Saturday, October 29, 2011

The wedding, my week, and everything else in between

My Henna!!! Its all faded now :( But these are pictures from when it was still very fresh :)

So the wedding was pretty cool. I got up early in the morning, cuz the bride and groom would be signing the book at 9 am. My mom had a new outifit made for that (it was yellow with purple details) and I wore my yellow dress. We drove around going first to the house (I think everybody had gathered there to drive to the signing together) then to some other place, back to the house, then we went to a different house (there were two weddings going on) then to a restaurant place where the brides and grooms danced. Afterwards, we went home to eat lunch, and change into our second outfits. After that we went back to my aunt's house, ate again (SUCH GOOD FOOD) My mom's little sister gave me a lesson on eating food with your hand. It was embarassing, and amusing >.< Its surprising how different our lives are. She's 16, a year younger than me, and she's already married, and has a little baby boy (He was 3 months old, and an adorable little fat thing).She was an expert at eating with her hands and taught me the proper "technique". She pushed at me to eat alot, so that I would get big, and marry soon. (She was also convinced that I needed to get married here.) Overall, she terribly sweet, even if she thought I was funny for wanting to get married in 10 years (or more, but I though it would be best if I didn't mention that) So anyways, after eating again, we went outside to the street, where people were playing music under a tarp, singing, or sitting and gossiping in chairs. At some point, people starting singing about the guests. The singers basically praised the family and person that they were singing about, and people would come up and do 1 (or both) of 2 things: they either raised their hand as if to say, Hey! They're singing about you! You're amazing Woohoo! and/or they gave the person money. Nene was the second person to be sung about, but she got the most money. I have the most popular mommy haha :) After a few minutes of singing, the music would speed up and everybody would get up and dance. Then, they would move on to another person. The dancing of the wedding reminded me of the Conga line, because basically, people line up and kinda start dancing in place until the person in front starts moving. She (it was all women, men were on the other side of the street talking) then danced up to the last person in line (everybody behind following her, of course) until a circle was made. And then people danced around or in the circle. The dancing didn't last too long, there was a lot of it, but the amount of dancing compared to singing and money-giving was tiiiny. We went home late in the evening (but before 6 still) and that was the wedding. There was a lot of driving going on it was crazy!!!

My dad came home last saturday (exactly a week ago) and its been great to have him back :D On Thursday, I went to an orphanage with the other Yes Abroaders, and we planted trees. I was expecting an orphanage like the one we visited in Kenya aka a large house building run by some very nice rich people and a lot of small kids running around. It was nothing like that at all. Instead, we walked into a small village like area, with a lot of small houses. In each house there lives a "Mom" and an "Aunt" (She basically helps the mom take care of the kids, and if the mom has to leave, takes over her role. Each family can have up to 10 kids. There were 150 kids total (more boys than girls, but only by a slim margin) and about 15 families. The smallest was just a baby, and the oldest are about 16. They have a school in the village, and a small playground, as well as a sports field. The man who runs the village is called "Dad" to all the kids. These are kids who have been abandonded or who's parents can't raise them for financial reasons. They're basically adopted by the families, and when they are older, they find their bioligical parents. The director says that when each kid turns 5, their history is told, because one must be able to accept their past to have a future. Anyhoo, after the tour, we planted trees out by the school (the holes were already dug, we kind just placed the trees in the hole, filled up the hole, and watered the trees. It was a pretty cool experience though. We met some Malian students who had studied in the US for a year, they were all darlings.
Thats it for now, I'll be sure to post something next week!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wedding Tomorrow Wedding Tomorrow!!!

AKNDNANDIADNA'DHEINAI3 K\474E[PA78EJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm super duper uber hella mella mad excited cuz tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow there's gonna be a wedding and its gonna be biiiiig and its gonna take all dayyy and I have pretty Malian clothing and the clothe matches my mom's outfit but our models are different and my hands have Henna and OMG its sooo pretty. The henna here is different though. I'm used to Middle Eastern henna, which is this green pastey substance that when it dries, flakes off and leaves the skin stained with a reddish/brown color. The henna here, is black, for one, like a gel, and gets washed off when it dries. There is also a ver red henna which was even more like gel. That went on my hands. My mom got a different sort of henna though. While I had a guy using drawing designs on my hands with henna, my mom had a woman who was applying tape to her feet, palms and finger tips, in geometrical patterns. Then, she applied henna to these areas, but this henna was green, and like clay. The lady used her fingers to mold the henna to my moms feet, palm and fingertips, then covered them with plastic bags to let them dry. Later (like hours later) the henna got scraped off with a large knife, and the tape got taken off. So most of the foot had red henna, and where the tape was, there was unstained skin. Another powder was then applied to the foot (mixed with water, its grey, and kinda looks like ashes) and when this was later taken off (plastic bags for another 2 hours) the henna then looks black. Its really interesting, cuz the henna goes over the fingernails too, and then its like nail polish. I don't have henna on my nails though, just the top of my hands going down to each of the finger until it reaches the nail and then going up my wrist stopping halfway up my elbow. Anyhoo, thats the henna. As I said, I got traditional Malian clothing, and the clothe matches my mom. We both went in and got measured (Found that my body is kinda hourglass shaped ;] )  My mom and I got different models of clothing though, she has a looser and long shirt, with sleaves whereas mine is tighter, shorter, has no sleeves, and it has a collar-like thing going around the neck. My mom also got her hair done, and is gonna get a lot of makeup done too. Tomorrow, I'm waking up at 7, because the signing is happening at 9. Here, people sign a book, to officiate the marriage. Anyhoo, thats that. As you can tell, I'm super duper excited, cuz I feel like a real Malian now, which is pretty cool, if ya ask me. I'm going to bring my camera and flipcam to take pictures and record videos. It will be really cool to have souvenirs of that.
Anyhoo, school gets better and better, and I understand a lot more. Its getting easier to take notes too, thank goodness. I'm making more friends, and my old friendships are getting stronger. I'm starting to build a harem of boys...A dream come true! Haha, outside the school, there are ladies who sell drinks and food, so during break or after school, I can get something to eat or drink, which is nice. There have been a couple of schedule changes for me. Spanish, on Tuesdays, has been moved from 15 hours-1700 to 1300-1500 which means I have to eat lunch at school, but then I get out early and I'm done for the day. Also, starting next November, I will be having tests every other Wednesday afternoon switching off from Math to Phsyics/Chemistry. I get off early on Thursday, but again, soon I will have the option to come back to school to participate in sporty activities (or cultural activities, apperently) or just watch. Monday and Friday continue to be full day, normal schedule. I'm starting to miss my school. I never realized how...liberating it was to be able to think outside the box. Here, teachers expect you to learn material the way the present it to you. They not only tell you WHAT to do, they tell you HOW to do it. I have since decided that I hate Hate HATE being told how to do things. Which sucks for me. But it has me appreciating American education all that much more. I can't wait to take my education into my own hands again. Welp, I gotta get off the computer, cuz my brother is standing behind me, rocking the chair, threatening to spill me off of it if I don't give it to him NOW I miss everybody until next weekend!!
Au revoir <3

Sunday, October 16, 2011

L'ecole (School D:)

Oh my goodness gracious, school here is Very different from the school system in America. The first major differences are: I have only 3 classes a day and the average class lasts 2 hours. Class time is spend writing down just about everything the teachers says, making him/her the only speaker and students never say a thing. The only questions asked are "can you repeat what you said?/ how do you spell that?" I have chosen to study Science Exact at the 12th grade, meaning that more emphasis is placed on Math and Science-8 hours of math every week and 6 hours of science. These are the only classes that get repeated. Every other class is once a week. So, this is how my schedule goes:

