Been a fairly uneventful week at post. Back to teaching. Eliza asked about what we are doing in our classes. I teach English as a foreign language. The 6eme class is in their first year of taking English, so they are learning how to say “hello”, the time, and school vocabulary. The 5eme class is in their second year of learning English so we are studying different verb tenses and on sports vocabulary. They learn the sorts of things you learn in Spanish.

Also the reason they ask for gifts is because they think that as a foreigner I must be wealthy. A lot of foreign people visit poor places like Benin and give stuff away so they also are use to foreigners giving them free stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t give every child a book and I also want to share with them the value of earning or working for something. It is true that I have more money than them. Instead of just giving out pencils, I give them to students who do really well on tests. Instead of handing out money to people, I give people small jobs. For instance, I paid a boy in my concession to clean my bike. He’s grateful for the money.  Some volunteers pay the school tuition for kids in their towns and in exchange the kids do their laundry.

The kids realize that they shouldn’t just ask for stuff, but they do it anyways. Just like how they call me “yovo” or “white person” even though they know my name.


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  1. Eliza Alden

    Thanks for putting in the information that I asked you in your latest e-mail. I miss you sooooo much and I can’t wait to see you again!
    Best wishes to you and Jeff.

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