I’m halfway through my Peace Corps service and would like to ask you to become a part of my wild and crazy Ethiopian adventure!!! Inspired by a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer (thanks @SarahArnold) and the contagious energy of my new students, I’m reaching out for a little bit of your help.
In the year 2013 the majority of the American population is undoubtedly reading electronic versions of their favorite novels and textbooks. With Kindles and iPads, hard copy anything seems a bit archaic and far too environmentally un-friendly for anyone’s taste. BUT, lucky for me, it’s still the year 2005 here—really, Ethiopia is on a different calendar! Which means a good, old-fashioned book goes a long way. It is with that in mind that I ask for your generous support in helping my school community by purchasing books from www.betterworldbooks.com.
You may be wondering, “How can I be sure that my donated books will not be sitting in your office merely collecting dust? Well, I’m so glad you asked…
a) Yitbarek: Yitbarek, an endearing and eager 6th grade student, walks nearly 2 hours from the countryside to get to school each day. His work ethic and spirit is truly special, having never missed an English Club and this year, being the first student to register for my 6h grade tutorial program. Yitbarek is a role model, spending much of his free time helping me to educate his peers on the importance of using a mosquito net to prevent Malaria. Yitbarek’s experience with Malaria is personal and consequently he dreams to one-day grow up and eradicate the disease from his country. I tell you this because for someone with such big dreams and the ability to transform them into a reality, he needs to improve his English. Unfortunately, I will not be able to educate such students forever and for those who are as motivated as he, it is important that he have books to read!
b) Kidist: Kidist, a bright and motivated girl, is also an active-participant in all of my programs. Each day, Kidist breezes through another one the “free-read” books that I keep in my office, literally re-reading the same books over and over again. Since starting my class last year, Kidist has taken it upon herself to continue writing creatively in her free time, submitting new and different short- stories to me on a continual basis. Kidist attributes her creativity and desire to become a famous female author to her love of reading English storybooks.
Although these are just two examples of how your contribution can directly help my students, I teach almost 200! Needless to, say, your donations will be affecting far more than just the two! Additionally, some of these books will be used to train 50 teachers on more active-learning methodologies and encourage them to become more innovative in their daily lessons.
So if you are….
Still skeptical? I can only hope that the cute pictures following this blog post will entice you. Otherwise, I appreciate your continued interest in reading about my adventures.
Sold? Great! Please follow the instructions below:
Instructions for helping Dangila 03 Primary School!
1) Choose a book (or as many as you like) from my wish list (posted below). Once a book is purchased, I will cross it out it from the list.
2) Go to www.betterworldbooks.com and use the search bar to find the book of your choice. If applicable, choose the cheapest, used option. And please put the shipping address as…
PO Box 87
*Note shipping is free!!!!
3) Send me an email indicating which book you chose so I can update the list for others…email@example.com. Also, please send your address!
4) Keep your eyes peeled for a thank-you card from Ethiopia!
Book Wish list
*Children’s Books (These are taken from the top 100 best Children’s books, but really any children’s book is welcome!)…
A Bear Called Paddington Alices Adventures in Wonderland A Chair for My Mother Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good very bad day Amazing Grace Amelia Bedelia Anne of Green Gables Arthur Series Are You My Mother? A Very Hungry Caterpillar A Wrinkle in Time Basil of Baker Street Ben’s Trumpet Bernstein Bears Series Bark, George Bread and Jam for Frances Big Red Lollipop Birds
