“I’m halfway thereeee”

I am now officially over halfway through my time in The Gambia, and the feeling is bittersweet. This past week has gone by in blur. I was homesick at the beginning of the week when I was dropped off, but since then I haven’t had time to really think about missing home. This past Saturday, the students were challenged to present the material they were learning in class in a creative way. Whichever class had the most knowledgable and creative program would end up winning. My class wasn’t technically competing because we only had a few classes, but we still presented.

Over the past week, my class went over what coping skills were, types of stress that the girls experience, and general coping skills to deal with these stresses. The girls learned a lot, and were eager to show the rest of Starfish what they had learned. Our presentation consisted of a skit about coping skills and a poem recited by one of my students about dealing with fear. 

The skit started with two of the girls getting in a “fight” before their class started and one of them really insulting the other. This was the problem that they were going to deal with in the skit. Then the “teacher” walked in and presented to the girls about stress and ways to deal with it. After the class was over, the girl that had been hurt confronted the girl she argued with, and they ended up resolving the conflict. It was a short skit, but we only had Thursday and Friday to prepare for it. 

One of students, Yadicone Jassey, present her poem entitled “I am never upset for the Reason I think”. It talked about how people normally think they are upset about the circumstances or situations they are in, or because of other people. But really, people are upset because of the way they personally react to situations. Any reason for being upset comes from inside, and that you have a choice to choose love instead of being upset. It was a deep poem for such a young girl to have written, and it really illustrated what I was trying to teach them.

Another major event that started last week was the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it consists of fasting  from water and food whenever the sun is up, for the whole month of June. This effects my classes because all of my afternoon students complain of being tired and hungry by the time later afternoon comes around. I have never fasted before in my life, so I decided to try fasting in order to see what my students are going through. Not eating food for a whole day isn’t as hard as you would think, but the real problem is no water. No water for a whole 14 hours, while its a sweltering 90 degrees outside. I don’t know if I will be able to last the whole month, but we’ll find out!

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