Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Books and the Classroom

The library space at the new school where I work is nice compared to most I've seen here. The fact that the school has a "library" is nice… period. The kids are used to using the space, so having a white lady there just draws even more of them in. I even had to keep them away from the books for a while in order to get the catalogue system going. I have finished most of the books now, though, and they are shelved and ready for use.

Last week during lunch I could tell there were a lot of kids waiting to use the books. So I gobbled down my food and returned to the library to keep it open for them. Most of them came rushing in and then just stood around looking at me as I sorted through books. So I asked them, "Would you like to read a book?" They shyly nodded their heads. I showed them where they could pick out a book and where they should put it when they were done. About 8 kids gathered around a table looking through and reading books. I pretended to "work" but I was having so much fun watching them, and I was keeping my eye out to make sure they were keeping things in order. One little one was picking out books left and right. He finally found one about Jesus and promptly looked at me and shouted, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!" running to the table to open his book. He returned to the same spot 2 more times to pick out more stories about Jesus. I chuckled to myself thinking, "whatever gets you excited about reading, buddy…" When the bell rang for class to resume the disappointment was clearly written on their faces, but they dutifully put their books on the "to be shelved" pile and ran off to class. I watched them go and then turned to the heap of books that had gathered over lunch period, but I was happy to shelve them.

Seeing excitement about books and reading here is so thrilling. This is just the beginning of my library and reading club adventures at this new school. I really hope that I can give them a permanent hunger for books in my time here… that would be my idea of sustainability…


This week I start Kweyol classes again. Kweyol or Creole or Patois is the local language. Everyone speaks English, but they also speak Patois (Patwah) and I hear it all the time. We learned a little bit over a year ago in training, but it was really the least of my concerns then. The Ministry of Education is offering the class and we have Peace Corps Volunteers, Japanese Volunteers, and Locals participating. I'm hoping to learn enough to be able to understand the basics of what I hear around me… and honestly, I am really enjoying being in a classroom again! It's surprising, but I am enjoying engaging my mind in learning new things and having homework assignments! The class is being held at a primary school in town, so we sit in these tiny handmade wooden desks, look on as our teacher scribbles all over a chalkboard, and try our best to ignore the loud noises carrying in through the vented walls. It's interesting to experience this Lucian classroom… I don't know how the kids focus here!


Only 17 days until Mom, Dad, and Tim arrive!! I already have a schedule written out and have been making preparations! I can't wait!

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