Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Update


As our time left in country has started decreasing, so have our blog entries.  I think because we’ve become busy and also accustomed to life here in Gambia so it makes it hard to come up with different things to write about.  Ben is still working with IRD; he’s currently working on a cashew processing manual while the office is in between project phases.  He has joined a city football team named ‘Culture’.  They are currently in a city tournament in the first round.  Ben goes to practices and has suited up as a goalkeeper for one game but had an injury for the game the past weekend so he couldn’t play.  The team plays in a big stadium in SerreKunda so it’s a little different from playing on the village team.  Ben didn’t get to play in the game he suited up for but he was told to start warming up in the middle of the second half and the crowd started cheering!  So again, he’s making a name for himself as the Toubab goalie in town.  

I am now officially a “visiting instructor” at the University of Gambia. I am co-teaching an Introduction to Agriculture course with a Gambian lecturer.  I will be teaching this course until the end of the semester, am currently writing the Agriculture departments catalog, and also writing curriculum for two environmental science courses that will start next semester.  I will also be co-teaching those courses next semester if the University has enough funding to start the program.  

Co-teaching is going really well and I’m glad that I am co-teaching because the University is different from a University in America.  Our class has approximately 45 students and is considered a large class.  There are often not enough chairs for the students so they spend the first 5 minutes finding chairs in other rooms.  There is no projector, or dry erase board, only a blackboard, and teachers are not expected to provide any materials to the students.  I type up a hand out each week to go over in class and after class give it to the students to make copies or share.  And I also make use of the blackboard, which leaves me with chalk flakes all over my clothes!  The students are generally very eager to learn and participate in class which makes it enjoyable and worthwhile.  I have also found a group of Gambians who play beach volleyball every Tuesday and Thursday so I’m having fun doing that as well!

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