hello from the roma mahala……

Dragi friends,

Sorry I haven’t sent out this update sooner! I made it to Kosovo and im in the warm graces of good friends. Everyone here is so very happy that I came back… they didn’t expect it.

My days are really busy, im teaching 3 classes! A 3 hour intensive English class for young adults ages 15 to 23. Many of these students were in class with me the last time I was here. I’m also teaching two evening classes, one for young kids, ages 6 to 9 and one class of beginner English to students ages 10 to 19. All of the classes are going great and the two evening classes keep growing in size…. so much so that we had to stop the really little ones from coming to class. An army of 4 and 5 year olds show up on the road to the school everyday at 6pm shouting my name or singing songs we learned together. They really want to come to class. It was difficult to tell them that there was no room for them, as the class already has 15 students and the classroom is really small.

…so….what with teaching, preparing lessons, getting the materials together for the lessons, (which takes a lot of time as nothing is near by), helping students with homework… my days can be 12 hours long!…

With the younger students we play games, sing songs, do art projects and are filling the walls of the center with beautiful drawings. With the beginner English class we do role plays of everyday things, and for some reason they really like tests… as everybody wants to be “the best”. Many of these students cannot write in any language. In the intensive English class, we do everything, reading, writing, listening and speaking. I’m trying to raise some extra money to go on field trips with this class. There is a swimming pool nearby, a mountain not so far away for picnics… and I would really like to take them out into the Albanian community. There is a town on the Albanian border called Prizren, its really beautiful there and a much more tolerant place than some of the other Albanian towns in Kosovo. There is still a lot of fear amongst my students with going into an Albanian community, but they said if I go with them and we speak English the whole time… “we should try”.

…ok that’s all for now although there is so much more to tell! ….The patriarchy here is still killing me with its violence and stupidity and I am still resisting in small ways by doing “women’s work” with my host moms everyday……

…… more about that, Serbian nationalism and the year 1389, how to deal with gay jokes in class, why I don’t believe in god, talking about sex with 16 year old boys, why all Albanians aren’t “bad people”, cultural appropriateness, potholes the size of swimming pools and the art of driving in Kosovo and why the world cup would be more fun for me if there were no flags or corporate advertising….

..all that with more photos in updates to come.

I miss you all!  xo