Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5, 2012

I had a fantastic day from beginning to end. I was able to figure out  the taking of a marshrutka that would go directly to the American Pilot School bypassing having to go to the Lingua School in the process. I got there too early and was able to finish my breakfast while Tatjana and Zeinep practiced their lines for the opening ceremony. Natalia and Johanna showed up just as about eight teachers had gathered instead of the twenty they had expected. They explained that the Ministry of Education had ordered the rest of the teachers to attend another training session at their facilities and that was that.

After Johanna said a few words and distributed some educational materials to those present, we repaired to the Resource Center so Zeinep could begin her teacher training session on the topic of money. Natalia stuck around to see how it went while I took notes to eventually provide feedback on the presentation. She then got a call from Gulnara, from Lingua, informing her that Zarina would be coming by to get some documents signed. I was able to get a ride back to Lingua with Zarina stopping first at the stationery store to buy some supplies to prepare my first batch of teaching materials.

                        These cute little girls were at the stationery store and followed me around.

The teachers at Lingua were busy preparing for the luncheon to honor all of them and their director. They had pooled their resources and bought a handbag for Gulnara while the director bought containers full of biscuits for all of us. We were treated to delicious Chinese food in sufficient quantity to feed an army and I certainly pigged out on the spicy fish and vegetable medley.

       A snapshot with a few of the teachers and its director, in the blue sweater, at Lingua School.

Zarina got a call from Gulnara, from the teacher association, indicating I was supposed to have been there at 1:00pm when according to my schedule, it was supposed to be at 2:00pm. I had to rush through my meal and jump on another marshrutka to make it to the Kyrgyz National University where Gulnara led me to a tiny classroom with twelve students. They had received new textbooks just that day and seemed befuddled by the material contained in it. I had a chance to speak to the teacher, Bazilat, afterward and she told the students can’t afford to buy the book and only make copies of the corresponding page for the day. What a shame!

Gulnara and Bazilat took me to the Oxford University Press store, not too far from my place, where I was able to buy the English/Russian dictionary I needed two weeks ago. It cost me 650 som or about $14.00 and it was about the right size so I can carry it in my handbag all the time.

Walking home, I found the cobbler shop across the street finally open and mimed to the guy that I had a couple of shoes in need of repairs. I came back with my sandals, in need of sewing, and my pumps in need of new heels, and he told me to return in an hour with 180 som or about $3.85 by writing it in a  piece of paper. I was delighted with the deal and came back an hour later to find both properly repaired and even cleaned in the process.

I went next door to the small supermarket to stock my fridge with juice and milk and be done for the day. Totally exhausted, but immensely happy.

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