So I've had a few people ask if the wish list to the right there is an updated one. Yes. I updated it today. None of the things on the list are things we need to survive here; we do a pretty good job of that on our own (check out Tina's pictures tinaandzebinmalawi.blogspot.com to see some things we've been cooking at site with charcoal and a pot with a lid). Some of the things, like pictures, will help us achieve the second goal of Peace Corps; helping host country nationals to gain a better understanding of Americans. So take pictures of things that you think really mean America or American to you. Maybe it is a GM truck or a John Deer, a picnic at church, fire works, a rally in DC, a mother pushing a stroller, a mall, apple trees, waves on a beach, and eagle, anything.
Other things like games will actually help us to teach some critical thinking skills. We grow up playing games and thinking about probabilities, and making strategies, playing go fish or old maid and what not; all of those things actually help you develop your thinking skills and here, it is something that is definitely lacking. It is hard to teach students who in high school are asked for the first time to begin thinking creatively and critically and trying to teach that stuff is difficult especially because many of the teachers here have never really been taught in that way or maybe have never really had practice themselves. So games could be a fun way to do that (for the students and for me).
It is interesting how many things that we do outside of school with children actually help them learn skills that make them better thinkers, problem solvers, and better able to manage life. We don't even think of those things like having a piggy bank teaches saving money, getting an allowance teaches work ethics, taking care of toys teaches responsibility for keeping personal things in good shape, and so many others that we just don't think about. Here children learn to herd sheep and how to make a toy car out of a milk carton shaped thing that had a local beer in it that morning (the kids don't drink it the men do. But they are allowed to run around the bar and get all the empty cartons). They learn how to plat maize, they learn to write down everything the teacher puts on the board and then read it over and over until they can recite it word for word without any real concept of what it means (work-a job or career that one has to make money, but not a term used in science i.e. force, work, etc).
Anyway there are some others here at the office who would like to use a computer (there are about 70 volunteers in Lilongwe because the ambassador is having a party tomorrow for the Fourth and we like any excuse to have American food).
If you've been reading this or have thought of anything that you would like to know more about as far as our Peace Corps experience goes or what ever leave a comment and I'll try to get some answers up for you. Sometimes we forget what things are different or odd or exciting for people to hear about because it is just everyday life for us now. Kinda like a pilot probably thinks flying a plane is no big deal, but drawing one is amazing. I don't know. Let me know.