No words…

(July 12th)

Tonight, there are no words for what I’ve experienced and the range of emotions I’ve been through today. Things were completely chaotic at school with teachers out, me being asked to teach 4th, 5th, and 6th grade at the same time in three different rooms, and kids being asked to do work that is way too hard for them… I felt really angry that there were four junior high school teachers on site, only two of them teaching, and a shortage of teachers in the elementary school. Two of the Jr. HS teachers milled around, while I was doing my three-room-dance. It’s an understatement to say that it was a bit chaotic in the three classrooms I was trying to cover. Wouldn’t you goof off if you were 12 and your teacher was nowhere to be found, and the one substituting couldn’t speak your language but for a few words, and you were really just starting to learn English? Yeah. Rightfully so.

Leaving the chaotic school day behind, Maxwell–who’s become my friend, anchor, and guide (not to mention translator extraordinaire), took me on his motorbike to the Palm Wine “factory” in the next village. Factory is a loose term here, since the process involves felled palm trees, a rod of bamboo as a “tap,” and old plastic jug, some fire on the end of a stick, and rusty barrels full of fermenting palm sap or wine (complete with foam and a layer of bugs on the top). “When in Rome…” still holds true, so I did taste the Palm Wine fresh from the palm, complete with soot, pieces of palm sliced with a knife that has been god-knows-where, and with who-knows-what. My stomach is rumbly and upset tonight. I cannot fathom why…

I was invited to a local Voodoo ceremony hosted by the village chief. Anyone who’d love to get more details let me know and I’ll gladly supply information (though if you’re vegan, I wouldn’t recommend asking). For now, let’s suffice it to say that I was relieved when it was over. The chief gave me his Voodoo blessing and said no harm will come to me in this life, and I will die a death of natural causes. Thank you. After the ceremony, there was–true to village form–drumming and dancing and drinking and more drinking. It was mostly those who were already drunk who had some more…

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About Margit Boyesen

Teacher. Photographer. Traveler.

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