Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marraine Lala is coming! Marraine Lala is coming!


This is the milk man! He has a horn on his bike that makes a strange sound to announce his arrival for milk delivery at people's house. So when they hear this sound someone comes running out to get the milk. So how is this related to Marraine Lala is coming?! Well, when we were little and living in Haiti, Marraine Lala's visits were announced by a fellow on a motorcycle that had a strange bell to announce his delivery of a telegram, which would tell us of her arrival!! That sound made my sisters, brother and I very happy! So every morning when I am going to school, I love meeting him in front of the neighbors house, announcing his arrival! ...and I remember :-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some more thoughts...

Lots of ideas in my mind to share... some are just trivial things, some more thoughts on teaching here and there. We went to Aurangabad this week-end and it was an experience and a half.

First let me talk about a couple of people encounters we've had. They have confirmed my thoughts, people are the same everywhere... wait a minute, does this make any sense?! Let me explain, maybe it will then. I start from the end... On our return from Aurangabad, we were on the 12 Midnight bus, which came an hour and a half late!! That's India for you. Be flexible :-) When after 9 hours of a difficult bus ride we are in Indore, I am asking the men on the bus -driver and assistant- where is our stop, they just kept on laughing at me, and the fact that I did not speak Hindi. The more I asked in English, explaining that I did not speak Hindi, the more they laughed and continued speaking Hindi! I practically had tears coming to my eyes and had all the horrible thoughts for Indians at that moment. In the midst of all that, our cell phone rings, Kahlil answers, and it was the driver who took us around yesterday in Ellora, who was checking up on us to know if we had arrived safely back home!! Now this man had no obligation to do that, but out of the goodness of his heart he did this kind gesture! Now do you get it? People are the same everywhere. You find great kindness as well as jerks everywhere. If we could remember that always, we would be so much happier! So I had to come half way across the globe to learn this simple lesson! A recurring question "which system do you think is best?" Over and over I respond, "I don't think one is better that the other, they are just very different!" Driving... people say, if you drive in India, you can drive anywhere. I say, if you can drive in India, you can adapt easier to the driving system anywhere, but as Kahlil said this afternoon, after getting a few driving violations!! We're under a red light, 2 PM this afternoon, a zillion bikes, two-wheelers, rickshaws, cars... 13 seconds left of the red light. I swear to you folks, one biker decided he had waited long enough, drove off, and the whole crowd under that light just started moving, as if it was a full stop instead of a traffic light!! Someone, who shall remain nameless, very dear to my heart was banned from ever getting a license in the State of New York, for doing just that while taking her driving test!!
Open House last Saturday. An interesting experience. More or less what one would expect. All teachers were there to greet the parents, all the parents of the best students in your class were there. Those you wish you would get to say a few words to :-( were not there! All the parents were there with their child, so there was no awkward moments! One child has a straight "A" report card, in Bio and Physics she has "A+" and in Chemistry just an "A" :-(, Mom wanted to know what the child can do to improve her grade!! My response? "Hu! Hu!"
As planned, we left almost right after Open House on our trip to visit the Caves of Ajanta and Ellora. Whoa! What an experience!
Pictures of the Caves of Ajanta:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=37221&id=1408545811&l=58e37a05ee


Pictures of the Daulatabad Fort:

Some of the caves were actually built from top down! Can you believe this?! India really has some architecture that is breathtaking. I am certainly enjoying this side of the experience. The caves of Ajanta, I was familiar with them from having received one of those emails from a friend with a PowerPoint presentation about the Caves. That was breathtaking, I thought, but not real. Well, to my surprise this past week-end I realized, the caves are exactly like in the pictures! A majesty about them that is indescribable! Yes you can see the pictures and see the beauty, but walking in the caves, the darkness, and imagining those men so long ago, building these magnificent statues, the paintings in he Ajanta caves, how did they do it? Why did they do it? I know, a place of worship... but why this grandiosity? How did they do it? who did it? I tell you, really impressive! This coming week we are in for another treat! Boris is convinced I have come to India under false pretense! Supposedly to teach but really to travel!! What can I say, if they have all these festivities around this time of the year!! anyway, we are off to visit three cities, Delhi-Agra-Jaipur. This is a school organized tour and we will be going with another teacher and some students. Looking forward to this!

