I Still Go To School

on teaching, learning, travelling

The early bird catches the flight

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And time flies bye; it really does. So I thought in the early morning hours the airport would be nice and quiet. Surprise! 5:30 am – endless waiting lines!

Endless waiting lines at Vienna Airport. Very similar situation in Hamburg and Paris

Endless waiting lines at Vienna Airport. Very similar situation in Hamburg and Paris

Silly internet spots. Once again it proved useful to have multiple email accounts and get 15 minutes free couple of times ;)

Silly internet spots in CDG, Paris. Once again it proved useful to have multiple email accounts and get 15 minutes free couple of times 😉

My journey took me from Vienna (free Wifi) via Hamburg (free Wifi) to Paris (expensive wifi! Why??), and finally to Abidjan (super cheap wifi). The journey lasted round 25 hours. When I arrived at the exit at Abidjan airport (like every place of importance named after Felix Houphouet Boigny), immediately a flock of helpers spotted the solo white boy and offered me taxis, SIM cards, a hotel and to change my Euros to CFA. The taxi driver wanted to charge me CFA 10.000 for a journey that I paid 3000 when I took it before. Then I knew I was back in Cote d’Ivoire.
When I finally got back to the house in Riviera Palmerai, I was immediately welcomed by my host family with hugs and African hugs. What are African hugs? Not sure if that’s what they are called, but they are similar to the in-air-kisses left and right, only without the kissing and you only touch each other’s foreheads on the sides with your temples.
I really felt like I was back home – at my second home! After some breakfast and a 4 hours “power-nap” (I couldn’t sleep during the journey) I made my way to Jina School! I’ve been told that we were getting a new classroom and another floor. The building was planned to be finished in a week, but… it doesn’t look like it will be done by that time.

Inspecting the work. The change is much bigger than I had expected

Inspecting the work. The change is much bigger than I had expected

Here’s the wooden frame. They use a wood they call “piemont” (pepper), which smells spicy when dry. It’s cheap, because foreign markets are not interested in it. So the classroom for high school will be larger, and on the second floor there will be office space. It’s a much needed extension, as the classroom was already uncomfortably packed.

Building material at the basketball field.

the floor and sides of the new classroom and offices.

the floor and sides of the new classroom and offices.

Here’s my classroom. Seems like I will not be able to teach here this week…

Well... my classroom turned into a storage room!

Well… my classroom turned into a storage room!

I wanted to activate mobile data on my mobile phone, but they let you purchase the internet on the mobile without telling you that you have to activate it first in a shop. My unlimited Internet USB stick seems to have a limit after all, so it’s not working either. “Cyber Cafés” are closed on Sundays. Am I addicted or is it normal to miss something that you are so used to and depending on?
Gloria, our secretary at the school, had a birthday party, which I was invited to and I attended. It was nice, with much singing and cake and sweets and dancing.


This time I brought five laptops to school, all donated to me by family and friends (Thank you all!!).

yay, laptops for the school!

yay, laptops for the school!

I really would like to test Moodle in combination with the home schooling system. I think it will be a perfect match. How much effort and financial investment would it take to transform an analogue into a digital classroom? Is there a market for blended learning in Africa? The shipping of the books from the US takes 3 months, and it’s expensive. I will look further into it after talking to the headmistress.

So I will start teaching again on Monday, in small spurts, as the building is still going on. It will be nice to see my students again 🙂

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