Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Being Persistent...When noone else cares

So in the last few months I have come across something really disheartening.I would suggest an activity to the staff at the school to participate in.Everyone would want to participate then when it comes down to it for them to do their part, it doesn't get done and then the excuses roll in.I have tried on and off to remind them of the work to ensure they get it done but i've come to a point where I have to ask myself how often do I need to keep reminding them?When do I just back off?Maybe it's not sticking because they're not that interested and I should just drop it.But I don't know,maybe I do need to remind continually.however, I don't want to seem like i'm being a hassle to them and they're only doing the work just for me and not for their own benefit and for their students' benefit.Folks out there, how do you think I should handle it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I do stuff... promise

Other than the Agricultural Fair and Sports Fetival I planned/cordinated all these events for the students.

Students working on their journals for literacy camp. They would get quiet time at the end of the day to write/draw in them

Students and their teacher at work for the literacy camp

Me in a salwaar kameez-traditional Indian outfit, giving out a prize of brownies to the two classes who worked hardest at separating their waste.

Students lined up at our American Independence Day programme to answer questions and get a goody

My lovely assistant Volunteer Sara, showing pictures of famous Americans

Students checkig out termites at the local Agricultural Fair

Me with a baby chick at the Agricultural Fair

One of my students

Firefighters and students at school

Students walking calmly to the evacuation area for a fire drill

Students lined up at the evacuation area for the fire drill

Sports festival with neighbouring school. The ashy elbow on the right s me. I got to lead warm-ups and cool downs

Sports Festival

The Pre-Vocational Girls class visiting the fire station

The Prevocational girls class at the library

Visiting the police station

Ministry of Health staff visited senior classes to teach about first aid and sexual health

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2 Deep Thoughts

So there hav been two big things running through my brain for quite a few months now that are working my brain into overdrive.I find that they are the types of questions you think about and can't really form an answer for like what came first the chicken or the egg?My two deep thoughts have been about the wonders of the huan brain and religion.

So as you know I work at a school for students with special needs.Many days at work I find myself watching the students and watch in amazement of their varying mental ability levels and try to remind myself of their physical ages.For example there is a female student who is only a year younger than me.It baffles me sometimes how different we are.She is still doing primary school work and has trouble articulating and comprehending the simplest of thoughts at times.

Then there was a situation where a group of male students were packing away some camping items.They were all 14/15 yrs old.But one of them was in a very low special needs class because his mental IQ is very low where as the other boys were doing primary school level work.The divide between these boys is so vast in terms of academic level or even just basic understanding of the world.

I was talking to another female student who is moderately retarded.I saw that she had her legs shaved.I laughed and chuckled at that and how she said her leg hairs looked "jungly."Then I asked her how old she was and she said 14.I had to remind myself that at aorund that age girls are doing that kind of thing-more conscious of their outward appearance and it shouldn't be funny that she's shaving her legs.

Soemthing that I need to remember is that just because they are still in a special school doesn't mean that they're all "children" and "pre-adolescent".

the second thing that has been on my mind is religion.Being in Fiji as a volunteer affords me the ability to be welcomed into different ceremonies places of worship of varying religions.uring these experiences there have bbeen times when I am encouraged to do different movements which are executed as part of the prayers.Most times I do them, but every time I don't feel as though I am doing it in worship of another god, just more of being participatory and showing the people I am around respect for their religion and customs.Then I began to wonder that if these movements would be seen by God as sinful, even though I don't internalize their menaings.
For example, I went and visited a Hind temple.In one room there are several statues of their gods and it is traditional to bow before each god in the room. I did so, but I did it to respect the Hindus present and not as a sign of my faith in the gods.However, is it still an act against God?If the tables were reversed, would a Hindu be reluctant to bow their heads and close their eyes if a Christian prayer was said? I don't know.My cousin Patrice told me of a story in the Bible where certain people refused to eat meat that was originally meant to be sacrificed for false idols where as other were okay with eating it.Is that the same thing, where it's just based on the person?

