I went to dump the body in the woods, it was completely stuck to the tub. That mouse didn’t stand a chance in the wild. I would say it’s the thought that counts, but in this case, I really don’t think that applies.

Sunset pic from my run!

We hoed at the farm and had classes afterwards, but the mouse was probably the most eventful part of the day until around 3PM when new volunteers came! I was a little nervous because things have been going so well with our group for the last few weeks, but after meeting the new people, I’m feeling confident that the group dynamic is going to be totally fine. We have three new people: James (UK, 8 weeks), Sosane (UK, 3 weeks), and Isabel (Canada, 1 week). It’s kind of weird timing because we’re all leaving for the weekend tomorrow, with the newbies headed to Cape Coast and the rest of us going to Ada Foah.

Time to go pack! It should be a cool weekend.

I​t rained today! Until now, it hasn’t rained during the day since we’ve been in Frankadua. It sounded like it was pouring when we woke up, but by the time we got outside to walk to the farm, it had stopped. 

They’re so big!! This is one of the nests before we moved some plants out

The roof on our house (and also on the school) is metal, and it’s crazy how loud the wind or just a light drizzle can sound. So I think it was pouring in the morning, but who really knows?

At the farm, we moved some of the plants that we planted with Nico’s seeds. The instructions said to put 4 seeds in each nest, and after they start growing you’re supposed to leave only 1 or 2 in each and let the others die. We figured we might as well try to move the extra plants, so we carefully dug them up and put them in new holes. Fingers crossed that they live! This whole “keeping plants alive” thing is new to me (multiple aloe plants have died at my hands), but I’m hoping that I come home with some improved plant skills.

Nico doing plant surgery

School wasn’t great, but we survived. We read a book in English and learned about more animals. By the time we hit Math class, the kids were all over the place. We combined with Avy’s P1 class for the elective because I couldn’t handle it anymore. She’s so good with them… they sang a few songs, and then the wind picked up, leaves started falling on the roof, and we couldn’t hear anything anymore. How the heck do they have school when it’s raining? I’m not exaggerating. Avy and I were standing next to each other and had to yell to be heard.

A couple minutes after the wind, it started POURING. Zero to pouring in a matter of seconds. The kids were freaking out, and I was just trying to shut the doors and windows so that they wouldn’t blow around. Then, just as quickly, it completely stopped. It was crazy.

Yay rain showers!

Later in the afternoon, it started to pour again, and Fernanda and I took the opportunity to shower outside… WAY better than a bucket shower. It was such a good idea until we decided that it would be fun to play outside in the rain and started kicking a soccer ball around. Nico came out and joined, and in a matter of minutes I was basically covered in mud (also probably chicken and goat poop because that’s all over our yard, but I’m trying not to think about that). So much for that shower.

Football in the rain

Eventually, Fernanda had enough and went inside, but Nico and I kept playing around. I taught him how to throw an American football and we had a catch until the rain stopped. It was funny seeing him use the football knowledge he’s gained solely from TV/movies. The yard was really muddy, so we both ate it (me a couple of times…) while running and maneuvering to avoid imaginary defenders. Everyone walking by looked at us like we were totally insane.

Badminton on our regulation sized court…

We also played a little badminton afterwards and got equally weird looks for that. It was so much fun though! I obviously had to shower again when we were finished, so I would say that it was a terribly unsuccessful shower but a very successful day.

​How is this already week 3? Part of me is feeling like I can’t believe 2 weeks have gone by, and the other part is amazed that it’s only been 2 weeks because it seems like I’ve been here forever. Somehow though, waking up for the farm hasn’t gotten any easier. This morning was even worse because my legs are still incredibly sore from Saturday, I woke up with a crick in my neck, and I didn’t get to bed as early as I had hoped last night (typical).

Luckily, the farm wasn’t bad this morning. We sowed another corn field, so it wasn’t as labor intensive as hoeing or as icky as shucking. I actually think sowing is pretty fun. Sometimes though, the ground is so hard that it’s impossible to drive the machete in to make a hole. Then I basically put my entire body weight on it and try to wiggle the dirt loose. Anddd then I feel like a total loser because one of the guys is nearby in the same hard ground, and it doesn’t even slow him down. But all in all, it was a good morning at the farm!

