13 August, 2008

Pioneer Spirit

Just finished: White Noise by DeLillo
Next up: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palesine by Pappe
Listening to: The Calling by Mary Chapin Carpenter & Mahler's 9th Symphony
Eating: Far too many figs from my Fig Guy in the souq. I think even he's getting concerned.

Darwish was buried today. I haven't seen news of the burial yet. Some of us listened to radio coverage between meetings. I thought about going, being a part of it, but decided I would better honor him by continuing to work on getting our school up and running. I think he would have agreed with me. We are very busy at the moment with seemingly everything as the first day of classes rushes up on us. Busy is a bit of an understatement.

I was so happy today to see one of my students from the summer program, a tiny, adorable and wildly bright boy who will enter second grade this year. He was in the office with his sister and parents and his parents, who I'd not met, looked a bit amazed when he walked right into my open arms for a big hug. My group this summer were new students who didn't have much English at all, so I focused on getting them ready to handle school. But hug was one of the first words I taught them and I hugged each of them, and most of the rest of our kids, every day. It sort of became an automatic response with a few of the: they would see me, throw their arms open wide and walk right over to hug me.

School opens on the 24th and there is just a skeleton crew on hand at the moment. The Palestinian teachers are enjoying a much needed break. In the midst of trying to get the two first grade classes arranged and outfitted, planning my lessons, and remembering little things like food and water, we are still working to arrange the library and make it all it can and should be. Then there's organizing the joint staff meeting with its full agenda of discussion and break-away groups, helping develop the new Web site, coordinating with my two Palestinian co-teachers, welcoming the newest members of our international staff as they arrive, my mural projects, sorting out where to plant a student garden, designing my after-school programs, trying to arrange meetings with community groups for joint projects....

I am getting more of a sense of settling in. I exchange far more greetings as I walk through the old city and the neighborhood around our school each morning. A few of the people I see regularly have begun addressing me as "mualeema", or teacher, when greeting me. I feel a part of things and it is wonderful. Sadly, I've no time at the moment to sit and chat, but everybody is very understanding.


No comments: