Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kif Kif

I really like phrases with double sounds. Here are some of my favorites:

Kif kif (same same - Arabic)
Shweya shweya (small small - Arabic)
Seda Seda (small small - Pulaar)
Joni Joni (soon soon - Pulaar)
Tuti tuti (small small - Wolof)
Sawa sawa (ok ok - Swahili)
Ndanka ndanka (slowly slowly - Wolof)
Waw waw (yes yes - Wolof)
Cheb Cheb (cheap cheap - Mauritania) This phrase generally means that it was pieced together. So if you are doing many jobs, you can say your work is "cheb cheb" or if you buy something 2nd hand or slightly damaged you can say it's "cheb cheb." It can also be used to mean something of substandard quality. A cheap, knock-off phone, is often called "cheb cheb."

I guess in English we have "bye bye"!!!

Can you think of any more?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Global Ambassadors

"In humility, I realized I am a child of all nations, of all ages, past and present. 
Place and time of birth, parents, all are coincidence: such things are not sacred."
- Pramoedya Ananta Toer

We become global ambassadors for the countries where we live. I have lived in Kenya, Benin, Ethiopia, Mauritania, and now Algeria. I still follow the news and current events there. I don't write my friends as often as I would like to do but I think of them every day. These countries are a part of me. I think about the similarities and differences between each country and my experiences in each place has helped me to understand the world around me. 

Often people ask me about my favorite country. I always explain that I don't have a favorite - no country is better than any other. All countries have amazing people and fascinating cultural traditions. I try to represent the positive qualities of each country because I saw immense beauty in each place, separate and unique. It doesn't mean I can't talk about the negative issues because of course there are many challenges to overcome in every country, and the United States is no exception. I want to share my love for the people and places in every country where I have had the privilege to live because I genuinely loved every day I was there. I am a better person than I would be if I had never lived in so many countries. It is a gift. 

Youth Center Superstars

This week I was invited to visit the youth center where four of the teachers in my program are working. The youth center is a large complex and has over 1,000 visitors per month. The Ministry of Youth and Sports named it the best youth center in the country. After spending the day there, I can see why.

My students came to pick me up in the morning at seven am and they dropped me off at nine pm. They showered me with gifts and treated me like a princess. It was a truly spectacular day. The highlight was to meet their wonderful students and see these brilliant teachers in action. It was a day I will never forget! 


I love organizing Jeopardy games as part of a celebration of hard work. This time my students wrote the questions and I brought tons of candy to help make a festive atmosphere. It was a very fun class....