I have been in Kigali this weekend for a fabulous writing workshop run by a fellow PCV’s mother who is visiting. It has been an amazing weekend and I hope to write more about the experience once I have a little more time to reflect on everything we discussed. I can say for certain that a weekend of academic discussion has made me very nostalgic for my college days- I was so excited to have reading assignments and in-class writing prompts! I think this admission may qualify me as a dork but I don’t care. I love school and it was wonderful to return to a classroom setting- even if it was only for two days! For now I have posted the description of the course that Julie sent out to all of the participants so you can get the general idea:
Greetings to everyone! Thank you for your interest in this weekend’s “writing” workshop at the Peace Corps headquarters in Kigali. I’m a Professor of Literature (19th C. British especially) and Women’s Studies at a small liberal arts college in West Michigan, Hope College, with lots of experience teaching writing classes. But I also teach many classes that focus on activism and advocacy, and creating democratic classrooms. I have worked over the years to develop strategies for modeling democratic practices in the classroom, and this will be the real focus of our attention at the workshop—with writing serving as an important means to that end. We will think primarily about writing as a vehicle for meaningful communication, not about grammar or how to narrow our thesis statements. The goal of this workshop is to help PCVs get closer to creating classrooms where open and honest writing and discussion are valued. We will spend considerable time talking and writing about the difficulties you face in realizing that goal.
From this weekend a project has been proposed to start a writing competition for students which my friend Ella and I have been nominated to be in charge of organizing. I am really excited for this project and will be sure to keep you updated as it continues to develop.
I have also included a few photos from the kiddos at the orphanage. I have been trying to get candid shots lately which is difficult since they all flock to my camera once they see it coming out of my bag. Luckily it has a pretty decent zoom so I can usually capture a few before they realize what is going on! Here are a few of my favorites from last week: