Thursday, 20 September 2012

Wednesday 19th September – Ed Damer at last!

Yesterday I travelled to Ed Damer, accompanied by Rami.  We arrived in the afternoon and went first to the local branch of the Ministry of Education to deal with the administrative side of things.  Then we went straight to the school.  Rami was rather concerned because the school’s plan is for me to stay in the single teachers’ accommodation on campus.  He insisted, in spite of the fact that men are not allowed in, on checking my room personally.  It is very basic, however I did not come looking for a luxury experience of Sudan.  I told him that I would be fine.  He said that if not, I must let him know.  Before he left for Khartoum, we ate together, courtesy of the teachers’ mess, who provided a very good and substantial meal.  The headteacher, Osman, has agreed that if it is difficult for me, I can stay with his family.  The fellow residents are very friendly and helpful, but speak no English at all.  We get by with gesture.  My Arabic will improve I hope.  There are apparently 6 English teachers who I will meet shortly, but none of them use this accommodation, so I am in a completely Arabic speaking environment.

Later, the teachers helped me move my bed outside as nobody sleeps inside at this time of year due to the heat.  This is a great relief to me after my good experience at Rami’s village.  They took me on a tour of the school, which was very interesting.  It is a semi-boarding school as a lot of the girls come from villages too far away for daily travel.  The girls were still working in their classrooms (at 8.30pm) presumably doing homework.  They were clearly avid to meet me.  As far as I could understand there are three classes which I will teach, each of 40 – 60 pupils.  However in the first few days I will attend English classes to watch the teachers teach, so I can show them ways to get their pupils to speak.  Currently this does not happen.
After looking around the school the headmaster arrived.  He gave a long speech to the girls about events in the next two weeks.  Apparently every two weeks the boarders go home for a long weekend.  They leave tomorrow and always have this speech before they leave.  They were hanging on his words, which were clearly very interesting and sometimes made them laugh.
Boarders prepare for the night
Afterwards, we teachers ate together and then went to bed.  The students also sleep outside in the next courtyard.

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