24 May 2008

A little break in Italy; Gambian political update

Judy: I love merenda.
Chris: Who's that, the wife?
Judy: No, tea [i.e. teatime].

With that, Judy set about scraping off the burnt edges of the bruschetta she was making in the event that some German neighbours did turn up that evening for some wine and snacks, before we went for some pizza.

So of course Judy decided that the Germans weren't coming, and I proceeded to devour most of the bruschetta. As Judy and a builder were busy debating where best to build a stone support post for a patio roof, I heard the German family approaching. Thankfully they brought some snacks (and wine!) to supplement the remnants of the dish we had prepared. So in spite of it all we had a nice chat, then made our way to the pizzeria some 90 minutes after our reservation (Judy had to hold off on locking the back door until the Germans had turned the corner).

On the whole my visit to Tuscany was great fun. I got stuck rereading some Adrian Mole books, so my goal of finally finishing Negro With A Hat was set back a bit. It was low-key and I got to see my cousins and their families briefly too. Look for the pictures to be uploaded in August.

Speaking of my camera, while visiting my cousin Lucy's B&B A Mezza Costa I saw a display of her friend's art. They were collages of painted "found objects." One of these, from 2005, featured, among other artifacts or bits of rubbish, was my camera! Perhaps a further hint that I should move into the digital era! Still, I like the fact that I will be surprised by and reminded of past activities once my film (36 exposures, not 24, it turns out) is finally finished. It was begun in October 2007.

In Gambian news, which I occasionally chronicle, President Jammeh last week announced that the time has come for homosexuals to quit The Gambia. Jammeh plans stronger restrictions on homosexuality than those softies in Iran. I may give this silliness some thought at a later date.

08 May 2008

On Harmeny

After Saturday, I am motivated to write a little about the school I work at. That day, two of our boys participated in a 2.5km run on the Meadows in Edinburgh, so I decided to head over there with my nephew and a friend of mine. In addition to the two chaperones (who jogged with the boys), I expected a few people from Harmeny to drop by. So I was quite impressed to meet a dozen of my colleagues (including some who do not work directly with students) and some of their families. That day I felt very proud to be working at Harmeny School.

Besides the challenges and rewards of working with our students, I am also lucky that there is a good rapport between school employees, whether they are in administration, education or care (i.e. working in the cottages). It is a fun atmosphere, although I fear I will need some reeducation before I return to an American work setting, as it tends to be a bit more conservative in the U.S.

Here are some examples of the children's work and activities. I was lucky enough to attend the Burns Supper/Lunch (I am in the distance at the end of the table), and to see the creation of A Fight For Inner Peace.