Our corn is growing!! This is one of the plants from last Wednesday’s sowing

The thing I was really worried about today was school. Since Maria left on Friday, someone needed to take over her P2 class. Nico and I basically had an hour long stare down last night trying to decide who had to switch classes because both of us wanted to keep P3/P4 but neither of us wanted to kick the other out. In the end, it seemed like it was somewhat assumed that I would switch, so I sucked it up and said okay.

Besides the fact that the kids are younger in that class, there are also usually way more of them. There were days when Maria had almost 20 kids! I can’t deal with that… She’s one of those people who just has a way with kids, and I’m absolutely not. Anyway, I put together a lesson plan last night and was feeling kind of okay about it until this morning when Avy woke up feeling horrible and asked if I could take the P1 kids as well. AHH!

Nico taking his usual post-farm pre-class nap

I shifted my plans to focus more on just trying to keep the class under control rather than getting through all of the material I had prepared. I started them out with coloring while I attempted (and mostly failed) to learn their names. In English, I read them a story and we talked about the animals in the book. In Math, I had them solve some problems, and we went over them together. Yay! I survived. And it wasn’t really that bad. They behaved well, so that was definitely a big help.

The rest of the day was great! The power went out right after we got back from school, so Fernanda and I sat on the porch and just enjoyed the day. It was so nice outside, and the kids weren’t yelling their heads off so it was actually possible to relax. I think we sat out there for like 5 hours until dinner and then went back out afterwards to play cards.

I was planning to go to sleep early tonight, but of course that isn’t going to happen. It’s just a matter of time until I get sick.

​It’s starting to look like the days at school are just alternating between good and bad. Today was such a good day! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

This is from yesterday when we were shucking and de-kerneling, so today we just skipped the second step

We started out at the farm, as usual, and today’s activity was shucking corn. The good pieces will be sent to the orphanage, and the bad ones get fed to the chickens. It’s always nice when we have a less labor intensive day, but I have to say that I think shucking might be my least favorite thing we’ve done so far. Ehhh maybe not… I really don’t like hoeing. But it’s a close competition between the two.

With shucking, there’s probably a 50% chance that you’re going to find something unpleasant in your piece of corn. Usually it’s a worm or two and a bunch of icky worm eggs, but I had one where I discovered an entire ant farm inside and proceeded to scream and throw my corn. It was gross. The experience was basically an hour and a half of constantly feeling like there were things crawling on me and sometimes discovering that there actually were.

Singing Les Champs-Elysées

School was a breeze compared to yesterday. English was no big deal, Math we talked about times tables (again), and we played outside for the elective. Afterwards, all of the kids came back into the room and we played songs on my phone/Nico’s speaker. He’s been teaching them a French song which they all love to sing constantly, so we started with that and then moved on to the Hokey Pokey, “If you’re happy and you know it”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and the Chicken Dance.

Hokey pokey!

By the end, ALL of the kids were in our classroom, and I was melting. It’s actually been hot here over the last couple of days, unlike last week. We’ve been spoiled. It’s fine when the sky is cloudy, but as soon as the sun comes out, it’s a totally different story. Today was sunny, and the classroom was HOT.

Our improvised supplies and my beautiful s’mores sticks

After school, the afternoon flew by. I set out on a quest to find good s’mores sticks and used Nico’s knife to get the ends ready. Then, we were all just sitting around talking when someone discovered a bag of embroidery floss with the teaching supplies. Next thing I knew, we were all making friendship bracelets, Nico included, until about 4 hours later when Maria realized it was time for us to run. Time flies when you’re crafting! I felt like we were a bunch of kids at summer camp.

The best part of the day, hands down, was the bonfire. Unlike last week, this one was mostly just the six of us, with a few other people coming in and out. It was partly sad because it’s Maria’s farewell bonfire, but it was partly super awesome because s’mores.


We made all of the kids go home at 9PM (they’re really supposed to leave by 8) and got out our makeshift s’more supplies. I was a little uncertain about how they would turn out, but they ended up being great! I love s’mores. I ate 4. At least. I think. Maybe 5. Ehhh not important.

Anyway, me + s’mores = best day ever. I’m going to bed happy (and stuffed) (and with a lingering sugar rush) tonight.