Blast of Benin #10

Strike! Strike! Strike!

There’s a strike happening at my school right now. This is the second strike of the school year. When a strike happens the teachers don’t teach Tuesday through Thursday. This means there’s a full day of class Monday and a half day of class Friday.

The students are SUPPOSE to still come to class. As said by the Vice-Principal during Monday Morning Annoucements, ” The teachers are on strike, you are not.” But that doesn’t stop some kids from not showing up to school.

The strike is happening because the teachers having been teaching but the government has not been paying them… talk about awkward…

The situation sucks. It really does for all parties here. It sucks for the teachers because they are not getting paid so how will they feed themselves and their families and live life. It sucks for the students because they are missing school even while at school and are getting behind in their studies. It sucks for the school administration aka the Vice-Principal and accountant and now secretary because there’s only 3 adults to manage over 500 Students. It sucks for the government because Hella kids are missing out on education. And it sucks for me because I’ll be the only teacher at school and my kids are like why should we be learning right now when all our friends are having fun and they have started becoming a bit raucousy and acting out.

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Biia Thoughts: Star Trek

The most watched show during my Peace Corps service has been Star Trek.

In the beginning of Star Trek I use to imagine working on a starship and exploring spade and how amazing it would be. It’s crazy working on a Federation starship. Like yes go explore space… see new things… meet new people… taste new food… LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!

So far I have lived abroad the USS Enterprise, Deep Space Nine (with occasional trips in the Defiant), and Voyager. Each has been an amazing experience. But as I experienced this journey I have realized I couldn’t actually do this with the Federation in real life.

Like these people sign up and basically agree that anything and everything can happen to them. People stay doing and getting tortured on those ships. Crash landings, enemy ships attacking, hostage take overs, excluding a new planet and getting killed by an inhabitant or wildlife, weird space anomalies, telepathic aliens accidently frying your brain… and God forbid if you work in engineering or in security!! The warp core stays getting breached and anti matter is infatuated with matter and loves exploding in people’s face. And honestly 1-2 security officers die each episode at least smh.

I would rather live on a planet and just travel a lot to other planets.

Some tips to survive in Star Trek:

  • Be the captain
  • Work in sick bay
  • Be a higher ranked officer
  • Involve yourself in everything
  • DON’T WORK SECURITY
  • Don’t wander off by yourself on new planets… well any planet actually
  • Don’t trust that super cute and into you alien
  • Befriend Klingons (please note: you will probably be in more dangerous situations than normal but y’all will survive)
  • Stay away from the Borg
  • When the warp core tries to breach or the anti matter containment field starts weakening DON’T dilly dally by it and the surrounding workstations… something is going to explode
  • Work on upper body strength so you don’t fall to your death or so you can pull someone else to safety

Teaching Diary: January 2018

  • On my birthday (January 10th) all of the schools in Benin decided to take the day off in CELEBRATION!…coincidently fete de voudon is on that day as well
  • Lotsa kids started to become possessed thanks to witchcraft and sorcery… it was wild
  • There was two prayers that happened to combat this issue, also lotsa salt was thrown everywhere. Also at one point a pastor was at the school because so many kids had fallen out.
  • One day 15 kids were possessed
  • My 6eme A had their coloring party. They colored flowers.
  • I finally got to talk and meet my scholarship girls.
  • There was another strike
  • That being said I was the only teacher showing up to school those days
  • During that time done kids took advantage of the strike and didn’t come to school and it was amazing! I had normal like 25 kid sized classes 🙂 i… I miss it…
  • Had my second wellness day
  • I finally met my scholarship girls
  • Also i finally got them their school books they wanted
  • I made some BOMB spaghetti
  • I found out my cat is actually a boy not a girl. It was wild.
  • I made tapioca for the first time
  • I had a coloring party with my 6eme D
  • I got a new student in my 6 eme A class… he joined 2 weeks before the semester was suppose to end
  • In class, while waiting for more students to show up because of the strike, I taught them how to play Tic Tac Toe… I demolished all of them…I am the champion

Blast of Benin #9

So at school the was a two week period where students were being possessed left and right. It was not fun. It got to the point where more than 15 kids were possessed in one day. There was even a couple in my class and a few times class was canceled because of it (which sucked because it was in between the two strikes that took place so the teachers lost valuable teaching time.

For the first student in my class to be possessed there was sudden yelling and twisting around and a girl started yelling in Bariba. At the same time she was crying and her arms were twisting into very uncomfortable positions. In Bariba she was yelling about how she wanted to possess and would kill another student in class. Now this other student who was standing started stiffening up and had a death grip on a desk. Then her head started bobbing and jerking around. And she started making a low guttural with each bob. Luckily for me, my first possession took place in my Co-teaching class so I didn’t really have to do anything. The Vice-Principal and accountant came told the other students to carry the 2 girls out and put them in the teacher’s break room.

In my solo teaching class, the girl got possessed right before my class started. When I arrived the priest had sent everybody home and was trying to exercise her. She was walking on her knees yelling in what I can describe as only a high pitch dolphin short burst scream. I stayed until she was exorcised. That means the priest said a bunch of prayers while also throwing salt on her. Afterwards she came out of her trance she had to wash up before she could go home.

Let me yell you… it was a lot to soak up.

Possessions ranged from students collapsing and yelling in different languages to students having seizures and acting all crazy. It got to the point that there was 2 school prayers (each 5 hours long) held and a priest spent a day at school helping students and throwing salt in front of classes. Only girls got possessed which is strange because both boys and girls can get possessed

I asked the vice principal if this was normal and he said every year 1 or 2 students get possessed but never to this many at once. Allegedly a couple of villages in an hour range had 1 possession as well. A teacher told me that something was wrong with the school grounds but no one knew what. Possessions are not because of voodoo. Possessions happen because there is a witch/sorceress and decides to possession someone to try to force them to do her biddings which is usually to kill someone. Just about all the possession at school had a student saying she was going to I’ll another student or teacher

My host mom asked me how I felt and what would I do if a student tried to kill me. I told her that it felt a little bizarre to me and I don’t care who is trying to kill me but everybody will get punched in the face. They could be a student, a teacher, an elder or a baby I’ll punch everybody. If I die I’m taking the other person with me. My response caused my mom to cry from laughing so hard. She then told me I didn’t have to worry about it because sorcery didn’t effect strangers. That made me feel a little better but I would still feel creepy at night sometimes. (Side note: apparently you should try to stop the child and get help for them instead of punching them in the face… look you guys I’ve seen too many movies and read too many books to do this. You just got to end it right away idc idc idc idc)

ALSO one last thing… when I asked the teachers why this was happening the answer was “It’s Africa”. They found it amusing that I was not satisfied with that answer and how I didn’t think it was an actual reason.

Possible Reason why this might have happened sourced from the mind of Biia:

  • Sorcery
  • Students not wanting class
  • It being an elaborate school prank where every year a student gets possessed but since there’s a stranger here this year they decided to go all out
  • Some type of environmental trigger like lead paint, tainted soil, too much dust, trash strewn all around
  • Some scary insect Bourne sickness
  • It’s Africa lol just kidding