oh la dee

Now has officially been the longest time I’ve ever been away from home. Without seeing a familiar face or place. It’s strange because although the homesickness has been finally setting in more, that first fact doesn’t seem real.

Second week of GMC down. What an improvement. Today and yesterday were pretty great. Today I brought Monopoly since one of the best English speaking girls asked for it, and what I saw unfold as about 7 girls played it, perhaps, reflects a little on the culture I have started to assimilate into. So after passing out the money (I decided to play banker instead of being an active player),  (Fatimatoubest english speaking girl) took the property deeds and just randomly passed out an even number to every player. I didn’t know if she was doing this because she was taught to play this way, or perhaps maybe because they wanted to play a speed version, however, once I said, ok, someone roll, she stopped me to clarify that they were going to first trade deeds with eachother. To see what she had in mind by this, I just said, oh yah, ok, like I knew that step of the game and had just forgotten,  Btw, none of the other girls had ever seen or played this game, so she was explaining everything as we went along. So they started to trade to try to get the most cards of the same color (cause, in case I have to remind anyone, you can build houses and hotels on properties of the same color, if you own all of them). One girl wanted a deed from a girl who didn’t want any deeds from her, so the first girl said, ok, fine I’ll give you 51 dollars for it, and she proceeded to buy the trade just like that. Of course the selling girl didn’t realize that that property was worth way more, because she had never seen this game or heard its “rules.” Anyway, they didn’t get too far into the game, but it was so entertaining to watch them interact. I was also able to appreciate the education value of this classic board game just a little bit more.

Ashley came the second half of this morning and gave a great English lesson that also tied it dehydration (from the health lesson they learned yesterday) and decision making. I honestly, like I said above, just love watching these girls talk and argue, and figure out solutions to the problems we give them. There is always the girl who will say what the teacher wants to hear, or what she thinks is the “right” answer, and there always is a girl who will act like she’s too cool and whisper under her breath the truth, that which she would not say in front of the teacher. Anyway, I’ve decided that I will leave all the physics, english, health, business, math and other academic sessions for people I ask to help me with, so that I can focus on leadership courses and life skills. And of course, art.

Today was also really awesome because, thanks to Dave, we had a meeting with many of the local NGOs here in Aleg and were able to make some new contacts. Tomorrow I am going to introduce two women who want the same program (computer education), but don’t know each other. I also spoke to a man who also works with girl’s education, and when I told him my idea for putting together another GMC, except for younger girls (ours right now is for the equivalent of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders), he said, when are you going to do that project?? When you do, come find me! Overall, the meeting was very positive with a very open attitude that everyone has information that the others need, and working together is in our best interest. Anyway, it’s definitely made me more stoked about my future work here. My APCD (program coordinator) comes in one week and I am going to talk to her about the possibility of getting Internet at my GMC, and then working with other mauritanians to facilitate computer internet courses, something that is highly needed here.

My night ended with a delicious dinner cooked by the one and only Fatou, the woman Ashley will live with. She is Senegalese Mauritanian, and is by far one of the biggest sweethearts we have met in Aleg. She also wears jeans on occasion. ❤

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2 Responses to “oh la dee”

  1. P. Harper Dillon Says:

    Very fascinating description of the way the monopoly game’s rules were transformed. In some ways the description of the girl who distributed the deeds reminds me of Claude Levi-Strauss’ description of an Amazonian tribal headman’s distribution of goods. (Triste Tropiques – En Lecon d’Ecriture). I think you made the right decision to just let it unfold —

    I hope you expand more on how you see games as learning tools.

    Thomas Wolfe wrote a book titled: “You can’t go home any more” (or something like that. Bob Dylan wrote: “Of course you can go back home, you just can’t go all the way.”

    Ayacucho and I miss you too. But remember time splits faster than scissors.

  2. Dwight Says:

    That was one of the most interesting reads of Monopoly. I liked how you let them do their thing and see how they play the game. A more closed minded person would have imposed the rules, but then it doesn’t because much of a game anymore. Rules are more like guidelines. Once you know them, you can break them.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your advances for this program. Going to visit Dad in Ayacucho for Christmas, and tomorrow is Thanksigivng in the United States!

    It’s interesting how you, Dad, and Kieran are in other parts of the world with different languages, so therefore one holiday is only significant in one place because you guys are here with me to celebrate it. It almost takes the steam out of the day to begin with. haha. Interesting perspective. I love this family :).

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