Any thoughts would be welcome.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Janis has antipathy for English

So as one of my ongoing projects is that I have undertaken the task of trying to improve the reading abilities of 6 students. I do one on one classes that last about 15 mins at most.We do individual letter sounds, pairing letters together to make new sounds and just listening to students read.
I knew I hated English already among all other academic subjects but now I know that I hate it.English does not make one bit of sense when you're trying to teach it to someone if it's their second language.For example the letter e.When you teach it's letter sound it comes to be e like elephant or egg but the e can take on a different sound when it is in the word the or tremble or gullible.Or even the letter g it can take on two different sounds like grain or german.So the child may pronounce german but say the g like in grain, how do you tell him that's wrong and that sometimes g chooses to be different?How do you learn and teach the difference? Also c and k, a kid can get real confused on those two letters once spelling tests come around and they are trying to sound the word out in their head and it could be a toss up between c and k or it could be both!I probably said this before but my gosh! It's a wonder people can read and now it's not such a shock that there are some people that can't read because it's ridiculously hard in the beginning!
Hats off to Ms. McClaren who helped improve my reading !

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beginning of The End

So this past week was my one year anniversary of coming to Fiji and really starting my journey as a Peace Corps volunteer.I had gone to see the new batch of volunteers to come in and give them a warm Fiji welcome.It was so odd and awesome to think that that was me a year ago.That I really had no idea what was in store for me and that I never could have prepared for any of it.
I think about how little I know now but how much knowledge I've gained since last year.Here is a list of things I know now that I never thought I would:

1. I can successfully have a conversation by only raising my eyebrows.Non-verbal expression is king here.
2.I now know four langauges-Hindi, Fijian,English and Spanish(but that's quickly fading)
3.Is thoroughly okay with being driven by a maniac over mountains to get to where I need to go.
4.Ants are nutritious and delicious and add pizzazz to any meal.
5.Clean is a very relative word.
6.A flick of the fingers can stop a taxi/bus in a matter of seconds

Then there are a few things I never thought I'd do in a million years
1. Eat pawpaws, mangoes, mandarine oranges, cucumbers, carrots and eggplants ...willingly... on a regular basis
2. Have a yearning to read on a regular basis-i've read so much!
3.Look forward to wearing skirts each day
4.Watch a bollywood movie in theatres

But on a more serious note I have learned that and am still learning that:
1. People will only goes as far as they want to
2. Development will never happen overnight
3. I can only do so much, then I have to give it up to God
4.Two years will never be enough to do everything I want
5. Friends and family are unbelievably important to have in high stress situations

Funny what a difference a year can make while in the Peace Corps.So for those aspiring to become in the Peace Corps lease remember that the most change that you'll see probably won't be with the people you work with but you yourself.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just Let Loose !

So today was our monthly Healthy Day where the school sells healthy snacks for the kids to eat and I go around and talk to each class about a health topic.This month was exercise. So I got my jazzercise gear out and was doing different moves with the classes.One thing that was really apparent how alot of the older kids would not allow themselves to let loose and do some dance moves.
There were a real of excuses like my leg hurts or my head hurts or I don't know how to dance or the best one where they just wouldn't even try to move their bodies.I'm thinking why are you all being like this since it's just me and their classmates who they hang out with all the time.There is no reason to not let loose.A cultural thing that may go into this is that Indo-Fijian girls are taught to not allow themselves to let loose and have fun and just be silly. I can understand that to an extent but for all the other kids outside this category I think they just felt so self-conscious about what the other students may think.I thought that reason is so silly, like why does it matter as long as you're having fun and not hurting anybody?
Then I thought back to when I was their age and I remember being the same way at my 6th grade of school class party or ball at Immaculate.I was the same self-conscious girl that these kids are now.Realizing that I understand that there are so many things I miss out on when I close-up and not allow myself to experience different things and just have fun.
So this is my pledge to be more outgoing, to take chances, make mistakes and get messy and forget all those around me watching.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Math and Science

So one of my grand ideas was to plan a whole wee's worth of activities for the entire school dealing with Math and science. I being the last person to think things through to the end was greeted with many problems. But by the grace of God had a lot of support from local volunteers,teachers and peace corps volunteers who helped pull off an awesome week for the kids.Here's a few pics from the week.Also, be advised that I did nothing of consequence the following week.