All is well in the Gambia... Sorry for the slow posts. There wasn't too much free time with my parents around. I will be leaving to a 4 day traditional Fula wedding tomorrow morning so the next post should be pretty good. I will work to include some photos. - Sorry none again this post.
Thanks for reading and your prayers. Enjoy!
For those who may not know I am a cards and board games person: Porto Rico, Dominion, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride among others. A good games become all about the people you play them with.
Normally when I sit down to play a game of Uno there are a few thing I expect;
- There are four colours
- I know all the rulesI will soon be bored
Not so in Africa.
First, the deck has somehow lost all red and yellow cards - I figure out of frustrations of not to often not having the right colour. Second, there are all sorts of new creative rules allowing actions and imposing penalties. Finally, the game is frenzy – the trash talk is epic, cards fly in all directions and a game with 6 people lasts no more than a minute eliminating the weakest link based a point system assigned to cards.
To be honest it has been I while since I have had that that much fun playing games.
Ready for the Parents
Toilet paper ... check
Toilet seat ... check
Toilet door that no longer locks you inside the bathroom... check
Should be good to go.
Nehneh and Baba (Mom and Dad)
Over the past 11 days I have had the joy of hosting my parents here in the Gambia. I don't it took a tremendous amount of courage to just to book the flight never mind allowing me to plan the itinerary. Far from a destination resort travel my Mom and Dad lived alongside the community, visiting, moving and acting in love and humility. In this and so many other ways I understand how blessed I am to have such wonderful parents.
It is hard to put it all in words – but perhaps it is best to stay they came as my parent however left as parents to many more.
On Jarama Nehneh e Baba.
University of the 3rd World – leading the way into the future
Part of my involvement in the community here has been to sponsor students aspiring to develop themselves through education. Earlier this week I took the opportunity once again to attend classes with one of my students who attends post secondary classes. Below I've done my best to capture the experience.
The state of the art educational facilities include a round outdoor classroom equipped with a roof and a blackboard which leans freely against post on a angle. This thoughtful functional design allows use of over 60% of the writable board surface (if the teacher is able and willing to squat and able to find chalk.
It is scientifically known our sense of smell has strong influence our ability to remember. For this reason (although not confirmed) some classrooms are located adjacently to the sanitary facilities with broken flushing mechanisms. These progressive strategies not only advance the student's mental fortitude but weed out those who are not serious about learning allowing for smaller class sizes.
The staff is spirited and tactical in approach. A common strategy, borrowed from earlier forms of western education, is to remove freedom of expression or critical thought by encouraging verbatim dictation of the teacher's notes. Using this simple rule ensures students come to the same level of understanding as their teacher – those who wish to deviate become subject to reduced grades or failure.
Other educators will start the class with a 45 minute break before the teacher arrives. This innovative approach allows students to learn the art of patience and ensures the class is well rested and ready for the period in which the class runs overtime.
However, others still are more conventional offering interactive learning environments which engage student particaption. These classes tend to bring out student opinions which may lead to dangerous forms of free thought and critical thinking skills.
Despite the noticeable environmental differences students exhibit traits surprisingly similar to those in Western institutions. Most class questions were sharply focused on understanding most efficient means obtaining high grades. Additionally student work is commonly shared to ensure everyone enjoys the benefits of having the same answers on assignments and a keen interest in social (and antisocial) technology captivates their attention through out the lectures.
All said, hats off to the many who struggle through it all to impart and obtain knowledge aspiring to bring positive change.