Monday, April 28, 2014


Students preparing for class
Grade 3
Grade 5
Last week I went to Pittsburgh, my “home” town.  (I have to say, it is strange to be in Pennsylvania without being in Pittsburgh, the city where I lived for 30 years before moving to CAR/Cameroon.  I am, however, now based in Mechanicsburg, with Mom.  It is only 3 ½-4 hours away, but it’s not the same!)  I went to visit friends and the school where I worked.

Two 1st grade classes combined
Phillips Elementary is a Spanish Emphasis School which means students study Spanish in addition to the regular curriculum.  This gives students a somewhat different perspective since they study another language and cultures other than their own.  The principal and teachers welcomed me to visit their classes where students and I compared their lives with those of children in Garoua Boulai.  (I visited 7 classrooms and 9 classes on Wednesday.)

Here are some of the points that seemed to impress the children:

  • In some ways they are the same as children in Cameroon/CAR, but in many aspects their lives are different.
  • They have trouble believing that there are no video games readily available. 
  • They also expressed regret that the snack foods they find everywhere are not easy to come by there.
  • Class sized in Cameroon/CAR are generally much larger than theirs. 
  • They compared chores and discovered that children in both cultures help out. 

 During and after the Power Point presentation, the students in Pittsburgh also asked very intelligent questions.  We had wonderful discussions.  In one class they even got to try wearing pagnes, skirts for women and girls.

It was a little strange for me to be in a building where I worked for a dozen years, but at the same time, it was comfortable and welcoming.  A good place to start sharing some of my experiences.

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