Sunday, November 26, 2006

Not that Painful

To obtain a visa for the country we are in you must have an AIDS test. We are not sure why, or what happens if you are positive for AIDS but we have to have it. So we asked around and found out where you could get one done in our city. We nervously approached the hospital and all of us were a little anxious, but we were relieved to see needles in new packages. This made us relax a little bit. We were a little surprised at the proceedure:
  • The doctor who took our blood didn't bother to wear gloves, but most importantly she wore a mask. I sure hope she knows how AIDS can be spread.
  • After the bleeding stopped she asked us to put our cotton ball in a old jar filled with Vodka.
  • They aren't that into patient privacy either, as when Marvin went to pick up our results she had him look through the box and find the ones he needed and didn't even check his documents.

The great part is the results were ready the following day. The medical system here is always filled with surprises.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day

Well we have alot to be thankful for this year. We definately feel very blessed. Here are a few shots from our Turkey day festivities. We started out celebrating Sunday with some of our local colleagues. Overall they enjoyed the meal, they loved the rolls, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Deviled Eggs were a little too odd for them, but all politely took one.
Before the festivities we had to do a little dirty work, cut the Turkey's head off. Marvin got to do the honor of beheading the turkey.
The cat even had a little something to be thankful for. Two turkeys heads in one week.
Today we began Thanksgiving round 2 as some of our "family" in the area came down to spend the holiday with us. We had a good time eating and playing. We even had the opportunity to watch some American football, thanks Mom and Dad.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What an interesting system

Well are about to leave the country which means I must give exams. Recently we have learned a thing or two about the system here. Apparently higher institutions compete like businesses, and one of the attractions for students is the graduation percentage, which means that the institute wants most students to graduate so they can recruite more students. We were told if a student doesn't pass at one institute he will go to the next and soon his old institute will get the repretation of being too difficult and so they will loose more students.

So folks let's just say most of our students come to school for the social aspect of things, learning may or may not take place. What a system huh, just think these are the future leaders of this country!

No More Bathroom Shoes!!!

For all of those of you who have visited the "Fortress" we are excited to announce that you no longer have to wear bathroom shoes in our downstairs bathroom!!!! It has been so great not worrying about stepping in water from the leaking sink or toliet.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The 1st Snowfall

As we left the house last Sunday it was cold and rainy. As evening approached it was still raining however some of it was turning into snow. By the time we went to bed snow was collecting on the roofs of houses. We were surprised to wake up in the morning and see a blanket of snow covering the ground. It hung on longer than we expected this picture was taken around 11:00 a.m. and the snow in the shade is still there. It melted by the end of the day, but gave us a little taste of what is coming soon.

A little cultural overload at the symphony

One of my friends here is a musician and she attends an art school in our city, this past week she was playing in a symphony so she called to invite me. I rarely turn down an opportunity to go to any performance so I made my way to the theatre and arrived 30 minutes early. It was already crowded, but since I was alone I figured I could find a seat. So I entered the theatre in search for a seat. I asked every row with vacant seats if they were available and every single person told me they were taken. Then because I look young several people began to yell at me and tell me since I was a student I didn’t need to sit down. I was very happy to inform them I was not a student but a teacher. This did not help my case finding a seat so I finally made my way back to the top of the theatre and ask this old man if the seats in the middle were taken. He didn’t know so at this point I was getting frustrated and therefore my language was getting fumbled and I attempted to ask him to ask the people farther if the seats were taken. Of course they were. So I decided I had a great spot standing in the back I would just stand for the concert if I was allowed to. (Fire codes aren’t as strict as they are in America). So I struck up a conversation with this sweet old man, who asked me if I spoke German and then told me that he learned in WWII. We were having a great conversation when this sweet man told me that he would tell the people to let me sit down. Of course I insisted that standing was just fine. Then all of a sudden several pushy large women came barreling through and pushed me about 1/3 the way down the isle in search for their own seat. (I am convinced they would have trampled me.) I just couldn’t handle any more of this experience so I slowly made my way up stream to the exit, fighting back tears and decided I would wait in the lobby for the concert to be over and then I would join my friend for tea afterwards. PTL I had our Ipod with me and I found a scrap piece of paper in my purse and tuned the world out around me, for the next hour I sat pouring out my frustrations on that little piece of paper. Tea went great with my friend after the concert and I was ready to reengage in this culture for another hour. When Marvin got home from basketball and I told him that I had a really bad day and he broke out the word for Why in this language, I nearly lost it again. Apparently I was not in the mood to hear this language yet. So we popped in a DVD and experienced hearing English for a while. It is funny how something this small could be so frustrating. I am very glad now that I am enjoying communicating with the people here as well as the culture.

A Trip to the Zoo

Our friends called us up and wanted to do something with us last Saturday, so they suggested that we go to the Zoo. So we prepared our selves to be depressed at the conditions of the zoo. It was a little depressing as the animals were all held in small cages and did not have any room to run around. However we were surprised to see a few 'exotic' animals: Cows and Sheep. Our theory is someday those animals will be lunch for the predators. Another shocking find was there was a dog in a cage along side the wolves! We are not quite sure why?!?! The Bears just cracked me up. As we entered the Bear row one of them was standing up on his hind legs with it's front legs proped up on the cage as if he was saying, "Hi I'm really bored so I am going to look at you for a change." The bear we did get a picture was extremly thirsty and as the zookeeper was filling up his friends' bowls he was just standing by his waiting for his turn. As the zookeeper filled up his bowl he took the opportunity to drink from the running source.

Earlier that week our language teacher told us that 3 baby tigers were born. When we found out we were going to the zoo we figured there was no way that we could see them since they were still very young, but upon arriving at the zoo one of our friends started talking to the zoo keeper in charge of the tigers asking him questions like, How much do they eat? How do you know it is safe to enter the cage.....? When our friend mentioned the baby tigers the zookeeper told him we could see them for a little price, before we knew it we were behind the tiger cages and were able to take a peek at the little furballs. They were huddled together in the corner of a cage. We snapped a few pictures and were on our way all for about $2.00.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pictures of Common Scenes

Here are a few sights we see everyday.........

I snapped this picture as I was coming home from work at about 5:15, it was almost dark and the call to prayer was sounding in the background. It was a good day to walk this direction down our street as it hadn't rained and this half of our stree that is not paved didn't look like a bunch of little ponds. Although there was no water on the road this day, I still had to look carefully for "land mines" left by our neighborhood cattle. You can also see a little bit of the haze in the distance from the burning leaves everyone seems to be doing right now.

This picture is of an older woman who we often see every morning while we wait on our route taxi to go into town. Lately she has been busy raking the leaves in her yard. We are glad to say that the leaves have almost all fallen from her trees. We are very thankful because she is often raking near the road and I don't know about you guys but a rack dragging across a paved road is not the greatest sound in the world. Despite her tendency to drag a rake across the pavement she is a very sweet woman and we enjoy seeing her in the mornings.

This last picture is of the street we walk up every morning to wait for a crowded ride into town. We always walk to this street because there is a better chance of catching a ride. We usually see chickens walking about along this road enjoying a the morning, and an occassional cow. When we first moved to our village we were greeted by a Donkey walking up this street every morning, but unfortunately by the middle of summer he was no where in sight.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh Mummy!

I had a class on creativity. Well it is important to understand that my students never have had to think outside the box so when I gave them a roll of toilet paper and told them to make a costume all but one group made some version of a Mummy, so much for thinking outside the box.