Black on White Bridge to Terabithia Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bud, Not Buddy Caps for Sale Cat in the Hat Chato’s Kitchen Clarice Bean, That’s Me Chains Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Charlotte’s Web Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Clifford, the Big Red Dog Corduroy Series Counting Kisses: A Kiss and Read Book Curious George Diary of a Wimpy Kid Diary of a Worm Diary of a Young Girl Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Dogger Eloise Esperanza Rising Freight Train Frog and Toad Are Friends George and Martha Go, Dog. Go! Good Night, Gorilla Goodnight Moon Green Eggs and Ham Guess how much I love you? Harold and the Purple Crayon Harriet The Spy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Harry Potter’s 2, 3, 4,& 5 Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez Hatchet Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes Holes How the Grinch Stole Christmas Hi! Fly Guy Hunger Games Series (for some high-schoolers!) I Took the Moon for a Walk Island of the Blue Dolphins If you give a Mouse a Cookie If you give a Moose a Muffin If you give a Pig a Pancake In the Night Kitchen James in the Giant Peach Jumanji Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale Little House on the Prairie Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse Little Women Living Sunlight Llama Llama Red Pajama Madeline Make Way For Ducklings Martin’s Big Words Matilda Math Curse My Name is Yoon Moo, Baa, La La La Mr. Popper’s Penguins Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother My Truck Is Stuck No No Yes Yes Not a Box Ages 4-7 Number the Stars Oh, the Places You’ll Go Olivia One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish Owl Moon Pat the Bunny Peek-a Who? Puss in Boots Rainbow Fish Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Ramona the Pest Ramona Quimby, Age 8 Revolting Rhymes Sarah, Plain and Tall Smile! Stellaluna Strega Nona Stuart Little Swimmy Sylvester and the Magic Pebble Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose Taxi Dog Tea with Milk Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon Ten, Nine, Eight The Arrival The Art Lesson
The Bad Beginning
The Adventures of Tintin The Borrowers The Chronicles of Narnia The Diary of a Young Girl The Hobbit The Hundred and One Dalmatians The Little Prince The Story of Babar The Tiger Who Came to Tea The Trumpet of the Swan The BFG The Boxcar Children Series The Composition Ages 8-10 The Dot The Giver The Giving Tree The House at Pooh Corner The Indian in the Cupboard The Invention of Hugo Cabret The Lightning Thief The Lion and the Mouse The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe The Little Engine That Could The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks The Maze of Bones The Mitten The Napping House The Paper Bag Princess The Phantom Tollbooth The Polar Express The Runaway Bunny The Secret Garden The Story of Ferdinand The Tale of Peter Rabbit The True Story of the Three Little Pigs The Velveteen Rabbit The Wind in the Willows Through My Eyes Tuck Everlasting When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Where the Sidewalk Ends The Snowy Day Vlad the Drac What Do People Do All Day? What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? What Shall We Do With the Boo Hoo Baby? Where the Wild Things Are Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears Winnie The Pooh Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Would you Rather Zen Shorts
*English Teaching Books
Games in Teaching English as a Foreign Language by: Nomi Kun
Multiple Choice- A Useful Testing Method for Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Teaching Grammar by: Jim Scrivener The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide: Ready-to-Uuse Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching ENglish Language Learners of All Levels 99 Ideas and Activites for Teaching English Learners with the Siop Model By: Mary Ellen Vogt
The Good Grammar Book: A Grammar Practice Book for Elementary to Lower-Intermediate Students of English
Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Drama Activities for EFL Students
Treasures, a Reading/Language Arts Program, Grade 1, Book 2 Student Editions
*Teaching Aids: Multiples are welcome!! :)
Webster’s American English Dictionary
(*3 Copies have been sent thank you @StephJackson!, but you can never have too many :) )
Amharic English, English Amharic Dictionary: A Modern Dictionary of the Amharic Language By: Endale Zenawi My Big Bag of 8 Sticker Books Tear Up This Book!: The Sticker, Stencil, Stationery, Games, Crafts, Doodle, and Journal Book for Girls!
*Really any sticker or coloring-type book if you search “stickers” or “coloring” many come up!
Just last week, dozens of students stood inches away from my face, staring at me as if I were the Galapagos Monster. They poked their heads through my window, their inquisitive eyes piercing at me. Eight months later and the novelty still hasn’t faded, I wondered. Doesn’t this get old for them?
Just as I threaten to close the window and raise my hand in anger, my grievances fade. An abnormally tall and lanky 5th grader peaks his head through, “Miss Emily, help me” he questions, with tears in his eyes. I recognize the boy’s face from English Club but couldn’t remember his name. “Come in” I reply and try my best to shoo the remaining students away.
