Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 4th, 2010 - COS CONFERENCE?

Classes are going well and my schedule this semester is much more manageable than my schedule last semester. Going from a 50+ workweek to a halved scheduled has often left me feeling guilty at the amount of time I seem to now have. I had hoped to fill a substantial portion of the time with secondary projects, but over the course of the past two years it has become apparent that the delagada of our campus is not supportive of projects. She tends to micromanage and does not like us to assist in anything that she is not directly involved with. It's been disappointing because I honestly think that our students are missing out on important opportunities not only to improve their skills, but also opportunities to serve their communities. A goal of Peace Corps is to have sustainable projects and to work with our students or fellow colleagues would help us to reach that goal.

Despite the lack of support we've been able to start some secondary projects and I am going to the Craquinha youth center to teach English to adults and youth. I had originally I was denied permission to involve the students. The other volunteer at my site and I had submitted a lengthy list of projects but after waiting over a month for a response most of the project proposals were denied. It's a shame because the projects would have included; university students working with the local high schools to create an English club, university professors working with the National English Teachers Association, English lessons for staff and faculty, setting up JSTOR accounts for the students so they can access the journals from remote sites, a garden project that would have involved drip irrigation, and touch typing courses. All of the projects were requested by either staff, students, or community members, so it's hard to swallow the fact that they were not approved. It's been hard for myself and my colleagues to feel so utterly unsupported by the administration at our campus.

On a much more positive note, I have some good news to post, the literacy project has received full-funding!!! I hope I get to find out who or what organization donated the funds so that I can send a thank-you to express my profound gratitude. I had begun to give up hope and thought I would have to drastically scale down the project. I plan on having the university students edit the study guides one more time to include different levels of questions and projects, and then it's just a matter of ordering the books and printing/binding the study guides.

In two days I'll be heading to Praia for my 'Close of Service' conference. This marks the beginning of the last three months of service. I honestly can't believe that service is coming to a close. I think it'll be extremely hard to leave Cape Verde, but I'm excited about what's next. As of right now I'm planning on traveling to the main land with two other volunteers. We plan on traveling through western Africa and then heading East and South. We'll start in Senegal and hopefully (if funding doesn't run out) end in South Africa. I've never traveled for such an extended period of time so right now I'm facing that mixture of excitement and nerves. I just met two volunteers from Senegal and they offered us places to stay, so that's always comforting.

After that I'll return home and probably have to rely on the goodwill of my parents for a place to stay for awhile. I'm hoping to find a job and eventually return to school again. I've become increasingly interested in literacy and I'd like to get my advanced degree so that I can work as a literacy specialist. Ideally I could work in that capacity for the Boston Public Schools. I can't help but to think that not using my knowledge of TEFL and CV Creole in the school district in which the largest percentage of ELL learners are Cape Verdean, would be a waste of what I've learned through experience in the past few years.

Until then I'm looking forward to enjoying my time in Cape Verde while I'm here.