Teaching wise -see, Boris, I do that too!!!- I am more and more understanding the system. Through my own experience and through talking with other teachers. I don't find it challenging at all. It is too much rot memory. The students, who are paying attention, are doing so by taking down what you are saying words for words. I stop from time to time to ask: Any questions? No they don't have any, just finish dictating the notes so they can copy it down and be done with it. Rarely do you get a word from the students about what you are telling them. Maybe, "can you repeat what you just said?" I can't do it that way. I need a dialogue. I need feedback, questions, comments. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderful children, and I enjoy my interactions with them outside of class. It's just professionally, I am not challenged at all. My only concerns here are, Am I saying it the way they need to have it? Am I teaching the right stuff? Am I going deep enough? Too deep, I don't have to worry. If it's in the book, they have to know it! How do the teachers do it? Year in Year out? One teacher said, "That's all we know. I was raised in it, and so I teach what I was taught." He agrees something is wrong, like all the others, but they say like I do, It works for them, so why not? I really want to poke a little deeper and get some more info about who does it work for? All the students, or just some? What happens after high school? after college?

OK, so this is going to be my time of questioning, these 5 months in India! Hopefully I'll have a few answers before I leave!

...and I haven't mentioned the cast system, yet! I didn't even realize, it still existed, stupid me!! I can't reconcile the idea of one of the greatest democracy in the world, to have such a patented (!) system of labeling and classifying people. Boris made a comment earlier about an earlier Post, where I was talking about what I pay the lady who helps us with the upkeep of the apartment. He reminded me that the two twins who worked for mother all these years back, had in turn maids of their own! So he said they did manage to live with that salary. I corrected him and said they did not "live" with that salary, not if living is like Walt Whitman described it "To live free and..." This is surviving. These tarp covers that house so many, we can fool ourselves and say they are happy there, but that can't be! Anyway, I don't get it at all, so let me not say a word until I've learned more.

India is Incredible! This is the saying here!






Friday, September 25, 2009

Festivals

Lots are happening in the next few days. Tomorrow is Open House. I am terrified! I know the name of about 5 students. How will I discuss with any intelligence the progress of (or lack of!) the students in my care?! One teacher suggested I say to the parents, if their child is not with them, that I won't speak to them unless they come with their child!! Just kidding!! :-)

So after Open House, Kahlil and I are off to see the caves of Ajanta and Eloa. This week-end we have a 3-day week-end. Super! The reason for the holiday is not quite clear to me. It is called Navarathri, which literally means nine nights. On the last day there is a fierce battle between the goddess, Durga and an evil man. Of course good wins over evil. During these nine days, lots of festivities go on. They have the "gurba dances" every night. We went twice with colleagues. Superb. Extravagant. An incredible discharge of energy, form both dancers and spectators. Pictures are posted on FaceBook. So the last day of the festivities will be on Monday the 28th. At that time the evil king will be burned in all the cities. We hope to see this! Since I did such a terrible job at explaining what the Festivity is all about, let me include some pictures! The dances and the statue of the goddess, Durga.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Different Ideas



OK, no specific theme today. Just a few different ideas I want to share with everyone.




Yesterday we went to visit a town about 160 Km away from Indore (~100 miles). On the way there we passed by the largest, main Indian Army Base. This structure is at the entrance of the base. Isn't this a beautiful quote? "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today." This is by an Indian poet whose name of course I don't remember. Another picture that reminded me of the 3 firemen at the WTC ruins lifting the flag.


Part of the road was actually pretty decent. But of course sharing the road with the cows and the goats and the scooters... it took us about 2 and a half hours to get there.

More pictures of the trip are posted on my FaceBook page.


The coolest part of the trip was seeing the Narmada from up close. I actually put my hand in the water. Ever since my visit to Mandu and hearing the story of the queen Roopmati (the one with the beautiful voice who used to sing to the prince from her roof top and had only agreed to marry the king if she could see her beloved Narmada every day?) I've had a secret wish to see that river one day. Well, I did! So that was yesterday to Maheshwar. Lot's of first for me and lots of wishes being answered :-) I am eternally grateful for that.

