Friday, February 5, 2016

Freaky Friday

It is Carnival season here on Dominica—there is no school on Monday and Tuesday, and today was a non-academic day referred to as Freaky Friday. I was told that the idea was to come up with some sort of outlandish costume to wear to school today. Some choose to cross-dress, or wear Halloween costumes, or just come up with some sort of mismatched craziness.

Given my limited wardrobe here, the best idea I could come up with was to wear my swim trunks, a sport coat, my snorkle and mask, and a dress shoe on one foot and a sandal on the other. I felt like a fool walking down Main Street on my way to school today, but thankfully not too many villagers saw me in this crazy get-up.

The students had a great time with this “play day” as school. We only have five girls (out of 31 total students), and all but the two kindergarten girls dressed up as boys (in the picture above, my arms are around the two fifth grade girls who tried to dress as if they were boys today). We had half-a-dozen or so boys dress up as girls—some of them, as shown below, rather convincingly!
The teachers and the PTA cooked a great meal for lunch (chicken, rice, lentils, macaroni and cheese, and slaw), plus they offered my favorite dessert down here called coconut tablet. There was also potato pudding for dessert, too.
I brought my two kites and let the kids take turns flying them (they only got caught on the utility lines less than half-a-dozen times). I also played some “football” with them and had a lot of fun, until a ball kicked hard in my proximity hit me in the face, causing the nose pad of my glasses to draw blood from the side of my nose. Oh well, that is just part of football down here!

After school, there were a couple of white tourists that stopped along the road. As usual, my students urged me to talk to them “in case they might be relatives.” It turns out that this couple was from Great Britain, and she had even done a stint working as a teacher in a British school in Kenya. They were familiar with the Peace Corps, and given her background of serving in Africa, were very interested in my assignment here. I ended up taking them for a walk (along with several students) through the village, all the way up to “the spring.” They enjoyed seeing this beautiful place, and the students even climbed one of the cacao trees to let them taste the seeds from which chocolate is eventually made.

I also showed them my quaint little cottage before walking them back down to the beach area. About that time, our local fisherman arrived in his boat, and I helped to haul it ashore as the British tourists headed back to their hotel in Calabishie. As I left the beach area, I purchased some barbecued chicken that was being cooked there as a fundraiser for our local preschool. It had been an enjoyable day!

Eventually, I made it back to my home, only to discover the freakiest part of my Friday. There was a dead snake on my sidewalk—the first snake I've seen since leaving West Virginia. It was probably a little less than a foot-and-a-half long, and wasn't anything to be scared about. The scientific name for this non-venomous grass snake is Liophis Juliae, locally known as “Kou wes.” I'm guessing that one of the neighborhood cats killed it this afternoon and left it on the sidewalk—thankfully waiting until after my British guests had left. By the way, there are no poisonous snakes at all on this island, which makes hiking even more enjoyable than back home. [This picture below includes my flip-flop as a size reference.]

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