Tag Archives: Kids are funny

Unemployment Tuesday

Looking for jobs is no fun. Coloring with 2 year olds is great fun.

Starting afresh, alone, is daunting. It is lonely, it has extreme joys and extreme disappointments, and can be boring. But I have been so blessed by the people I am meeting. I am bouncing from house to house on a weekly basis, which is certainly unsettling and frustrating. But also a fantastic way of receiving offerings from so many new people.

This week I am with a family that has a 2 year old boy. E is pretty incredible for his age. He is nearly entirely potty-trained (childhood development experts know that this is quite a feat!), holds full conversations that often pertain to his feelings or opinions about a subject (also, wow.) but most importantly is infinitely entertaining. Which is great because the constant online-resume-upload is getting tiring.

Yesterday it snowed in the city. E really wanted to go enjoy it. So E’s mom put him in some rubber boots and a coat made for a child twice his size. And while the eskimo boy traipsed around the sidewalk in front of the house, his mother and I stood at the window watching to ensure that he didn’t run into the street. E then decided he wanted to shovel the snow. (There is, at best, 1/2 an inch collected on the 4×6 patch of grass in front of the house and the street.) Over the next half-hour E diligently throws all of the snow from the grass onto the sidewalk, barely able to see out of the massive hood covering his face. It was better than any television show I’ve seen lately.

Today, E dropped me off at the train station so I could continue subjecting myself to act of selling one’s accomplishments that the unemployed go through. He held my hand from his car-seat for the entirety of the ride. Its nice to know that one is loved.

Finally, E refused a nap at the time when his parents and I really needed to get some work done. What to do in cases like these other than accept what is happening and alter your plans? So I spent the afternoon drawing fish, dinosaurs, signs, and dragons. He gave me several pieces of cut up paper and I gave him most of my drawings. Its always nice to receive handmade gifts.

Thanks E!

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Kids Rock

I’m getting ready to move to a different part of the world. But before I can move on, I have to finish up a bunch of things here. Like the report I was hired to do. Plus I get to spend three weeks as a film production assistant (awesome resume bolster!). And you, know, figure out where I’m staying and what I’ll be doing in three weeks. Nothing much really.

So I had to quit teaching before the term actually finished. I was not too excited to say goodbye, and neither were the kids.  One girl bought me a present. She had paid attention to what I wore for the last seven months (didn’t bother to listen to what I said, but she knows what every outfit and the accompanying accessories were.) and then shopped accordingly.  She comes up to me on Saturday and says, “You like purple don’t you?” I said well, yeah. She says, “I think you like the African style stuff too huh?” Yes of course. Then she hands me a bag, full of souvenirs you can find in the market, and some giant purple earrings. Best student ever. (JK, I did grade according to actual performance…)

Several girls also wrote me letters. Like Rebecca, who says:

“Please don’t go. If you go Please come in August 2011 you will go in USA in February 2012. God Bless you think you for teaching us have a good day and night to Hannah”

And Giselle:

“Good morning Hannah, I will miss you so much if you are go. Please don’t go it you are go in USA you will greet you Brother and your sister you Mother and your Father. Pleas come on october you will say to Kelly (a fellow teacher) hi hi. Good Luck and thank you very much to teach us thank you.”

I love the specific requests to stay until February. And the greetings sent to my family and Kelly. (Waz up guys! Giselle and I say hey…)

Notes like these make me enjoy teaching.


My Students, post the second

Teaching quite possibly could be my favorite part of my days now. Seriously, these kids are great. And I need some humor in my life.

Well on Wednesday, I taught a lesson on writing postcards. Thursday was for letters. I graded these letters just for grammatical and spelling or blatant style errors, but didn’t actually mark up the letters so that they could actually send them. All letters were great, but there were some gems for sure.

For instance, I witnessed some good ol’ girl fights. Belize was the most popular girl, who sent a letter to Zaheza, but received letters from several girls in the class. Zaheza also sent a letter to Belize. It read:

“I want to be you Friend but you, [do]  you love me?” thank you?”

Or some kid, rather than saying “love… or sincerely…” wrote: “Person who love you, Marzi Aubin” I might need to re-use that one…

But my favorite by far was a letter to Sin Cara. Yes my friends, the WWE wrestler Sin Cara. This is the letter:

“Dear: Sin Cara, Hey Sin Cara I want to see you I love to much and I want to see you in the Television playing catch being WWE championship and I want to see you beating Alberto Del Rio and I want to ask you something: where do you live and where did you know to play catch because you have so much speed/ love you.” Note the lack of sentence structure. This kid was really, really, really excited to get to talk to Sin Cara, however real the conversation was or wasn’t.

Anyway, grading these was a blast. It is good to laugh every now and then.


My Other Job

Even unpaid interns need to eat.  So how do I both pay off student loans and live in Rwanda (where the cost of living is equivalent to Boulder) while not making money at my job? Excellent question. By promising my first born child to the government of course (sorry honey, you need to go with these men now, just know that mommy loves you more than she did when she made this promise…)

And by finding a second, paying, job of course.

