Life Lately


Here is what I have been up to lately:

1.Paperwork for school

2. Spending time with my BFF Goreth (Gogo)

3. Working at the orphanage

4. Visiting the local inclusive preschool

5. Working on my Peace Corps dictionary project

1. The paperwork has been endless and monotonous to a point of feeling like I was going insane but I think (hope) it is now all finished. I fortunately did not have to supervise exams but had to mark all the exams for my three classes, which took me forever! I don’t even want to admit how many hours I spent marking (grading) 90 exams- it was pathetic. I would put on Disney movies for background noise and made it through pretty much an entire childhood’s worth of films. After completing my marking lists I had to start on report cards for Senior 2A since I am their class tutor. This process is especially painful. I collect the marking sheets from all 18 subjects and copy their grades for term three and their final exam onto their report cards. And, since it is the end of the year, I also had to calculate their final percentages for all their courses. It is simple math and not at all difficult but very time consuming! Once I finished all the report cards I made a final sheet that ranked them based on overall percentage for the year and brought all of these papers to our deliberation meeting. I won’t go into great detail about this meeting because it would probably just turn into a rant but it was a long and, for the most part, pointless gathering. Each class tutor reports on their class and all the teachers vote on how many marks the class should get for discipline and then the class tutor reads (yes reads out loud) the marks for all of their students. It was painful. Another interesting part of this process is that each teacher gets to decide what is passing for their subject and it was decided that 40% was passing for English. At one point the physics teacher proposed that his class should be lowered to 30% but he was shot down. I think he just didn’t want to grade a bunch of exams for second sitting (since a lot of kids fail physics) but the idea that 30% in a course would mean they passed is somewhat appalling. Anyways, it was long and boring and conducted primarily in rapid Kinyarwanda. After six hours I couldn’t take another minute so I asked my headmistress for permission to leave and she told me, “Yes Suzanna, no problem, go to be free.” And that is what it felt like- I left the stuffy teachers room and breathed in the fresh air and it tasted like freedom. Life was good once again. Since no one failed my course I am done marking exams but I did get roped into supervising second sitting exams tomorrow for all the students who failed math or physics. So close to the finish line!

This was my life for a few days while I marked exams

I like how he wrote, “God help me!!!” down the side of his exam

My favorite paragraph about love. I especially liked his last line: Love is number one in all things.

One of my marking lists- note the lack of red which indicates less than 50%. You would think this would be a good thing but the other teachers give me a hard time about it.

A typical marking sheet from my school- a sea of red.

2. I have been really blessed to find my best friend Goreth, or Gogo, who I spend a lot of time with. It was her birthday last week so I pulled out a box of cake mix sent from home and put my minimal cooking skills to the test. Her cupcakes actually turned out pretty well even though I didn’t measure out the oil and could only find two eggs instead of three. We ate lunch, had cupcakes, and then studied together for the afternoon since she is my Kinyarwanda tutor.

This is just a random shoot of my pile of clothing that I used in a desperate attempt to minimize flooding- it has been pouring rain the past few days and my room has a tendency to turn into small lake during the big rains.

3. I continue to visit the orphanage once a week to run library time but next week I am helping the old director, Grace, with a week of activities for the kids since they are done with school. Pretty much a summer camp- crafts, music, sports, and lots of other fun stuff! I am really looking forward to it and I hope the kids are too! When rainy season starts there are suddenly an abundance of these creepy bugs that we called “flying worms” during training. I am completely grossed out by them but the kids love it because they catch them, pull of their wings, fry them, and then eat them as a delicious snack. I try to remind myself that it adds protein to their diet but I am thoroughly disgusted when they stuff their pockets with handfuls of fried bugs to munch on during the day. Ughh.

4. I have also been visiting the preschool near the convent- they are just too adorable for words so I included some photos! 🙂

She was leading the other kids in the daily prayer- a very intense prayer face!

5. I have been working on a small project for Peace Corps to make a Kinyarwanda-English picture dictionary. One of my biggest frustrations during training was the lack of resources for visual learners. Since we are a new post (PC only returned to Rwanda in 2008) they are still in the early stages of gathering resources and materials. This can be annoying but it is also cool because it provides a lot of opportunities for creating our own resources and the staff is really receptive and encouraging. Hopefully my book can be a tangible contribution that I leave behind when I come home. If you ever need a copy let me know and I will send the PDF your way! 🙂


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