Sunday, June 24, 2007

...The Pirate Party...

"O better to far to live and die,
under the brave black flag I fly
Then play a sanctimonious part,
with a pirate head, and a pirate heart!"
~ Gilbert and Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance~

Before the party I applied my artistic skills to helping people get ready - sewed a few eye-patches, applied a few tattoos, tied a few scarves. It was memorable.

Meghan-the-Pirate-Wench and Emily-the-Pirate-Queen (Jack Sparrow is my boyfriend).

Ahoy, me mates! Some fellow pirates, looking well....not so piratey.
Ah well. It's the thought that counts.

My friend Naomi - she works for the SL government and I see her mostly at Bible Study.

Captain Waiser and Pepe the Parrot. At least he's wearing a kerchief. Sheesh people. The Captain works for the Special Court, and is a fellow Canuck. Arrrrrgggg!

What pirate party would be complete without a parrot, I ask you?? Certainly photo-worthy.

And finally, to add a little excitement to the night, so very daring, very pirate-esque fire-jumping. People are insane. It's all fun and games until someone needs a peg leg.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

...Done Like Dinner...

Hello! And greetings from my dining room table, where I am currently sitting using my new housemate's internet connection. She went upcountry for a few days and left me her laptop and modem so when we get light, or if we run the generator it's almost like I'm back home...glued to my computer and communicating with the world. Well, sort of.

School ended officially on Wednesday - those last few days were very busy with lots of paperwork and procrastination. But now I'm a free agent. Until Monday, that is, ,which is when I will be under a self-imposed lockdown to get things kick started with my research. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little nervous about it. Thus, procrastination abounds! But after this weekend (when I'm taking a little break from all my other committments and starting to reboot my social life here in Sierra Leone which has been seriously lacking as of late) I will force myself to hit the tarmack (oh who are we kidding? I'll hit the road: the dirty, pocked with potholes, filled with water-because-it-hasn't-stopped-raining-for a week, dirt road - on a plus side we have lots of rain water! Yay for showers!) and track down some interviewing leads. I have 3 people lined up already and am hoping I can use those individuals to network more individuals...who will refer me to more individuals....and like a pebble hitting the water, my contacts will just ripple out, undendingly.

Uh, right.

Tonight: a pirate-themed party. I know. I can barely contain myself. I get to play DRESS UP! And let me tell you, I'm going to look very seafaring and rugged. I'm charging my camera as I type this. I always knew my knowledge of all the lyrics to "Pirates of Penzance" would come in handy....

"For I am a Pirate King (He is!)/ Hurrah for the Pirate King! /And it is, it is, a glorious thing to be a Pirate King....!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

...almost there!...

One day left!!

I can almost taste it (incidentally, it tastes like a strawberry and peach frozen yogurt, which I haven't had for a year. Or maybe an Iced Cap from Timmy's. Such a difficult decision).

Today we're cleaning out desks, handing back textbooks, throwing away all the work we did...yep, makes me feel VERY useful.

This afternoon we're going to deliver the school packs we put together with the money raised from our 30 Hour Famine. It should be good - I hope it goes well. I forgot to bring my camera so won't be able to take any pictures.

Yesterday we had the closing ceremony for the school (also called the "end of year program") It was pretty good in a 3-hour-long-I-think-I'm-going-to-die-and-I-hate-wearing-a-skirt sort of way. My kids played guitar, did a cool musical number with these chime things that you hit (each one has a different sound, each kid is assigned something like 4 chimes each and they have to coordinate to play a piece of music together), and played recorder. We also made a presentation to Mrs. Leigh - a collage the grade 6/7s had made during class and one of the students framed. Mrs. Leigh called today and told me to thank the kids - she said it was the most beautiful and creative gift she has received from students. Score! My grade 8 students made a video ("This is your life"), where they interviewed students and staff for memories of Mr. Leigh etc. There's a very nice picture montage at the end...The other classes made some poems etc. and with Justin's help we put them all together in a 'memory book' and then all of the gifts went into a big, carved wooden box. It was really nice! Mrs. Leigh has left for about a month's visit home, but returns in mid-July to welcome her replacement, Michael Geneser to AISF.

All in all, a crazily busy time! I can't wait to be move on to interviewing.

I need a holiday!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

...What I've been up to...

It's almost over! There officially only 6 more school days left! We have a few 'teacher days' after students are released on the 15th, but days without having to teach can't really be counted, can they?

As promised, I have a picture from the dinner with Kim Campbell. It was actually fascinating and I was very appreciative to Frances Fortune (the Canadian Consul and also mother of one of my students - see the boy in life jacket below showing the whites of his eyes. Charming.) for inviting me.

Frances Fortune (Can. Consul, SL), Kim Campbell (former PM, Canada)

Kim Campbell now works for an organization called 'The Club of Madrid' which is basically a ''presidents' club'' (or former president's club!). You can find out more information about the organization at: (sorry Michelle, I can't remember the html.) They do work with governments and countries going through democratic transitions, but their mandate is really quite liberal and is open to interpretation. It was fascinating to hear her speak and to have dinner with prominent women in leadership in Sierra Leone.

Last Saturday, my grade 6-8 students (plus a few extra parents and brothers/sisters) went on a fantastic guided tour to Bunce Island, a former slave castle during the Atlantic Slave trade. It was a truly memorable experience and I so glad I went, although I was completely exhausted and basically catatonic by the time I reached home in the late afternoon.

Our tour guide, Mr. Joe Opala was brilliant. His life's work has been studying and drumming up support to preserve the island, so he was a wealth of information both for me and the students. The day before our trip out, he had brought Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy) who recently discovered he has roots in Sierra Leone's Mende ethnic group, and is donating money to the virtual (as in computer-animated) reconstruction and preservation of the island.

For more, see: