August 13th

I just got back from a walk with Laurence through the slums…it was really shocking.  every direction we walked, we found more poverty.  the images and sounds were also distinct–a lot of yelling, honking, and a general feeling of unease.  we were definitely the minority, every stared us down when we walked past.  at one particularly bad-looking dirt road, i asked a sour-faced man if it was a public road.  he looked at me like i ws crazy and said, “yes, but where are you trying to go? there is nothing down there.  it is not good.”  so we tried the dirt road leading to nothing.  immediately, children started popping out of the rusted tin slum houses and were so happy to have visitors!  they followed us as we walked, and soon we had a trail of at least 20 kids, all pushing to get close to one of us. 

this morning went really well.  the teaching routine is becoming more manageable, and the kids seem to be learning a lot!  it is surprising to realize how little world knowledge they have.  some of the students in class 6 did not even know that the earth is round.  the beach-ball globe was a completely foreign concept and of course these revelations lead to a lot of questions  about other countries, which was wonderful.  i also taught a toothbrushing lesson and handed out toothbrushes for each of them.  even though many of them knew what a toothbrush was, a lot of them just use sticks to “brush” their teeth, so this is their first real toothbrush. 

this afternoon, while we were playing games, there was a sudden dust tornado.  it was terrifying–we were completely surrounded in a wall of dust.  i couldn’t see anything and my eyes were burning.  all the kids were screaming and running, so i joined them, thinking that it must be something serious.  but just as soon as it had blown up, it died down.  it was exciting.

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