Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Local Military Picnic

The English Lab, run by the Gabonese military and supported by the US military had their annual picnic on Sunday.  It was a lot of fun.  A few of us were on site to help manage English word games, i.e. hangman, tongue twisters, sentence building, etc.

It feels good to do what you can to help out and be supportive.  Those who I have met before refer to me as “New York”.  The event was mixed, with varying degrees of ability and understanding, so some students are very English literate while others have great difficulty.

I am impressed that most students really participate and try hard.  It was a picnic, so alcohol was served, but most students only drank soda during the games…try serving alcohol to US students and see if you can insight learning at the same time J

The main cultural challenge for me was scheduled timing.  I was out to dinner the evening before and perhaps had a bit too much wine.  The Picnic was called for 9:30A on Sunday and after a few aspirin and much rushing, I got there just in the nick of time.  Unfortunately, I forgot that in Gabon, 9:30 really means around 11:00.  Luckily, there were some chairs, so I could grab a spot under the shade of a tree and chat with the Director for a bit...tables didn’t even arrive until 10:30 or 11…c'est la vie.

FYI, the food was fantastic...fried and then BBQ'd beef (necessary, because otherwise the beef is very tough, but yum), Ham Hocks (feet and legs of pork) and whole chickens, chopped up and BBQ'd.  Sides are couscous, beets and cassava, a local starch, which is an "acquired" taste...I won't be here long enough to acquire that taste.

The guys in the pic above are so young, all "airmen", although they don't fly planes; I'm not sure if the military has any planes.

NCO housing.  A little run down, but it is on the beach. The house behind is an officers house.

The party winding down.

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