Ted E. Bear and Macchiato

[flagallery gid=7 name=”Gallery”]
School today was great right up until fifth and sixth period where I came to a grinding hault with grade one. I was teaching lesson about germs, virus’, and bacteria. Earlier I had made a very colourful puppet that I had cut out of a teacher resource book, his name was Ted E. Bear. As soon as I told the class that I was going to leave and someone else was going to come back and teach the lesson, left, and came back as Ted E. Bear, they were fully engaged. I began with a high voice, but half way through I had to switch to a deep voice as I remembered it was a bear, and my throat was starting to hurt. They loved it and were laughing and cackling with excitement. Finally after the introduction to germs Ted E. Bear had to go home to the forest and Mr. Galen returned. Yesterday I bought two boxes of wax crayons (25 in each). Although the buildings are very colourful here there are only a handful of pencil crayons to go around for the whole school, so their books are not at all very colourful. I have been having a great time colouring things with my German Waldorf block crayons, and believe that every child deserves colour. I gave them a sheet with a cartoon virus and bacteria on it for them to colour, and they were immediately busy at work, all the while I was bombarded by about six MR. GALEN’S per second as they cried out in anguish for another colour. They were so excited about the crayons and drawing that they didn’t want to stop. It was very hard to bring the colouring to a close in order to do some brainstorming about where they could find germs.I was pretty exausted by the end of the block when it was time to go next door to 1B. Next door was much worse, everything was fine up until I tried to end the colouring and teach the rest of the lesson, it was a no go. It is incredible how loud they can be, all yelling at the same time, all yelling Mr. Galen desperately as though somebody is strangling them. By the end of the block I physically and mentally exausted, and don’t think I can teach another class. Thank God the day is over.
After school we decided that we were going to go to Macchiato, supposedly one of the largest markets in Africa. I unloaded everything out of my pockets, left me camera, cell phone, wallet, and watch all behind. Took off my tie and vest, untucked my shirt, and rolled my sleeves up in an attempt to avaoid looking like a rich white person. All that I had in my pocket was a wadd of birr. Jamal the primary deputy principle called a taxi for us and we arraged for the driver to take us there, wait for us, then bring us back to the school to get our stuff, then take us home, all for 110 birr. When I climbed into the cab I realized that there were things being stored under the seat covers, the driver apologized and pulled out his clothes. I got the impression that he lived in his car. The car had a very potent metalic burning smell to it and I was forced to roll down the window for some fresh air, however the air outside was often not much better. It was a long drive, and the scene made me progressively feel more and more that I was in the heart of Africa. As we drove there were more and more people, and more and more rusted metal shacks and street stalls. Just as there are visibly absolutely no street laws, I’m pretty sure that there is also no building code. The scene began to resemble what I imagine London might have looked like shortely after the Blitz, except in Africa. Street stores and stalls were surrounded by concrete rubble. I kept my eye out each time we passed a fruit stand for some bigger mangoes, the ones I bought yesterday were a bit of a dissapointment. I think I may have to wait for mango season in Febuary. We passed shops celling every possible thing you can think off, we passed a long stretch that was packed with stoors selling nothing but sound systems and speakers along the dusty and rubble littered road. Soon we were at our destination, the cell phone block. There must have been hundreds of cell phone stalls, and open mall type areas with around 25 cell phone vendors back to back all selling the same Nokia phones. It was cell city. I left Kyle and Jasmin to look at phones and wandered into a small speaker shop. Being white I was eagerly greeted as usual. I spoke with one of the two men in the store, I asked him test some speakers for me. He was speaking in broken english and it was hard to understand, but he wanted to know where I was from. I told him Canada and he began telling me something about a Canadian theif that had wanted money from him for a visa or something, I didn’t really understand the point of his story. In the end he said something that sounded like he thought Canadian’s were no theifs, I assured him we are good people. He wanted to know what I was doing here, I told him. I said that I might come back and made to leave, that was when he asked for my email. I asked him what for, and he said just as a show of friendship, I smiled and refused. He continued to persist, but he was unable to produce any better reason than a show of friendship, I refused again and left the store. Later I came back by and saw that he wasn’t there, I asked to try another set of speakers that was cheaper, then I asked the price of the same speakers I had tried earlier to see if I would be told a different price. Unfortuantely the guy that was there immediately sent someone off to get the origninal guy. He came back and started asking why I was scared, I told him I wasn’t scared, but it was hard to communicate anything to him. I tried the speakers again and decided to buy them. They were good sound and 550 birr, $43 US. The other guy in the store started muttering something in Amharic, the guy with the broken English said that he was saying you are white, why not buy something more expensive and began giving me some numbers he thought reasonable. I tried to tell him not all white people were rich and that I was a volunteer with no income, in the end I got a box that was half soaked in water with the speakers in it. I took it and left. Back in the cab the driver started making conversation asking where we were from. I told him Canada, Kyle and Jasmin said the US and he seemed to think that it was the same place. He was very proud to tell us that one of his relatives was living in California working as a computer engineer. When we left Kyle gave him his phone number and told him that is name was Kyle and the driver said USA! And programmed Kyle’s number into his phone as USA. Upon arriving home I am glad to hear that the speakers have incredible sound and are the cheapest and best speakers I have ever owned. It feels good to listen as Santana’s ‘smooth’ fills the apartment while I chop onions for dinner.