OK, a few words on school. More and more I am realizing that the expression "Teaching to the test" was made to describe the Indian education system!! There needs to be no thought put into the job, it feels sometimes. As the First Year Veteran :-), yes, I have a lot of preparation, but the preparation is practically all in looking at the curriculum and making sure I cover everything that's going to be in the test! You come in, dictate to the kids what they have to know, they take notes, they study, for the most part, and everyone calls it quit! The passing score is about 30-33 %. I am confused! I don't believe in this. I am a firm advocate of an inquiry-based curriculum. I hardly do any cook-book lab with my students. Here, they prepare in advance in their lab notebook, the 4 or 5 labs they are expected to do in the year, and one day when you get to that part in the curriculum, you check their notebook that they have the recipe, take them to the lab, which is completely set up already by the lab assistant. They go in, in about 20-25 minutes they follow their recipe, collect their data, and it's done! How do they learn? What do they learn? Does this system work? The data say yes. I don't understand. I know I am not impressed. There is the other issue of tutoring! The terminal classes, they miss school a lot, but their parents are paying a fortune for private tutoring for the sacrosanct exams!! At Daly College, I am told flat out that they have a back up system for me!! Not taking a chance that I might not know the actual test questions therefore not teach the right stuff!! I don't mean the actual test questions but the right style of questioning! It's insane! But it works for them. So for that I have great admiration for them. I just don't understand how they do it. I am glad it is only for a short while I've got to do this. Maybe if all my life I was brought up in this system, I would believe in it. Now I don't. All my work with the Frontiers program would be for nothing then. Now I am more than ever committed to continue my research on comparison of the various educational systems -US, France, England and now India. I'd like to see long term effect. Yes they go on to college, and are successful. What percentage does go on to higher education, though? How do they compare with their University counterparts from the US?
OK, lots of interruptions today, so my talk might be a bit disjointed. Have to stop now cause it is already 10:30PM, almost past my bedtime. Will continue another day.
Today was a holiday. Finally 2 days off in a row!! School is six days a week here! My first Friday back I intend to have the biggest celebration ever! TGIF!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Mindwalk", if I may!

Mindwalk was a beautiful movie with Liv Ullman and 2 American actors, whose name of course I don't remember! They are are from my life now! and as all Alzheimer patients, I remember things from my past better than from present! A little side story about parents and administration in America. At Open House once in telling the parents that I tell the kids if they need me to review an assignment for them or communicate anything to me it is best if they write it down on paper or email. To make a joke, I thought, I said, "My memory is really bad, I think actually I was born with Alzheimer!" I think they laughed, but a couple of days later the principal called me to tell me that a parent had complained about my statement!! They did not think it was funny!! And I keep on making it!!! I don't learn good, he?!!
So back to my movie! The whole movie was filmed in the Mont St Michel, in Normandie, France. A long conversation between a physicist, Liv Ullman, an American presidential candidate who just lost the election (the lawyer in one of those law shows, L.A. Law, I think?! very good) and an American poet, friend of the American politicien. Their conversation was about the position of humankind in the universe, sort of. Well my walk this morning took me to my position in this world, in this place right now. How am I going to be affected by this experience? What is going to be my biggest lesson? Does a big lesson have to be learned?
Things that I know:

  • I will be more appreciative of our students back home, realizing that they are just like every body else. They learn, they are lazy, they joke, they question, they are rude, they are polite, some show they care, some don't, they like shopping, they like going to the movies, they think "Twilight" was the best book ever written... JUST LIKE THE STUDENTS HERE!! I love teaching because I love the interaction with the kids. I think I had lost that perspective a bit. Some of you know this story, but let me say it for those who don't. We had just finished the unit on Reproduction, and as usual I end with the National Geographic film "The Human Body" (Carole, Joanne, was that the name?! ...told you my problem, right?!) The film follows the birth of a baby from conception to actual birth. Magnificent! At the end of the movie, they show the labor pains of the woman and the actual coming out of the baby. Well, a young man, with all the stereotypical characteristics of a "hoodlum" very quietly says to himself: "I am going to give my mom a hug when I get home"! And he actually thanked me for showing them this movie. One of those moments are worth a 1000 pats on the back!

