Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 11, 2013

More gorgeous weather came my way today, and the good news that the landlady had arranged to have the A/C installed around noon. I worked on the index for the resource booklet for most of the morning and left the crew, Meka and her brother in the apartment to supervise the installation while I went to the embassy for my meeting with Johanna.

Tatiana came by at ten so I could sign the certificates to be handed out tomorrow at the American Pilot School. She mentioned she was Russian by birth, not Kyrgyz, and her husband was Korean so when they got married in Russia they decided to move to Kyrgyzstan so their children would not suffer the kind of racism children of mixed races are subjected to in that country. 

The driver from Lingua was waiting at the curb and it took a mere fifteen minutes to reach the embassy from my flat. The driver stated he would wait for me to return. I had to go through the humiliating body search and X-ray machine before being allowed inside where I sat in the lobby for about 20 minutes before Natalia came to get me.

Johanna sat with me for perhaps five minutes before telling me she’d have to leave the meeting since something had cropped up that her department had to handle immediately. She was referring to the fact that the “Vagina Monologue” production was scheduled to take place tomorrow evening at the Metro Bar, but now conservative groups were putting pressure on the embassy to cancel it due to its content.

She had me look through some of the outdated textbooks English teacher must work with in the public schools and to give her some feedback. The textbooks used the same grammar-translation methods I’d experienced in Tajikistan and not too far from the ones in Nepal. I’m keenly aware that new textbooks are desperately needed here.

Natalia notified me that I was part of a committee entrusted with the selection of the six finalists for the TEA program and gave me 42 applications to review with the results expected by April 18. We also discussed my impending trip to the South and the need to identify potential trainers among the teachers attending the workshops. Chris, the guy that stood me up for the Thanksgiving dinner, came by and shook my hand as if nothing had ever happened.

We then went to see Andrea who had promised to round up some books to donate for the book club, and she put them in a large box for me to carry. Once out in the parking lot and looking for the driver from Lingua, a portly man came out of his SUV and insisted on helping carry them into the car. He inquired as to the reason for the books and I informed him about the book club. He promised to let his wife know as she likes to read.

Back at my flat, the A/C unit was ready to go, but my bedroom looked like  disaster zone with the furniture not returned to its original position and dust everywhere. I had told Meka that the ancient vacuum cleaner put out more dust than it took in, but she hasn’t bothered to have it replaced, so I had to sweep the debris as best I could with the inefficient broom available in this country.

I spent the rest of the evening working on the resource booklet as Johanna expressed an interest in seeing it being published and making it available to teachers everywhere. I’m afraid that it has gotten too big as I keep adding pages to it as I find more interesting handouts from those I’ve created over the years. 

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