08 August 2008

i've got nothing to do today but smile.

Last week, my english class and I had a free discussion period. They
asked about US-Iranian relations, climate change, the undemocratic
nature of the UN, race relations in the US, and post-war Iraq and
Afghanistan, among other things. They may have never heard of
censorship, but they're better informed than Americans with
near-constant access to television, internet, and print news. That
saddens me.

My prison education program starts next week - twice weekly small
group discussions until we get through everyone. This will keep me
occupied for quite some time. The prisoners are prepping the land
while we wait for the grant to be dispersed - they're so excited they
don't need any prodding at all. Either that, or the administration's
so excited that the free labor is motivated by proxy. I don't ask too
many questions.

Biofarm hired a new education director (not actually his title, but
definitely his job) to oversee the development of schools in Mekele
and Assela. He's an Irish man (a conspiracy to remind me of a certain
Irish volunteer who's no longer eating my brownies...), which means
he's blessed with a western work ethic and understands my insatiable
desire to start now, instead of next week. We're in the market for
funds to build a network of schools in Assela, Mekele, and hopefully
in the southern Sudan as well. The primary school will be in a
converted existing building and should open in the fall, while the
secondary school will be built on the lake near the Biopark. From
there, we're hoping to use the school as a springboard to start
ecotourism projects and get the community to use the space. Biofarm
offered me a job overseeing the school when I finish PC, which made me
feel good about myself even if I don't have a serious interest in
staying on in Ethiopia after I finish Peace Corps.

My landlord fired another maid while I was on vacation, lettuce and
corn arrived in the market, and I think it might snow. I'm adapting
to the new, lonelier life here. On the upside, my Amharic is
improving and I'm saving money on phone minutes.

photos from the northern circuit:

-Kraft mac and cheese
-Gillette Venus razor refills
-original cheddar goldfish crackers
-instant broccoli cheddar soup mix
-non-refrigerated cheese products
-gummi Lifesavers

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