Thursday, June 30, 2011

Qazax Summer Camp: Health Day

I was probably the most nervous about Health Day out of all the projects we've done this week. It's not easy teaching things like health in a different language. But with a lot of help from Zeynab, Mason and Josh today was a HUGE success!Dental Health. Thank you Kaitlin Poppe for all of the great ideas of what to say and how to show it! This went so well! On Monday we put eggs into water, juice, tea and coke representing what these things would do to our teeth. Today we checked out the tea and soda's discoloration and the sugary juice and soda's softening of the eggs. We talk a lot about how to keep our mouths and teeth clean and we ended by all brushing our teeth the right way out side, including Mason and I.
Physical Health. We talked about food, sleep, exercise; things to keep our bodies healthy. We followed this lesson with a game of kickball-getting all the kids exercising and spending time out side.
We ended the day with Mental Health. We focuses on being happy and creative and stretching our minds by reading, writing and playing logic games. We also just talked about laughter and how good it can be. To put this into motion we decorated our pinatas using creativity and hopeful some critical thinking to exercise our minds. But most of all we had a lot of smiles and laughing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Qazax Summer Camp: Arts and Crafts Day

Today started and ended with putting layers of paper-mache on balloons to make pinatas! We will decorate them tomorrow and fill them with candy to brake open on Friday.
Then we moved on to friendship bracelets. A lot of my students already know how to make these as I have taught them how to make these bracelets before in after school clubs.
Tie-dye was my favorite event of the day! Thank you mom for sending me the materials! The kids thought it was the COOLEST thing ever :).
The kids also made pictures frames today. On Friday when the tie-dye shirts are washed and dried and ready to wear we will take a camp picture to glue on to these picture frames!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Qazax Summer Camp: Theater Day

Mason led a day of theatrical games today at my summer camp. We did lots of things to get the kids role playing and practicing being an actor :). Zeynab even came by to play a few games with Mason, Josh and I!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Qazax Summer Camp: Baseball Day

Day one of my summer camp was a success! Mason and Josh helped out in teaching some of my favorite students how to play baseball!
Stay tuned for pictures everyday this week of how my camp is going :).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marie and Jessi's 30 Hour Adventure

Friday June 10th1pm: The Last day of Marie and Teresa's Agstafa summer camp! Things are going great, its hot, sunny and I'm finishing up helping the kids hit the pinata's they spent the week making when I get the call from the Peace Crops housing guy. He has just spent the last couple of hours on the phone with my landlords and it is now offical, 1pm June 10th, I am getting evicted.
3pm: Marie, who has plans to leave on a weekend trip the next day changes her plans to stay and help me. We begin the tedious packing process (why in the world do I have so much stuff-I'm a Peace Corps Volunteer!)
5pm: We start our quest for a new apartment. We make a few calls and are almost immediately out the door to look at our first "new" apartment option.
7pm: Marie and I come back and continue packing. As you can probably tell by my face and the pile of stuff behind me-we are exhausted! And this isn't even all the stuff, we have more packing to do. But by midnight its time for bed.
8:30am:The long, drawn out honk of the trash truck. Marie and I pop out of bed, get dressed without saying anything and starting taking the multiple loads of trash down to the truck-Saturday June 11th has begun.
9:30am: Quest number two begins-it is time to find me a new place to live-I'm almost homeless!
12:30pm: After many frantic Azeri phone calls and waiting around we walk through the door of the most perfect place to live! Sure the walls are falling off and the floor's covered in dirt-this is my new home!
1pm: Brunch, coffee and one last gaze out the window at the increddible view I'm about to leave. The view I had from this apartment was one of my favorite things about this country.
2pm: Marie and are start the cleaning process. We scrubbed this place from top to bottom! I've never met someone who can make a sink shine the way that Marie Novak can!
5pm: My friend Afgan and his brother come with a HUGE truck to take all of my stuff to the new apartment. And when I say stuff-I have my own fridge, oven, bedding (my old apartment didn't come very well furnished for living but thanks to my mom and dad's trip here last year it really became a home with all of this fancy stuff!) Of course while we spent an hour moving everything out of my fifth floor apartment (no elevators here!) it started to rain on the open bed truck holding all of my stuff.
6pm: We drive over to my new building in the rain and unloaded it into the stairwell. With in three minutes every kid who lives in this building was out helping us walk all of my stuff up to the fifth floor apartment here. On our way up every mom was hanging out of her door yelling "Welcome! How are you?!" This place is so much friendlier then my other apartment!
7pm: At last! everything is inside and Marie and I are EXHAUSTED!
We haven't stopped going since getting up for summer camp Friday morning. In these 30 hours we preformed not a move, but a life relocation for me.
I think its safe to say Marie and I can make any quest into a reality!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Son Zang

May 31st was graduation or, "Son Zang," (Last Bell) at my school.My school as I was walking in. The ceremony hadn't started yet so there weren't many people around, this whole yard was packed with people once graduation started.
During graduation the 11th graders (graduating classes) and the 1st graders exchange gifts. Then there is a ceremony of the 11th and 1st graders passing around a key and then parading the Azerbaijani flag around the crowd. This is one of the 11th grade boys holding one of the 1st grade boys after parading the flag.
This is the informatics teacher. Her and I have become friends over the last year and she brought me a bouquet of roses for graduation :). "Son Zang" involves a lot of fake and real flowers, as well as HUGE stuffed animals-these are typical gifts in Azerbaijan (you can see a a lot of flowers and balloons in this picture).

With this "Son Zang" comes a new chapter in my Peace Corps service. I just finished a full year of teaching at my school-a year and a half of teaching total. This summer is packed with summer camps and work of all kinds but it also brings with it the end. If this summer will be anything like the last it will go by in a sweaty flash and soon it will be fall-time to close up shop and say my good-byes here. It's hard to believe September 2009 was so long ago. Many things have changed since then; emotions have come and gone, I have both hated and loved life here. Tuesday was an emotional day for me though-it really seems the beginning of the end has come.