Wake up at 5:45, and get ready for school
Wake up at 5:45, and get ready for school
Wake up at 5:45, and get ready for school
Wake up at 5:45, and get ready for school
Wake up at 5:45, and get ready for school
Assembly, for lack of a better word: basically, the flag is raised and the national anthem is sung. Then, Math class.
3 hours of Biology first thing Tuesday morning. Honestly, this makes me want to hop on the next plane flying back to America with a second glance or thought.
2 hours of Physics or Chemistry, usually Physics. Although once it was chemistry.
2 hours of Math. Not much else to say.
Physics/Chemistry for two hours. What else can I say?
Ah hour of Philosophy***, followed by a 15 minute break
Still more Biology D: and then a 15 minute break (!!)
Bible studies, if I’m correct (Biblio Etude in French) Basically an hour of free time (SO MUCH FREE TIME <3) and then there’s another 15 minute break
An hour of drawing or music! Music class, by the way, does NOT consist of making music. It’s taking notes on the scales. (sob) Again,  another 15 minute break
Now, here, I’m supposed to have an hour off, but I think the teacher and other students decided to have an hour of math here, and get off an hour earlier for lunch. 15 minute break.
2 more hours of Philosophy (3 hours in total)
2 hours of Physics or Chemistry, whichever one the teacher feels like teaching, as far as I’m concerned.
2 hours of Math. And then I go home for lunch, yummm.
1 hour of informatique, basically a class on computers. Then I get to go home an hour early! (I walk)
Second hour of math class, and then I go home an hour early. I usually walk home.
Lunch break! Usually, my mom picks me up and drives me home, but sometimes I walk. I spend this time eating, watching TV, and completing my homework
Lunch break! Usually, my mom picks me up and drives me home, but sometimes I walk. I spend this time eating, watching TV, and completing my homework
Lunch break! Usually, my mom picks me up and drives me home, but sometimes I walk. I spend this time eating, watching TV, and completing my homework
Lunch break, continued. Again, either driven or I walk home, to eat, watch TV, and do homework.
Lunch break, continued. I eat, watch TV, and do homework.
History/Geography (switches every week)***
Spanish class! Although, the teacher has yet to show up to class (which means that after an hour of no show, we go home…early! Because of this, I walk home)
Devoirs, which is basically a 2 hour period for tests. Since school just started, it’s basically 2 hours of free time, which means NO CLASSES :D
Basically free time, although in my schedule this block is titled “Sporty and Cultural Activities” In other words, NO CLASSES
English class. Basically 2 hours of boredom although I do pay attention, take notes, and participate. But its still, 2 hours of boredom.
Finally, school is done for the day. I go home and basically rest, eat, do homework, and go to bed at 9 or 10 (or in between!)
Finally, school is done for the day. I go home and basically rest, eat, do homework, and go to bed at 9 or 10 (or in between!)
At some point, I’ll probably go home at this time, but for now, I’ve been home for 2 hours.
Been home for 2 hours, and I continue staying home heehee J
Finally, school is done for the day. I go home and basically rest, eat, do homework, and go to bed at 9 or 10 (or in between!)

*From 10:30 to 10:45 I have a 15 minute break called recreation, but there weren't enough cells to put this as its own slot.
** This is called Inter-Classe or In Between Classses. Basically Eating Time. Recreation is also eating time.
***Philosophy and History/Geo make me wanna hurl, becuase the teachers basically launches into a lecture with little room from breath and don't write what they say. So my notes are very messy, and don't make any sense at all :P

Notes taken:
No textbooks are used, at all. Teacher told a kid to cut his hair. Students clean the chalk board when it needs to be cleaned (about 3 times per lesson) as well as the classroom (I sweep the floor every monday and friday). Stand up when the teacher walks into the room (students stay in the same classroom all day, and teachers move around) School logo either means Educating about Life and Love or Educating Life and Love. Most of my teachers are male. On Monday-Wednesdays, I wear a blue uniform consisting of a shirt and skirt, although after lunch, I have the option to change into a white t-shirt with a red collar. Thursdays and Fridays, I wear a brown dress. Both have the same patterned cloth.

Saturday and Sunday I try to wake up at nine, and I spend my days relaxing. (Watch tv, socialize with my mom's friends/family, soak up the sunshine homework)

p.s Completely un-school related but next Sunday, there is ANOTHER wedding (been to three so far) and I got a traditional Malian costume made. ITS SUPER PRETTY I CAN'T WAIT TO WEAR IT!!! Pictures will be up on facebook!!!!

A bien tot!