Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gabba or Ggaba?

I’ve made it half-way through the term! We are at our mid-term break of one week, and let me tell you, I really need the time off to recharge my batteries. It has been a long time since I’ve worked so much, using my creativity and exhausting my organizational skills at the same time. I work very well under positive pressure, and the past month has been like a sugar coated vice squeezing me to my most productive self. Did I mention that I’m happy? All this fun, but I need to take a break and rest my weary muscles.

Two weeks ago, my sixth graders completed their culminating activity for our “Children and World War II” unit. As a class we decided to convert our classroom into a WWII museum. Fun times. First, we had to dismantle Narnia (no easy task), then we built an Anderson shelter, labeled maps, painted Battle of Britain backdrops, designed model weapons and toys and a constructed a half dozen other exhibits. We also put on an assembly for the whole school where we musically presented what we’d learned about propaganda, rationing and resistance. My unhealthy obsession with Cabaret finally paid off. (A pineapple for me!!!) May I say we were a smashing success. Well, we were. I am so proud of my kids and amazed at their talent.

After all of the energy we invested in the museum, I thought we’d have an easy following week and celebrate our success. No rest for the weary! No, the following week turned out to be UN Week at school. I knew that. I was on the planning committee, but I’d never experienced a UN Week so I had no idea how much work would be involved. OMG. The UN’s Convention on Children’s Rights was our theme, and my class explored a child’s right to security through a study of the civil war in Sudan. [Did you know that the US never ratified the UN Convention on Children’s Rights? Madeline Albright, when she was ambassador to the UN, signed it, but congress did not ratify it. Why? One reason is that the US wants to maintain capital punishment for people under that age of 18. Yes, we like to try children as adults. This means that in states that still have capital punishment (Florida, I’m talkin’ ‘bout you), children can be sentenced to death. This violates children’s rights as established by the United Nations.] We were visited by people from UNDP who are working to de-mine northern Uganda, and I invited a guest speaker to talk to my class about education in southern Sudan. The year sixers also had to come up with some kind of performance for the UN Day celebrations on Friday. Our creative juices were practically zapped from the week before, but we pulled a rabbit out of our hats. I work my kids to death: last week they also had to complete an 8 paragraph essay on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and they had their mid-term math exam. They love me.

Friday I was the walking dead. I stayed in Friday night, read and rested. Saturday I went with my friend Charles to Ggaba (or Gabba) Beach and ate fried tilapia and drank Fanta Citris. Ggaba is a very interesting area. It’s a fishing community, and it’s very busy—unlike what I’m used to in Uganda. At GB, I ran into an old Peace Corps colleague, Gordon. He told me that PC is interested in me assisting with some life skills trainings in December. That would be wonderful if we can coordinate our schedules.

Peace, love, and understanding.

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