So I teach English at a nearby(ish) primary school in the mornings. Because, I am so skilled, in things like-grammer rules and speling and things etc.

No worries says the nun who hired me, because my main duty is speaking and listening reinforcement. I just need to talk to kids who have never heard English in an American accent and ensure they comprehend the message I am conveying.

I think I get more out of this than they do.  Especially in entertainment. Like on Tuesday.

I take tea break with the other teachers every Tuesday while the students have their own porridge/football break. This Tuesday, the male teacher for P4 (one of my classes) was sick.  But he was able to come for tea break, in a full suit—jacket, tie, and slacks. I still want to know why he was so formal for going to the hospital but comes to class in jeans and a polo? Anyway, he shows up for whatever reason, very sick and immaculately dressed. And it was quite hilarious listening to him talk to the nun who runs the school.  His voice was soooo high that every time he said something, the other 8 teachers in the room would crack up and then mimic his girlish expression.

I really do appreciate working with the Rwandan teachers.  On Wednesday I was furiously grading P3’s exercises so that I could get back to the As We Forgive office and navigate conflicts. The students were on break so I had what I thought would be a quiet classroom to work in for like 10 minutes. From the window I can hear the shouts from hundreds of children playing football or the dance-clap game I can’t figure out for the life of me. It sounds like the game is moving to the classroom when I look up to see the male teacher for P3 burst through the door with 25 third class students screaming at him and pulling at his lab coat (yes, all teachers wear lab coats here). He lunges for the desk I am at and grabs a drawer, laughing hysterically. I side with him, not actually knowing what is going on and help open the drawer. He thrusts in a handful of balloons and all the children scream no, while he continues to laugh.  THEN, he makes them line up and they pay him to get a balloon. Umm yeah. I laughed too.

Ultimately, it is the children themselves that make the double job thing worth it. On Wednesday again, when I first walked into the classroom to try and finish my grading, one little girl is still in there getting something from her desk before joining the other girls to clap and jump and get each other out at whatever complicated game thing they play. As she is running out the door a banana falls from her bag. She picks it up like it is a nugget of gold and excitedly shows me and then her friends yelling, “BANANA!” This was not enough of a celebration though, so she begins to dance and sing to the banana. I get pretty excited about my food too though, so I just smiled knowingly and then began deciphering third class handwriting.

On my way out that day a boy from the P4 class comes up to me and says “Teacher, I have a question.”

“Ok, what would you like to know?”

“Will we have class on Saturday?” (N.B. part of my job is to host speaking club on Saturdays for P4. We spend two hours playing speaking games or watching amazing films like Robin Hood and Finding Nemo to help their pronunciation. It is actually their favorite thing in the world and it really upsets them when we don’t have club.)

“Yes, do you want to come?”

“Yes! Ok where do you live?”

“[Uh…] I live at Gishush. Where do you live?”
“I live at Kimironko. OK bye.” And he instantly disappears.

Yeah ok, see you…



For the sake of recycling, Africa is the perfect used items dump.  This relationship leaves all parties happy.  Rich Europeans and Americans can use their clothing, technology, and tools until a better model comes out, or until the trend changes; and then, instead of merely throwing these gently used items away, they can “donate” them to the poor and suffering people in Africa who don’t have any of these things.  Whether or not this influx of foreign items alters the local market or artificially drives prices up is irrelevant.  The clothing dump especially is useful for my entertainment!  Everyday I laugh at the foolish cultural values that would drive someone to buy the things I see here, and pity the situation the Africans find themselves in that convinces them such items are worthwhile.

For instance, the businessman I passed on my way to work this morning.  I can tell he is a businessman because he is carrying a briefcase and wearing pressed trousers with black shoes that have a pointed toe.  However, he is wearing a discarded t-shirt that reads: “Who are these children and why are they calling me DAD?”  I laugh at the person who originally bought this shirt.  No matter what decade or what country, advertising this feeling on an article of clothing seems a bit ludicrous.  But then the poor person decided to be a Good Samaritan and give the shirt to someone who needed a shirt.  And this unsuspecting African, believing that English words make a person distinguished, bought this shirt rather than a locally made polo or dress shirt.  So in an effort to be professional and distinguished, this African businessman donned a shirt that screams to any English speaker idiocy.

There are those that are much more humorous too.  Such as the pre-adolescent boy who wore a tank top that said, “I look better naked.”  Or I got a huge kick out of the 20ish year-old boy wearing a large, Walmart brand shirt with Miley Cyrus’ face painted on it and “Hannah Montana” written in cursive letters down the side.  ‘Cute’, I thought to myself as he walked by with a swagger in his steps that proclaimed to the world his undeniable “coolness”.

The best, perhaps, was the skinny late teenaged boy wearing a shirt clearly made for an obese toddler: “I don’t WANT to go to BED!” ‘That’s fine’, my inner babysitter thought. ‘It is only three in the afternoon and you are far too wound up to fall asleep right now anyway. Maybe we will let you run around and tire yourself out…’

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