# 12 Their First Real Day

July 5, 2018

Bright and early this morning Mary went across the road to the District Hospital where she spent the whole day, mostly in pediatrics.  At dinner, when each of us reported out the day, I could see how hard it had been to see the way meds were handled, how babies with pneumonia were right next to HIV positive (therefore immune suppressed) babies, next to malaria babies.  Although she has worked in a hospital in Nigeria, she was still pretty much in shock. 

She spent the day with Sr. Dr. Carren (or maybe it’s Dr. Sr. Carren) who works in the ER but also does pediatrics.  Despite the vast differences in technique, skills, equipment, sanitation practices, she loved being there and looks forward to 8 am tomorrow.

Kathleen was with the Life Bloom ladies as they discussed their goals for a grant proposal.  Kathleen is a super organizer, so I’m sure she was of great help.  They took her to home visits for several clients.  Later she ventured out by herself, walking around the town, taking in the richness of this very different world.

I spent some time with Lydia, trying to figure out where we could find $4500 to wire the school for wi-fi.  We have 20 brand new laptops, purchased last year, new computer desks, so the lab looks spiffy, but it’s not being used.  During the August break the TSC would like to rent the vacant facility, but can’t if there is no wi-fi.  Of course the TSC will pay to use the school which will help raise funds for a much needed bus. 

The girls have a ½ hour time after lunch which many of them spend reading the newspaper in the library,  I hang out there so that anyone needing help knows she can find me.  I had 5 form 1’s gathered around, talking about finding perimeters of odd shapes, as well as using trig functions to calculate various lines.  They are so intense and serious, it’s just fun to teach them.

Later I spent time with the brand new math teacher (4th day on the job), showing her some of my favorite short cuts.  Initially, I felt the “Who is this old lady, anyway” response, but it very quickly dropped away, as she saw the ease with which some questions can be answered.  All 4 math teachers are eagerly awaiting access to a graphing calculator.  I’ve told them they can’t have one until we find time to do a bit of a workshop.  Otherwise they’re clueless on how to sue one.  Those who’ve see a few elementary uses can’t wait. 

Classes are over at 4 and the students again swarm the library, so study, read the paper, look through the stacks or get some math help.  This time we talked about the length of an arc, given the angle that cuts it out of a circle.  I was really stunned at how little they’d thought about what they were doing.  They’d been given a formula, hadn’t a clue about what the formula was saying, so had slammed that door shut.  Soon I’m singing the same song, you’re here to learn to think!!!!  Math isn’t about memorizing formulas then spitting them out.  After you graduate no one will care whether you can calculate the length of an arc, but any boss will care whether you can think.  4:30 the librarian is ready to go home.  We move to a form 2 classroom where we learn about finding the equation of a straight line.  Woefully inadequate understanding of the process and vocabulary as well as concepts.  I definitely have my work cut out for me.

It was a long day, but so rewarding.

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