We sit talking together in a broken Amharic/English mix, me trying to piece together what the boy is saying and what he wants. After some minor confusion I figured it out: Tayachew (the boy) is a 16-year old 5th grader. He has no parents and lives and works for an elderly woman. The woman is about to die and once she does, Tayachew will not have a home. He worries that he will not be able to feed himself, clothe himself, and most of all he fears that he will have to quit school to find permanent work. My heart sank. Sure after living in Ethiopian for nearly a year, I’ve seen some rough things. I knew such kinds of situations were common here, but hearing and seeing the pain in a child’s face, is like nothing I have ever felt. The cynic in me briefly wondered if he was telling the truth, or if his expectations were far-fetched like a free trip to America or an absurd amount of money, but the human being inside me cried out, don’t just look at him, DO SOMETHING! My mind raced, how could I help this boy? Free hand outs are both unsustainable and portray a false perception of foreigners, but then what exactly is he asking for? I tell him I will speak to the school director and vice director. I tell him I will speak to my colleagues and counterpart, in hopes that somebody will know how to help him.
I now know that my last idea was perhaps the most naïve one I’ve had yet. I learned quickly that both officials and teachers alike have very little compassion for a child in Tayachew’s situation. They offer to provide a small stipend for books and school supplies, but nothing more. There are no social workers or guidance counselors here. The school director saw the concern in my face and laughed, inquiring as to why I want to help this boy when there are so many others like him.
After spending nearly a week searching for an answer, I mentioned the situation to one of my favorite teachers, Biralgash, in passing. Biralgash listened for about one minute before telling me that my landlady had been looking for a boy to work and live on our compound. My landlady, a tough but loving woman, agreed within minutes, telling us that if he is a good child she will help him until the end. I was absolutely elated. Here I was moving from official to official, while the answer was right in front of my face.
Sadly, Tayachew isn’t alone. Also last week, I saw a girl on the bus while riding back to Dangila. For the sake of this blog, I’ll call her Hana. Hana, an absolutely stunning young girl was alone. She sat quietly, conducting herself much like an 18 year old, paying for her own ride and dictating to the door boy where she needed to get off the bus. I locked eyes with her and asked her age and grade. She smiled at me and said she is eight years old and in the 3rd grade. A million questions raced through my mind. My stomach turned with anxiety. As she disembarked one of the men behind me shook his hand from side to side and muttered “orphan” under his breath. My heart dropped.
Lastly there’s Bethlehem. Bethlehem is truly something special, a 12-year old girl in the 5th grade and my most powerful bodyguard. She took to me from the beginning, starting by staying late after school, cleaning my office and walking me home. She constantly shoos the disturbing children away from my office yells at them when they call me “China” and “Foreigner.” In fact yesterday, I heard her explaining to a group of children that “Just because Emily is white doesn’t mean she should be treated any differently.” Although she spends much time with me at school, it isn’t as if she doesn’t have anything else to do. Bethlehem is the sole caretaker of her younger brother and is responsible for cooking dinner for her family and doing chores. On top of all of that, she is a devout Orthodox Christian, waking up at dawn to attend Church everyday and refusing to eat during fasting season until 5pm everyday. Bethlehem is yet another example of a child forced to grow up too fast, conducting herself like an adult outside the school compound but while inside, she seems no different than your average child.
Point being, the children in this country can be annoying as hell, yelling things at me and constantly out-stretching their wet, dirty hands for me to shake. But the majority endures the unimaginable and still shows up for school everyday. Almost all of them are responsible for cooking dinner for their entire family, herding animals, and taking care of their siblings. Some of them are forced into unfortunate realities, supporting and feeding themselves while simultaneously struggling to obtain an education. Ethiopia is a country dominated by Tayachew’s, Hana’s, and Bethlehem’s. Needless to say, my heart and admiration goes out to them.
Introducing creative writing to 80 Ethiopians is as painful as my first bite of injera. Creativity, a concept as foreign as the girl standing in front of them took weeks, maybe even months to teach. But nonetheless some of them grasped it, while many others failed miserably. But I’d give an A for effort….75+ students and teachers showed up on a Saturday to participate in my competition! Read at your own risk and enjoy those that are moving to the next level… Don’t miss the teacher entry at the bottom…a heart-warming favorite!
What would happen if children ruled the world?
Grade 8: Sefinew Misganow
If the children could rule the world, I am the first ruler. First I go to the market and I bought the knowledge of how to persuasion the world people. Next, I go to the center part of the earth and I build the biggest stage. That stage is 10 km in height and has 5 km square area. From that stage, I can see all the world people. Then I build the biggest micraphon on the stage. I speak into that micraphon and the world people can listen to me. That micraphon have good ability. That ability is that the sound does not damage human ear and the micraphon can control the amount of sound. Then I will start teaching all the world people in the morning!
