Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Freezing in Africa

I am currently sitting on my bed, wearing the only light hootie i brought and sweatpants, my feet are placed under my laptop for warmth. I am in Africa, and I am freezing. This is a perfect example how one should not generalize Africa, the continent. After all, Africa is a ginormous place. If the US has varying climates, why shouldn't Africa? a place that is at least twice as big. Lately, I am more wary when people, myself included, refer to Africa as one place. "Hi Wendy, how's it going in Africa?" - that's a common greeting I get. (FYI, I just killed a weird looking spider that appeared out of the corner of my eye at mid-sentence.) When was the last time someone asked, "hey, how's it going in North America?" Even people who study abroad in Europe, when was the last time you ask someone who's in London or Madrid, "hey, how's it going in Europe?"

Things are going well here otherwise. As predicted, the rain felt unforgivingly and my clothes that were still on the line are soaked. Beginning this week, I am adding force to my french learning, reverting back to the Chinese way of learning languages. I had depended mostly on immersion, which I am not getting enough since there aren't any kids to talk to at my house. I've started reading grammar books and French Verbs 501 religiously. I am analyzing the heck out of grammar points and giving logic to everything. I am digging my brain for the ways I was taught to learn English back in Taiwan, and applying it to the French language. The American way of
learning language is completely ridiculous and inefficient. I absolutely disagree with "French only" way of learning French. Last semester at SLU, I took French 115 and the professor refused to explain anything in English. People didn't have a clue what he's saying and he didn't get what we were asking. The same thing is happening here in the Peace Corps. We rotate language trainers and I am on my third one. While all the trainers are Cameroonian, the first two taught in that same manner. We wasted more time trying to understand each other than learning anything productive. My trainer this week has a master's degree in English and French. I learned more in today alone than I did in the last two weeks. She explains things in English when needed, and can adequately translate many of the idiomatic expressions. Just because you speak a language doesn't make you a good language teacher. In Taiwan, my language school paired a
Taiwanese teacher with a native English speaker. That's the way it should be!

Alright, end soap box. I find out my post in two days! Stayed tuned! Let's hope I don't end up in an Anglophone province!

2 comments:

Sebastian said...

As soon as I am done moving (read: as soon as my books are unpacked) I can tell you the workbook we used in my intensive writing class--it's just exercises, over and over and over again. Sounds like it's right up your alley! :)

Megan said...

Freezing in Cameroon

good luck getting your clothes dry :)