  • What can I bring the students here? An outside perspective. In studying electroplating last week with the 8th graders, last week, I told them about the American penny that used to be made of 100% copper but since 1982, we went into the war issues, copper becoming more precious now it is made of zinc inside and a thin layer of copper electroplated on the outside. Today I had to substitute for a bio teacher. The class was wild in the beginning. Double whammy for them, a substitute AND the foreign teacher! When finally I could get a word in, upon learning that they were studying migration, I told them about the turtles that lay their eggs in Key Biscayne and go off to West coast of Africa and come back to assist their baby hatching. There was suddenly silence in the room. You mean they cross the ocean? We talked about "Flying Home" and the ultralights. That was it, I had them! I worry about their sacrosanct exams! Not with the substitution class, but with my regular class. They have a very prescribed curriculum which must be known and regurgitated as is! So will it matter that they know about our copper penny? The way I see it, it's a "stretching exercise" for the mind, applying something they know to a new model. It is good practice for learning, no?!

In conclusion, I miss home, I miss coffee in the morning with Pantal, I miss hopping in my car for an errand, I miss Sunday soup at Elsie, then "les Danie's" visit. I miss fights with Sole, and then long talks :-) Friday movie nights with Boris and Danielle (see, they don't have a TV at their house!) or by myself. I miss relaxing moments with my colleagues in the hallway between classes at CRHS. Long phone conversations with Pascale. Being able to call on Nael for anything I need! Antoine's cameo visits, once in a blue moon. My iPhone! Bike riding to school. OK, let me stop before I need another Pizza Hut dinner!

The list might seem long, but I have to admit, I am committed to my time here. I love being here, I love teaching, I appreciate my colleagues here, I am baffled by India, I want to absorb it all. I want to understand, if only slightly! I am learning. I am happy. :-)



Friday, September 11, 2009

Kids are kids everywhere...

Now this is going to come as a surprise! I am not sure I understand fully. Over and over everyone said, discipline problem, you will never have! I saw the kids during Assembly, they stand when you walk into the classroom and won't sit until you tell do so! I was prepared for that. Yesterday, one of the few times ever in a classroom, I was totally ineffective! That was my 11th grade Chemistry class. It was really quite impossible for me to conduct class. After the usual ceremonial of standing, and their "Good Morning, Mam", the class suddenly became a group of hoodlums of the worst kind! The students were talking, they turned their back to the front of the class, got out of their chair here and there, to conduct their conversation. No matter what I said, they just kept at it. So finally I told them how disappointed I was, what a group of hypocrite I thought they were, to after such a show of respect, of getting up when I entered the room that they would carry on like that. After a bit of probing on my part, their response was so totally typical of any teenager, "well, we feel you are not really our teacher. You are here for a little while and then you'll be gone!" I had to straighten them on 2 counts. One, for now, I was the teacher, two, as the teacher, the material taught by me they will be responsible for it!! It really took me by surprise! I remember a past Fulbrighter had said experiencing the same thing when he was in India last year. See, just like any teenager, they'll push the button to see how far they can go. After class they were all repentant and came to apologize to me. The next day, Mr. Moyde who teaches this class also had me go with him to the class, he read them the riot act and after that, everything has been OK.
This is so unfair to the American student! I am sure if Mrs. Badhwar said she had experienced this horrible behavior in her classroom in Miami, we would all have said, yes, we understand. We actually expected it! But I find myself totally flabbergasted by this experience with the Indian students! Well, it's good to know, kids are kids everywhere! :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not a Bollywood movie!

Yesterday, Antoine, my son, who lives in a penthouse apartment in the heart of downtown, while "skyping" with him went out on his balcony and had us see a view of downtown Miami!! The sky was just perfect! Blue with just a few beautiful white clouds! First major case of nostalgia followed! So to feel better, we had Pizza Hut dinner! It helped at first, but then came another major case, this time, of guilty conscience!! To show "Le bonheur parfait n'est pas de ce monde!"

