Grade 11 retreat

So its been well over a week since I’ve posted on the blog, apologies, the past week has been extremely busy. Coming up to Christmas, reports are due, its my first experience of writing reports to parents about how their kids are doing. There are some very good kids, and some not so good kids who it is easy to write about. However, a lot of them blend in and its hard to come up with an individual comment for them. A lot of the comments I gave were “INSERT NAME HERE is doing well in class and is a very polite pupil” etc. Hopefully they won’t read each other’s reports. Anyway, enough of the excuses. I’ll try and summarise all thats happened in the last week as best as I can.

Last week started out fairly normal, with classes as normal, which went well. I have devised a way to bribe the kids into good behavior, I’ve promised that on the last day of term we will have a massive LAN game of Unreal Tournament (Playing video games together on the computer for those who aren’t technically minded). It is a good incentive for them to be good with this prospect, and it will give me a chance to relieve some of those impulses I have to blow some of the more troublesome student’s heads off, even if it is only in a computer game. Ha ha, I jest.

Street ministry last week went well, we had tries to go and scout out more areas, but one of the translators went home early so we weren’t able to take Dundee with us to other areas. This will have to be left for another time.

On Thursday, I joined 4 other teachers accompany the Grade 11 students on their annual spiritual retreat. It was a great chance to get to know some of them better, as I don’t teach any of them, nor will I because none of them take IT. We were going to a place about 2.5 hrs drive outside of addis, quite a bit outside of the city. There are hundreds of tiny villages composed of mud huts. The hotel we stayed at was called Sodere, I will be returning there in a month for the SIM conference that is held there. It an interesting place, definatley an African hotel. They have recently had it re-painted and have gone with an interesting colour scheme, lets just say there must have been a good deal on pink paint. There are hot springs in the grounds of the hotel and they get all their water from them. Thus, the hot water tap is hot, and the cold water tap is hot. The water you flush the toilet with is hot. The shower is hot, and has no cold water to cool it down. The best option for showering was to shower first thing in the morning when the water had cooled in the pipes a bit overnight. The hotel has a fairly large swimming pool, also filled with water from the hot springs, so it was at bath temperature. Not great for doing any serious amount of swimming in, but quite nice for a dip.
The really interesting thing, though was that the grounds of the hotel were infested with monkeys. The same type of monkeys that we met in Negesh, but these ones had a different attitude towards humans. They were extremely bold and were not afraid of you in the slighthest. In fact, if you shooed them, most of them would either look at you, or lunge at you. Because monkeys are carriers of rabies, its best to leave them alone. They are excellent theives, which we were warned about before they came. We were warned on no occasion to leave our rooms open and unnattended as an unfortunate family had left their back door slightly ajar before going for a walk. The monkeys came in, stole medicine, any food they could find as well as some computer games. They apparently trashed the place in the process. I made sure our door was well locked before I went anywhere.
At the restuarant of the hotel, one member of staff has to stay on permanent monkey duty. They have a massive stick to deter the monkeys, and they need it. The first day we came, the person on duty had his back turned for a few seconds, and there were two monkeys sneaked in and made off with a salt cellar. It is quite comical to see.
The actual retreat went well, and all the kids seemed really positive about it. They were thinking about purpose in their studies, and they all listened well.
Some pictures follow:
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Tearing up a juice carton

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Waiting for an oppertunity at the entrance to the restaurant

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Monkeys 1, Restaurant 0.

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Mooching from outside the window

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Sitting waiting wishing.

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Making light work of more rubbish.
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Mother and baby.

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The hotel and it’s interesting colour scheme.

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<img src=”http://deniall.x10hosting.com/coppermine/albums/bingham/grd11ret/normal_CIMG3550.jpg&#8221; />
African mudhuts in the distance.

<a href=”http://deniall.x10hosting.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=10″>More pictures here.</a>

I returned from the retreat to some bad news. After a re-shuffle of apartments, and to fit some more people in who are coming in January, the powers that be have demanded that I move from my apartment. This came as a total shock to me, as far as I was aware, I would have been in this apartment for the rest of the year. Unfortunately that was not the case, as it has two bedrooms. The apartment that they wanted me to move into is depressingly small. Inside it feels like a caravan, the toilet is like a closet. I know one of the girls lived there for the first 3 months, but she spent a lot of time in the other girls apartments. As a guy, its not so easy for me to do that, I spend a lot of time in my own apartment. After raising my concerns with Murray, it was clear he wouldn’t budge on the issue. So I think I will move off campus. Thankfully Brian says that they can fit me into their house, though I will have to share a room for a few months until one of the other guys moves out. So although it will be an adventure living off compound, I will be sad to move off, there is a lot here that I will miss. However, the prospect of spending my remaining months in that apartment is too much to allow me to stay.

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