So I went to visit the middle school in my commune to attend their new years party (held in February…). The reasons were two-fold: 1. to talk to the teachers and administrators about my pad project; 2. to visit Ninah who has been begging me to visit since school started. The pad talk went good. I spoke with the directory and the secretary (both men) and they seemed passively excited about the project. But later in the day, when everyone was drunk they seemed REALLY excited. The director was even explaining it to others using a piece of table cloth as mock-underwear (some people were confused at the snaps on the crotch part. There are only 146 girls enrolled in the school right now so I am going to be able to do this project pretty cheaply. I am going to apply for VAST funding (meant for HIV/AIDS related project) and make the sex-ed component heavy on the HIV/AIDS stuff. The school PE/health teacher was really excited and wanted to help me with the education component. Yay!
Then we did a photo shoot. Pictures are a very treasured possession here. In the past it meant going into the city (Moramanga) and getting them taken. Now there are more people with digital cameras who will take photos but they make a profit at it and are still few and far between. I really hate taking pictures for people. It is generally just a pain. But, I decided to do it anyways. I took about 200 pictures and charged them only the cost to print them out (500AR or less than 25 cents a picture). I made everyone pay before hand (except some of the teachers who insisted they would pay me later, I’m never gonna see that money). Here are some pictures of the students being nerds:
Note: Grades here are much for fluid than in the states. It is more common for kids to repeat a grade at some point than not. I know we have 16-year-olds at my elementary school and I would guess the students here range in age from 11-20ish.