Today educational movie after morning assembly. It was about the kids or Slumdogs of India. The movie was there again. But this time Bollywood was not involved. It was the real thing. Heart wrenching! The strange thing is as they tell their stories, as you see them going over these piles of garbage, looking for what?! they seem matter of fact. Their smile is genuine. They hug each other, they push each other around to have their beautiful faces in the camera, they play around, you really feel not for the camera's sake but because that's what kids do. Did I see this in their eyes so I can feel better and go about my business as usual?! I don't know folk, but these kids were genuine. They were just telling their story not to make us feel pity for them, just to tell it. "I wake up at 3 AM to get to the garbage dump early." "This water is contaminated, so we don't drink it, we just wash in it." :-/ We're talking sewage water, folks! we're talking young kids, starting at it seems 5 years old. One had a wish to become a policeman. They said they had to bribe the garbage controller sometimes so they would be allowed to go through the garbage. What are they looking for? My question is still out there! The bag they collected looked to me to hold just garbage! The poverty issue is one that I will never come to grip with. I know it is not an India problem, it is a world problem. I am very familiar with it in Haiti. But somehow because the population is so great here, it seems to be multiplied a hundredfold!! To solve it would require an amount of good will on the part of humankind that we don't have yet. An hour after watching the movie was tea time, the kids went about their usual business of taking their pastry, some eating half of it and throwing it away. I tasted the cookie, didn't like it and left it. Would they be interested in bettering their situation? I am not asking the question right. What I mean is, do they feel the injustice? Is there a solution? Again that missing goodwill!

Everyone I have asked here what they had thought of "Slumdog Millionaire" said it was exagerated, not reallity at all. Well, from what I saw today, it was too soft if anything! The garbage dump. Looking for what?! The "benefactor" position, we saw at Khajuraho. All these young kids calling you to "their" store, with all the tricks - if it is not a missing eye, it was a broken leg, a missing hand, or another aproach, knowing a couple of sentences in any language to catch your attention. Then making sure the owner knew who had sent you there. The fierceness in their approach. It was all there. But just like in the movie, the impression that they are not calling for your sympathy, they are just telling their story. Remember the brother at his final moment?... "God is good."

I like India.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chemistry Department Excursion

This past Sunday we went to a city called Mandu about 65 miles from Indore. It is built on a plateau 2000 ft above sea level. It is a fortified city, protected by a deep gorge on 3 sides. Each of the castles, or temples have their own special story which I will briefly talk about as I, one more fantastic than the other. It took us a little over 3 hours to get there (65 miles!) ...and we think our roads were bad in Haiti!! Not only do you deal with broken roads in parts, but also remember the cows, goats, people, rickshaws, monkeys!!!








All along the road we could see the remnants of the forts, castles, temples, that were part of the city. It was built in the 900's-1500's.
One of the most romantic story is the one of a king named Bahadur who heard the beautiful Roopmati sing one day in the forest, fell in love with her. He wanted to marry her but she insisted that the only way she would marry him was if she could see the river Narmada, that runs through the state of Madhya Pradesh (where Indore and Mandu are located). So he built her a castle way up on the plateau where she could see the river! And his castle was built right below hers so she could serenade him from the left tour you see on her castle!!



How romantic is that?!!





Then there is the king who had 1500 wives!! The women actually ran the place!! They had their own castle that had 6 levels, 3 underground and 3 above ground. There was an incredible ventilation system with a body of water around it which was like the best AC system you could imagine! They had the best sona ever! One side had like a chimney (lower left of picture) that heated up the water on one side of the bath (upper right side) and the other side was cool.
And we thought we were so clever!!

This is the pool for the queens. Do you see the beautiful filtration system? Those curved canals were filled with charcoal and the water allowed to pass through them to fill the pool.
These stairs are the "gym" for those ladies!! The king would drop gold coins on the steps and have them go up and down the steps to exercise!! I tell you, just going up them was hard, I can't imagine bending to pick up something, even gold coins!!!

All in all it was a very enjoyable day. It gave me an opportunity to interact with my colleagues on a personal level and it was interesting. I have been having a private issue with them speaking Hindi in the office in front of me all the times. It was as if they did not speak English at all. And to say it frankly, it used to bother me a bit. And I think, to see them in this less formal setting, doing it so naturally and at the same time so obviously enjoying my being there, I understood there was no carelessness or malice involved. This is just them. Hindi is their language and they speak it among themselves naturally. I think if they had to force themselves to speak English all the times they would then resent me or something. And so, I am there with them, it's good, and life goes on. I don't know if I made sense here, but what's important, I get it. I went back to school on Monday with a different disposition to sit in the lab and not understand a word that they said. I interrupt and ask for translation from time to time and they very gracefully oblige and continue their conversation. I start Hindi classes tomorrow :-) I can't say I'll be short of practice opportunities!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's a pleasure, it's an Honor...