I say: “East to West, North to South, living world peoples Good morning! Today I will start rule the world. I am the first children ruler.” My slogan is “create better world for next generation.” We can create better world by three methods.
First peace. Now, I know the world people needs infrastructure, ICT, technology, and other modernized technology, but first war, robbers, theifs, and other terrorizers must go away. They are not necessary for world people.
The second, racism. Humans cannot measure color of skin, past history, and others, but humans can measure only humans. Because of this, all of the world people give us this right. All of world people can live in any country.
Then the third is climate change. Now climate change is the cause of famine and others. Then, all of developed countries must stop nuclur projects, chemical industries, and others because there are pollutants of atmosphere. Then, all of world people say “Ok! We agree your idea.”
I ruled easily for world people after that day. After that day, there was world peace. It does not have racism, climate change, famine, war, and others. I go to any country and all of people call me the father of peace because of this I am so happy.
What would happen if children ruled the world?
Grade 8: Abraham Yirsaw
If childrens ruled the world, the world can change. Because childrens idea is really fast and best. The president of the world is Abraham Yirsaw. He is special child.
One day, Abraham is flying by his plane in atmosphere. Then he sees a lot of dirty in atmosphere. The dirty begin on mountain. The more dirty mountain are 300.
Abraham want to clean this 300 dirty mountain. He create one object. This object can clean dirty on the mountain. Then he prepare plan. This plan is about preparing a machine. He pay to prepare it 30,000 Euro. He starts to clean this 300 dirty mountain.
Abraham starts cleaning. He ride the machine. This machine can clean 100,000 km squared per day. He clean 284 mountains in one year and he clean 60 dirty mountains by two months. He finish.
Abraham tell to peoples he is finished. He win best person in the world wide award. Peoples respect him. In another day he is flying by his plane. He doesn’t see any dirty in atmosphere. So he is relly happy.
If you could change one thing about boys/girls, what would you change? Why?
Grade 8: Addisu Getanet
The equality of girls and boys are equal meaning the boys will be wearing the girls dress. The girls work boys can do and the boys work girls can do. In this time the boy works on the farm and the girl works in a home but if change one thing about boys and girls, the girls can do on a farm and the boys can do in a home. And this is no different between boys and girls except natural characteristics. After working the girls coming her home the boy should be cooked the lunch and also the boys is grow their hair like girls hair and the boys buy the girls shoes simply the boy can wear the girls shoes and the girls can wear the boys shoes.
If you were invisible what would you do?
Grade 7: Mulunesh Almaw
If I was invisible I could go to America and get with Obama in his office to listen to his idea. I compare my knowledge with him because he is the best man in the world now. So have listen him, I take his idea and knowledge and bring that to conduct like America. My country and to develop by economy. If I was invisible also I can listen with any person but people cannot get any document from me because I can distory or hide it like a computer.
Why are teacher’s important?
Teacher Entry: Alene Mamo
Teachers are important for endless purposes. They are the key professionalists in the world- they offer to children cognitive, psychological, and affective skill.
Students go to schools to acquire knowledge from their second parents, called teachers. To tell truly, teachers are honest, patient, parents—for the community. They improve the empty mind of children to full sack of gold. Children gather all sided knowledge standing from their family, their surrounding, up to the global world.
Furthermore, teachers disseminate psychological skill for the newly born human beings. In their day-to-day activities they are role models for students. Show firm stand for their work. Show everybody equality, work for long times without rest. They teach the best morals so that children can one day replace their parents and the whole community.
The other point is that teachers are the front individuals in changing children’s affective knowledge. They change their thinking. Students decide their way. To go where? To be what? Teachers indicate children’s directions: to be the leader of their country, doctor, teacher—ect. Therefore, teachers are the most powerful employers in the world. They make children use their inborn talent.
Generally, to tell honestly but not to admire my profession, teachers are the top workers to change the world. One intellectual talked the following point: he said, “I don’t admire the pilot who flies in the sky, but the teacher who have taught him.”
Therefore, everything is under the hands of the teachers. The government should take radical change in training teachers. Enough budgets should be planned for the education ministry so as to fulfill what must be done by its teachers.