Friday, July 28, 2006

The lodge, grant stuff, and an HIV/AIDs science class (email from Amy)

To the Lodge

This weekend I'm going with the school's African Drumming and Culture Group to the nearby lodge. Lodges are like hotels or campgrounds out in the bush that have game drives and nighttime game watches (they're like hotels with wild animals.) This lodge borders the #Khoa //Hoas conservancy (it means elephant corner, for obvious reasons i.e. there are lots of elephants here) and it's only a few kilometers away from here. Anyway, the culture group is going to do some drumming, singing, and dancing for the tourists there. We're hoping that it will raise some money for the school. I made a brochure that I'm pretty proud of with information about the school, the projects we're doing, and some pictures of the kids and of the school (mostly the ones that I have sent to you all) and we're going to hand them out to the tourists so we don't have to beg too much for donations. We're going to be there from Saturday to Sunday and the kids are pretty excited about just going to the lodge. Actually, I'm pretty excited about it too. I'm really hoping they have hot water because that would be absolutely wonderful.

Window grant

Well, I am almost ready to send in my application for the windows grant to my APCD (Associate Peace Corps Director.) I will probably do it next week. I had yet more good news for this grant. I was reading through the reams and reams of grant paperwork that I have and I found out that children who are living in a hostel are, by definition, automatically vulnerable children, meaning that it is very possible that I can get PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief) money by claiming that it's "palliative care for OVCs (orphans and vulnerable children)" ---Yes I have reams and reams of paperwork that goes on with lists and lists of acronyms like that. That's what makes grant writing
so much fun. Then my APCD will review the grant and, hopefully sooner rather than later, send me suggestions. Then I will rewrite the whole thing and send it back and it will, hopefully, be approved by CD (Country Director.) Then we just have to buy the stuff and organize the volunteers to do the work. Nothing to it , really. Also, I found out that I skipped the kitchen in my initial count and I under counted the number of broken windows in the younger boys' hostel, so I'm now asking for the money to replace 550 broken window panes, 34 window latches, one window frame, and two handles. The quotations are still coming in. From what the teachers have said I'm guessing it will cost between US$1,500 and US$1,750 which I actually think we can get.

Computer grant

In bad news, my computer grant has skidded to a standstill because I called the computer refurbishment center and they seemed to have absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Here's how the telephone conversation went:

*ring* *ring*
the other person, "..."
Me "uh, hello?"
The other person "hello"
Me "um, we got a flyer from your company about computers for schools."
The other person "..."
Me "Does your company do that?"
The other person, "What did you say your school's name was?"
Me "um, I didn't say, but it's called Edward //Garoeb Primary School"
The other person, "OK, so you bought computers?"
And it continued in that same bent)

They told me that they would figure it out and call me back, but I am skeptical. Also, my problem with finding a source of funding has now shifted from the window project to the computer project. I think we'll have a tough time. I've been told not to even bother with Microsoft or Schoolnet for at least a year and I think we'll have a tough time with
some other Namibian organizations because we're a primary school (grades 1-7) not a combined school (grades 1-10.) Not sure what I'm going to do about that. Maybe I'll talk to my APCD. Maybe I'll just pretend that it's not a problem. That always seems to work. (Oh, I also just got an email from them. Maybe they actually are working on getting us a quote.)

An M-bag and stealing

Also, I got an M-Bag from my mom and dad and a donation from Random House UK---58 books from my mom and dad and 6 from Random House. The kids especially like the Children's World Atlas, the Picture Bibles, and the books about deadly animals (sharks, spiders, lions, snakes, etc) Thank you guys! (Plus the books from my childhood reminded me of home.) I've told the learners that I want the stealing to stop (I'm especially frustrated by the fact that they steal the press-stick that I use to stick up the posters. They like to chew it and then the posters fall off the walls as I'm teaching.) I talked to a few boys who stole some labels from the library and I told them that I wanted them to each write me a letter saying why stealing is wrong. One of the boys was pretty distraught. I felt bad for him. I think he felt really bad about it, but I've been having more problems with theft (just little things-pens, stickers, labels, press-stick, but they really add up and I don't want to let kids get away with it because it rewards those who are
doing bad things.


Let's see, what else happened this week? I hired some kids to clean my yard (for only a cup and a half of porridge with sugar each. I actually think I may have given them too much porridge. They seemed a little too happy with it and they have already insisted on cleaning my yard again next week. I worry about the kids, though. I don't want them to be hungry. Cleaning my yard is really just an excuse to break my own rule about food to learners.)


Next week is the week before exams and I can feel it. It's like I'm tired down to my bones and my lungs. I'm sick of
yelling at kids (next term I am going to amend my discipline policy yet again. I really wonder if I'll have to amend my discipline policy every term.) Plus the other teachers have stepped up corporal punishment which really undermines my discipline (if they do something wrong in Mr. Tjivahe's class and get beat, so they aren't going to do it there, they are going to do it in MY class where they'll only have to clean the library.) I'm still not sure what I'll do this break. I was thinking about going on the educational tour (like a week-long field trip) to Etosha, but I'm not sure I want to spend half my break with my seventh graders.

HIV/AIDs class

I need to finish up some stuff with the kids on HIV/AIDs in science class. The nice thing is that they've had all this information pounded into their heads, so it doesn't take very much to make it stick. I just
had to clear up some misconceptions (it cannot be spread by mosquitoes,
it can't be spread by being near someone with AIDs, etc.) and fight some of the stigma. We did a project where the learners tried to think of ways they could help people living with HIV/AIDs and their families and they came up with some really sweet things, including taking them to the clinic, giving them vegetables, telling their families not to be afraid of them, praying with them, and taking care of the children and orphans. Next week we're going to do some more activities about living positively (that's the term they use here for living a healthy, good life even if you are HIV-positive. It talks a lot about good nutrition, exercise, and healthy living as well as caring for secondary infections since those are things you can do even if you aren't on ARVs.(antiretro virus)

So that's pretty much the news for this week. I'll write again maybe after the weekend or on Sunday when I get back from the lodge. I hope everyone is doing well. Take care of yourselves.


PO Box 90
Kamanjab, Namibia

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