to be a teacher. Today in India is Teacher Day. The walk that normally takes me 10 minutes from my apartment to the Chemistry lab to the cafeteria, took me more than double the time. I was back at Coral Gables in the years 1994-1995 when Sole was attending "The Little Cavaliers" and the walk from the parking lot to the Nursery room, was such an eventful walk with something new everyday, if it wasn't the chirping of the bird, it was the shape of the water puddle here that was different from the one there and an explanation was needed! Today it was because every person I met on the way stopped me to wish me "Happy Teacher's Day". I was explained by many that today India celebrates teachers in honor of a past president who was a Physics teacher, whose birthday was September 5th. He was such a dedicated teacher that on this day the country thought they would honor him by honoring all teachers. Isn't that a beautiful thought? I wish I could make my family and friends understand the great joy it gives me to be a classroom teacher. When I have difficult moments with Administration, with parents of students who are rather unhappy with the way I am teaching their children or with some students who would rather be anywhere but in my classroom (my "columbines" as my friend Gisele calls them!!), some try to encourage me to get out of the classroom and do something else with my life. It might feel to the outside it's a lot of work for very little recognition or peace of mind. A guess speaker at Coral Gables had suggested to us teachers to cut out a hand model, paste it on the wall, at shoulder height and from time to time go tap our shoulder to the wall whenever we felt like a pat on the back :-) Today with all the good wishes, I have stored a few pats that will lasts me for a while! How do I explain, nothing would give me as much pleasure but to be among this incredible group of people whose life's work is being celebrated today?!
The kids were incredible! One young man in my class was rather unruly at the beginning of class in my first period. (Yes, Hildegarde, they can be just like our kids State side!!) A few minutes later, he asked permission to stand, apologized to me for his behavior and wished me a Happy Teacher Day! There was one morning assembly this morning for classes 7th to 12th. The upper class students (4 of them) were sharing with the school their presentation for a competition that they have been working on, on the Carbon footprint of their community at Daly College. During tea time, they came to the tea room to apologize to the faculty for not having wished us Happy Teacher's Day before getting into their presentation. They really take this seriously, here!!
I thought I'd add a short clip of morning meditation at DC. You will only hear the students as I felt a bit shy videotaping such a special moment of their day.

video

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Morning prayers

video

This is the start of the day at Daly College. Life here sometimes reminds me of the movie "Au Revoir, les Enfants". The old building, the feeling of "old money" everywhere, the strictness, the uniforms, the teachers so remote sometimes, the desks with the hinged covers!!! There is even a young man who could be the traitor! Beautiful face, angel like that his beauty might be considered his handicap. And he is a young servant who brings messages around. I can imagine a strange relationship going on between him and the students!! Hopefully no war will break out so he won't have to betray them by telling on them!!! :-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Funny incident

Kahlil, who does volunteer work at the Barli Institute (a charitable organization who helps young girls in trouble) was asked a few days ago when he got to work to cut the grass, as it was pretty high. Great he said, where is the lawn mower?! They handed him a pair of scissors looking thing!!! After 4 hours of work and 5 days since the job was done, he is still sore from the experience!! You must share this with Ron, Pantal!!


This is how it's done in India :-)

50 Gourdes vs 200 Rupees!

I am so confused and sad and perturbed by an incident that just occurred here I have to make a comment about it now! There is a young woman who helps us in the apartment with cleaning, washing. She comes here twice a day seven days a week. I just gave her 200 rupees. Do you understand what this means? At today's rate this means I just paid her $4.20 for two weeks of work. This is mind boggling! I feel like I am part of a situation that is no good! What is right? When I had the discussion of what I should pay this woman, the decision was to pay her 350 rupees a month. The reasoning was, you give her more then she will come to expect more from her next employer, which might not be possible for this person. This then unbalances the system! Well this is a rotten system, if you ask me! And I am not comparing our system in the States to the one here. I am going back to my roots here and remembering my mother negotiating 50 gourdes (that was $10 US back then!) to each of a pair of twin sisters who had come to work for us when I was a young teenager. Why this incident? Because, if I remember correctly they wanted 50.00 gourdes each and my Mother in her infinite wisdom felt that since they were twins, she should get a discount of some sort!! "2 for the price of 1"!! The poverty here can really be suffocating at times! I will continue with this topic over and over again.


This is right outside the gates of our school! People live in there! I don't get it! I am not going to get it I think in all the times I will be here. But I sure will continue on trying to understand and make sense of it.