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English Teaching in Kirundo

Kirundo, Burundi, Thursday, August 6 The level of English, as I’ve already written, varies enormously among the English teachers we’re training (all of the English teachers in Kirundo province, I’m told). Some speak English quite fluently and comfortably, with an accent that doesn’t interfere with my understanding. Others, however, seem to struggle to form even…

Status in Burundi

Kirundo, Burundi, Tuesday, August 4 Social status seems to be a big issue in Burundi. We were certainly all aware already that there is a big difference between the poorest to richest here. It’s visible is lots of ways. Only wealthy people get fat, for example. Wealthy people have stylish glasses and shoes. Their clothes…

Tough Meat

Kirundo, Birundi, Monday, August 3 I was sick yesterday: stomach cramps at regular intervals, a mild fever, a headache and general aches and pains all over my body. The cause was the day before, I think. It was Saturday, so we did a bit of sightseeing. We visited a project Stephanie put together in which…

Feeling My Age

Kirundo, Burundi, July 31 I’m 47 years old, and the last time I was in sub-Saharan Africa I was about 26. I’ve realized here what a difference that makes. It’s not a physical difference. I’m keeping healthy (knock on wood) and I’m feeling energetic and strong. It’s more a mental difference. In my 20’s, traveling…

Fastidiousness

Kirundo, Burundi, July 30 We’ve organized our workshops into sets of four or five sessions per workshop. There are four main workshops, and the participants will rotate through all four by the end of the three-week process. In addition, we’re offering free choice workshops for an hour before lunch on smaller topics. Today was session…

Kalashnikovs and Continuing Education

Kirundo, Monday, July 27 I just shook hands with someone who was carrying a Kalashnikov. (To be honest, I don’t really know if it was a Kalashnikov, an AK-47, or some other long, lethal, brand name, but you get the idea!) Apparently, she’s our bodyguard for the night. White sweater, trousers, very chic long cornrows,…

Church in Burundi

Kirundo, Burundi, Sunday, July 26 Believe it or not, I actually went to church this morning. And, what’s more, it was my second time in church this year. The first time was back in May in Connecticut, but that was only because my daughter was playing in the church’s bell choir that morning. I wasn’t…

Racist or Rational?

I’ve been thinking about how fearful I was on the flights coming here. The first flight was KLM, which is an airline I’ve flown quite a few times and trust. The plane, however, was a 747, and looked old. The 747 is the plane I’m probably least trustful of because it’s the one that seems…

Burundi’s canvas

I’ve been trolling youtube lately, watching videos of Burundi (like this one), in preparation for my trip there in July. In the videos – if you look past the incredibly skillful Burundi drummers – you will see a landscape and people that look just like what I remember from back in the mid-80’s, when I…

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