I arrived in Sitipogo last night at 4pm, which was much sooner than I imagined as the driver drove 170km/hr the entire way. There was no vehicular traffic however, the goats and cattle often slowed us down.
Fortunately, Justine, another WorldTeach volunteer that lives 3km away and is here for her second year, was here to greet me. It helped with the shock a little bit. But, once she left, the reality sunk in BIG time! I am in the middle of nowhere. In the first 20 minutes that I was here, I saw species of bugs that I never knew existed! Spent 2 hours sterilizing my room, removing the dead cockroaches from my mattress and getting myself somewhat unpacked. I met my room-mates, John and Hakusembe, but they had very little to say. A couple of other teachers came by to meet me once it got out that I had arrived. I met Joseph, the gr 5-7 math teacher with whom I share a storeroom (aka office), who was wonderful. He brought me over to the school and gave me some basics. I felt a little better after that, and the phone call from Mom really helped!
Was up and ready for the first day of school and quite excited. School starts at 7am and ends at 12:50pm. Then, after a two hour lunch break (which I think will be naptime), we return to school for ‘afterschool study’ until 5pm. However, this week it doesn’t sound like there will be any afterschool study. The principal called a staff meeting mid-day so that he could introduce me to the rest of the staff. There are approximately 25 teachers, covering grades 1-10 and over 770 students. I was fortunate to not have to teach right away and spent most of the morning in the storeroom planning, reviewing the textbooks and school documents. I did teach my last period, a class of grade 9’s, and it went relatively smoothly. We spent the class introducing ourselves and I gave them a chance to ask me questions. They did not hesitate to ask if I was married, how old I was, if my parents were alive and if I owned a farm at home?
Lots more to say… but I should get to bed. One thing is for sure, the area is gorgeous! The river is just steps away from my house and with all the recent rain here, the landscape is very green. Goats and cattle graze all around… pictures coming soon!