Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14, 2012

The temperature today reached 73 degrees and I felt it was really a shame that I had so much work to do at my computer for it was the perfect day to go for an outing somewhere in nature.

I was able to find a template for the newsletter and another for a possible agenda to conduct the meetings for Forum. I forwarded them to Gulnara for her review and approval. I emailed the certificate template to Natalia so she can also review it and approve it for signatures at the embassy.

At least I managed to take a long shower and don my new baby blue fleece bathrobe my sister Esther had so thoughtfully bought for me before my leaving the States. It wasn’t really cold enough to necessitate this type of clothing, but I felt like wearing something soft and new next my skin.

Corrie and I had agreed to skype at 2:00 pm this afternoon, but she never answered my email confirming whether we were on the same time zone. We emailed each other a couple of times, but when I tried reaching her, her line was unavailable.

After reviewing the PowerPoint presentation for grammar games, I realized I didn’t have enough time to produce all the handouts and laminated cards I had the chance to create in Dushanbe. I modified it so as to have fewer games and just demonstrate the others with the few handouts Gulnara should photocopy tomorrow.

Taking a preliminary look at the surveys completed by the teachers yesterday told me that they are complaining mostly about not having enough time to conduct their lessons as they teach English only twice a week for 45 minutes and students don’t seem to retain the material from one class to another. They also complained about not having enough textbooks for everyone, lack of audio/visual materials and equipment, lack of involvement on the part of the students and few ways to inject interactive activities within the limited time frame of their lessons. Forum has their work cut out for them in trying to address these issues during their training sessions.

Two kids knocked on my door and mumbled something about representing some association. I told them to come back with someone fluent in English before I’d open my door to them. One of them came back this evening accompanied by his mother who informed me that the building pays a woman to keep the staircase and entryway clean for a 50 som ($1.08) monthly contribution from each tenant. I acknowledged I had been impressed with how clean the stairs looked and the lack of cigarette butts and empty containers to which I got used to in Dushanbe.

I wonder if the fact that my building has a secured door with an intercom access was achieved in the same way for the other three entryways do not have one. I definitely feel much more secured here and don’t have to be bothered by any traffic of people coming and going unless they actually live here or are allowed in by one of the tenants. The fact that there are only two apartments in each floor makes it more private as well.

Based on the recommendation of the New York Times, I watched the film version of one of the latest Nobel laureate’s novels, “Red Sorghum” tonight. I cannot say it was enjoyable and the subtitles left much to be desired. I’m not even sure I want to read the novel on which it was based as there was a gruesome description of the appalling treatment of Chinese people during the Japanese invasion. Not the best thing to see right before my bedtime.

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