Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bilingual stress!

Cameroon being a bilingual country, there were big celebrations on the 3rd February for bilingual day. Despite a few moments of severe panic, late buses, projectile vomit and serious amounts of beer, the bilingual weekend that I organised actually went off pretty well!
The events for the day were to take place in the Foyer Culturel (a building that is often hired out to groups in the village) and I'd organised for the DJ (there's only one in the village)and for the lights to be installed earlier in the day so all would be prepared for the scheduled 4pm start time. Unfortunately, an unavoidable trip into Maroua very early Thursday morning increased the stress levels of the whole day. Not only was the event supposed to start at 4pm, but I was supposed to be at the Foyer at 2pm to let the DJ set up and the lights to be arranged before the kids were due to arrrive at 3pm for the final rehearsals. The fact that I was still stuck in Maroua at 2pm, having waited two and a half hours for a blimin bus meant that all the good proposed plans quickly evaporated. Fortunately for me, this whole concept of 'African Time' which up until this point has been slightly more on the frustrating than the beneficial side, came in very handy! Arriving at 3.30pm and it soon becomes clear that not only is the DJ nowhere in sight, but the student with the key to the building hadn't even turned up either! Fortunately, just as I arrived, so did everyone else and so we were able to get the room ready before the start of the show at what turned out to be 5.30pm! The evening went really well and I was really proud of my little kiddies (half of which are older than me!) for all their hard work and effort and we celebrated by all going to the bar for a well deserved beer courtesy of the school!

The hectic week didn't stop there and my organisational skills (what organisational skills I hear you cry) were severely put to the test that weekend. For Bilingual Day, I had arranged for 5 other schools in the Province with VSO volunteers to bring their English Clubs to Moutourwa for a day filled with activities. Whilst this seemed like a great plan when suggested, the fact that it was a day after the English Club evening in my school, meant that the stress levels were rather higher than normal! All seemed to be going reasonably well however on the Friday afternoon as I ran around from pillar to post ensuring that the food for the expected 60 people was organised, the DJ was booked, the tables and chairs were provided and the invitations for the guests of honour (ie the Principal, Vice-Principal and Discipline Master) were distributed. The fact that I hadn't really prepared any of the ressources for the games and quizes on the Saturday, nor done my much needed washing of clothes, or cleaned the house was of no bother to me as plans for Friday evenong consisted of doing just that. All very well until I receive a phone call at 7pm from one of the volunteers who lives in a village about 3 hours away saying that her and her posse of 10 would be arriving in Moutourwa in approximately 40 minutes!! Minor panic stations to say the least! The problem of no mobile coverage and therefore no possibility of communication to inform me of their plans came back to haunt us again!
After a quick whizz over to some friends houses, leaving poor Xenia with the task of washing clothes and cleaning the house, I managed to arrange places for them all to stay so by the time of their arrival at 9pm the stress levels had marginally decreased! This being the case, the fact that few resoources had been prepared for the morning was put aside and we decided to head out for a well deserved beer with Colette, the VSO volunteer, her other colleagues and my Prinicpal. Whilst this seemed like a very good idea, the one beer that rapidly turned into four on a completely empty stomach (no time for food with all this rushing around) and the 2.30am bedtime made for a very interesting 6.30am wake up call which involved rushing out of bed as fast as possible just in time to projectile vomit outside my front door. Classy. Suffice to say the subsequent running around that had to be done before the ETA of 8.00am of all the other clubs was carried out with some diificulty but before I knew it, it was already 8.30, everyone had arrived (including the Inspector for Bilingualism in the Extreme North who had decided to rock up!) and the organised tables/chairs and my students were the only thing absent! After this shaky start, the actual day went really well, despite frequent trips around the back of the building to be sick...I'm sure this was flu induced as opposed to anything to do with alcohol....seriously, alcohol can't make you that ill can it?? The day consisted of quizes, sketches, grammer games, poems and songs involving all the groups from the differing schools and prizes were distributed and certificates produced for each participant. After the hectic day, I'd organised for a meal at one of the bars in Moutourwa so all 60 of us headed over, joined by some of my colleagues from school and my Principal. I was just gutted that I couldn't eat any of the yummy food for fear another projectile vomit incident. That'll teach me - beer IS evil.


Post a Comment

<< Home