Rain

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The clouds open their bomb doors and let loose the rain. It pours, beating on the metal roof above me with thundering ferocity. I sit at my desk in the staff room wondering what I will do for P.E. now. I had planned to play soccer with grade three and four. The thundering roar is now so loud that I have to raise my voice in order to be heard. All of my raingear is at home, the rainy season is supposed to be over. Looking out the window I see the thick drops streaking past. A torrent of white water begins to rush off the roof. I wonder how long it will last. After the steady monotonous temperature and weather the rain is a welcome break. It has only been a few minutes since the rain started yet large puddles are already beginning to form. I stand up and walk outside to be met by the heavy drops showering down on me threatening to soak through my white lab coat. I put my Nalgene down in the gravel in the hope of catching some water to drink. I return to my desk sheltered from the rain. It is not letting up, and I hear the distant rumble of thunder. It is getting chilly; I put my sweater back on under my lab coat. Brrr. None of the buildings here seem to be heated, and the staff room is full of windows, so it is always the same temperature inside as outside. I had better come up with some contingency plans.
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I remember asking the lady at MEC if the backpack I was buying was waterproof, and her saying that from her experience when it rains in Africa everything stops and nobody goes outside. I later found this to be true. The rain was on and off all day. At the beginning of sixth period it was not raining, and I took the grade three’s outside to play soccer. Toby had just purchased some new balls, so I was able to begin with simple soccer skill drills. Towards the end of the class we began a game. With about fifteen minutes to the end of class it began to rain lightly, and then a little harder. I can remember countless P.E. practices that I had in the rain and mud, not to mention the mud baths of rugby. I didn’t think much about it, but soon Ms. Hana came up to me and said ‘Mr. Galen it is raining’ I looked at her for a minute and then realized that I was expected to take the kids inside. They were very disappointed.
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Snippets.
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I walked by a bakery the other day and was about to go in when I realized that the black spots in the display case were huge ants. It was as though there was an anthill right in the display case with the bread, and they were crawling all over it. I still can’t get over how big they were, and how many of them there were, it was crawling with black. Everyone was standing around casually; it was completely normal to them. I don’t understand why anyone would by bread that had ants crawling all over it, especially when they could just go down the street and get normal bread. I’m still appalled. TIA (This Is Africa).
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I had another TIA moment earlier today when we were supposed to be following Toby across the highway and Jasmin was a little concerned. Toby turned and held his hands out and said ‘this is Africa’. We jumped over the barrier after him and continued in front of the charging oncoming traffic.
I’d just like to clarify that I did not write the school pledge I posted about myself; it is something that the students recite every morning.
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Today after school we went to get a tour of the new gym that is opening on Monday near our apartments. It is the most state of the art multi million-dollar gym that I have ever seen or imagined. It is about five stories up in a very new office building, and on the top floor with an incredible view off Addis. It is huge. They have every piece of equipment that you could ever imagine, and the most state of the art version of it. You can plug your ipod into the treadmills and watch a movie, while a virtual trainer is keeping you motivated. These are the most basic of their machines. The locker rooms are very nice wood floors with tiled walls and wood cabinets for lockers. Each locker has a sensor that you scan with a wrist band to open it. There is a steam room, a sauna, and a massage room in each male and female locker rooms. On the roof of the building with a stunning view of all of Addis there is a caged in basketball court and a running track around the roof. Along the edges there are tables and chairs, and soon to open a juice bar. Unfortunately it is only for the rich. For one year it costs around 550 birr a month, for six months it is 750, and for one month it is 1000. They don’t have anything for eight months. It looks like I’ll be sticking to crunches and pushups listening to Sweatshop while Kyle and Jasmin sit listening to classical music in the steam room. Addis is a very interesting city, going from the most incredibly modern to the most incredibly traditional and backwards scenes. It wasn’t long ago that I was passing a boy begging on the streets with no legs and watching ants crawl over the bread. There is a definite extreme between wealth and poverty.
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Sitting home alone, I’ve been reading A Fine Balance and watching Arrested Development. I just finished making myself the most delicious dinner. I began by sautéing onions, carrots, and garlic. I then added tomatoes and brown rice that had been fried then boiled. I stirred it all together then moved it onto a plate that I had just scooped out some very ripe avocado onto. I added salt and indulged myself.
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So just a reminder to anyone reading this, it may feel like your hearing about everything I’m doing, but I’m not hearing about you! And I don’t even know if your hearing about what I’m doing, only you do! So indulge me and email or comment please. This is Galen to North America, is there anyone out there?!?