Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

My students Albertina, Valentina, and Albertina's sister took me on a Sunday drive to see some cool stuff.

Here are some of the scenes:

We arrived at the falls (30 min from Lubango), and it seemed like everyone was already there. People were BBQing, kids were dancing to the music, and folks were just enjoying the nice day. I love the little girls on the right of the screen as the vid begins. I don't know what the heck they were doing.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Namibe Workshop #1

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Me in the desert with the Welwitschia Mirabilis

This Namibe desert is very impressive. So much flat. So many brown tones. It was hot but not burning up...maybe because of its vicinity to the Ocean. Apparently this plant, the Welcitchia Mirabilis is only found in this part of Namibe. It was weird, just a few hundred meters away it didn't exist, just big cactus. I think it isn't the most beautiful plant, it kinda looks like an dead alien that has been burned, but it is cool nonetheless.

Video Tour of Namibe with teachers

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I recently gave an oral test to my third years in the English Resource Room. After sitting down I saw this:
Enough said.

Coming to America at ISCED

Do you remember Coming to America? It was a film in the 90s, I think, staring Eddie Murphy as a Prince from Africa who decides to sow his wild oats in Queens, New York, in order to find his true love. It is a comedy with lots of talented performances by Murphy as well as Arsenio Hall. What you might not know, is how good the movie is to illustrate the concept of cultural stereotypes of the US as well as Africa. I showed the film last Saturday and we had a nice discussion afterwards. Those in attendance included ISCED (University) 3rd and 4th year students, and EFP (Secondary School), and faculty from both institutions. The auditorium hold 100 so we ordered 100 bags to popcorn, but my colleagues forgot to tell me there was a football match on, so we only got 20 participants. I was happy that people did come and that we got to experince some different opinions together.

I told mommas to come with their children if necessary

Great, passionate discussion leading in progress

The week before, I asked for volunteers to lead small discussion groups after the film. Two were third year students at ISCED and two were teachers at the EFP. What was interesting was that in true form, one of the EFP teachers photocopied parts of the questions and handed them out (without notifying me or the other leaders). This lead to mass silence in the room, everyone staring at the paper trying to see what was on it. In the end I had to step in and tell each leader to ditch the papers and just ask the questions themselves. Afterwards, I asked the teacher that made the copies what he thought about what happened. Again, in true form, he said he thought it went well, but when I pushed he finally admitted that it was probably better just to ask the questions. It is encouraging to know that some practical teaching experience can come out of events like this (i.e. how to lead discussion groups). I have included the questions below in case you want to have a discussion of your own after revisiting the film sometime soon. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm missing me some Fat Bastard!!!!!!!!

My breathing space today includes a great wine that I haven't had in a long, long time. I think when it finally touches my lips in December, my body is going to go into a convulsion.

Click here to get the dish on who makes it and how it got its name:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Long way from home...

First Workshop with EFP Teacher Trainers

I did the first of several workshops for teacher trainers at the Escola de Formação dos Professores (Secondary school for future teachers of grades 7-9). It was the first meeting so there weren't as many participants as we wanted, but it went really well and hopefully the word will spread and we will have more the next time. I reminded all participants that teachers must be like magicians, with a large bag of tricks by their side. The more activities and methods they have access to, the better equipped they are to serve their students.

Participants at the workshop

Workshop Description:

EFP Teacher Trainers Workshops 2010

Facilitated by Akisha Pearman, English Language Fellow, US State Department

Using Videos as Resources in Language Classes

We will look at a wealth of video clip podcasts from National Geographic and the UK’s Teachers’ TV and run through activities you can use with them in class to teach reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

One super, committed teacher informs the other about the tradition of eating raw octopus in Korea after watching the video clip. The other teacher was out of the room, waiting for instructions at the time.

Teacher trainers discuss whether they would "vine dive" if they were men in Vanuatu (inspired by a memorable National Geographic video clip)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sitting in the dark...again

So, Luanda, the capital of Angola, is known for a lot of power cuts, Lubango is no different. The power in my apartment flickers on and off during the day, which isn't that big of a deal, but it stops completely for a few hours nearly everyday--I would say on average, 5 times a night for 2-5 hours. Even more annoying than that is that I can hear loud generators outside. I used to use candles, but now I just sit in the dark and wallow until my computer battery goes dead.

The journey of a wedding present

I sent my friend, Steve and his soon to be bride, Nara, a wedding present from Lubango. Without getting into too many details...what an ordeal! I taped up the smal box and brought it to DHL, but was then asked to open it up again to show what was inside. It wasn't much, just a basket and some cards, and a bunch of newspaper for packing, but they made me take it all out and pack it again. Then the box took its journey up the continent, across the Ocean, and across the country to Ohio. Look at where that dang box has been!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fanatical Football Fans

I don't even know exactly who played...I am guessing some Portuguese team. I think they won, cause it seemed like everyone and their mother was out making noise on the street at night. Just thought I would share...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My place: Before and After

hallway the day I moved in

hallway with pics from all my travels

Kitchen before

Kitchen after, with dish dryer, plastic baskets, drip mats, and panoramic photos

Living room before

Living room after. I switched the furniture around and added some cool curtains.

Living room/dining room before

Living room/dining room after. Got rid of a granny tablecloth

Bare naked office before

Better office after

Office with flare

My room with a bit of flare; new curtains and a pretty runner to cover the largest bedroom set I have ever had in my life

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Honor of Grandma Stell and Grandpa Dinky

My Grandma Estelle, who I am named after, passed away last night. She now joins my Grandpa Dinky in heaven. I am sure they are having a great laugh together.
In her last days Grandma got to hang out with her great grandson, Alain. These are their hands. (taken by my mom)

My family got to spend a last xmas with Grandpa Dinky before he passed three years ago. I took this one of his strong, experienced hands.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Breathing Space for today

The 12 Apostles Spa in Cape Town....I will be there with great friend, Naomi Yolanda Sparletta, who was in the Peace Corps with me, this December, 2010. Can't wait. ahmmm.

Teacher Training "workshop"

How do you do a practical workshop showing off new methods of assessment--grading students on what they can do, not necessarily the grammar they know in an hour every two weeks?

One of my favorite pastors nowadays is Mark Batterson, of National Community Church in DC, says that it is really important to set some seemingly unattainable goals. This is because if we think they are impossible we must rely on God to work on it. Jesus help me with this. I am really disoriented and overwhelmed, I certainly can't do this on my own.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My 4th year class

I have realized that much of what I post is about my life or work, but not a lot includes people. I told my class about it and the said I could take their photo to put on my blog. Here they are...English IV!

Most of them are teachers with over 15 years experience. A few have taught teachers who are professors now at ISCED. During the war teachers were around but not often trained and they were asked to risk life and limb to educate students, or soldiers at the time. The richest experiences I have with these students are when they tell me about their pasts and how hard they have worked to provide for themselves and their families.

Benjamin, Miranda, Helena, Nhenze, Abendego, Luís, Jacob, Jesus, Momas, Emília, Elinda, Firmino, Ngoma, Avelino, & André (Paquissi took the pic)
Ngoma wanted a photo with me to demonstrate his Rasta ideology of Peace and Love. I like that.

Things that make ya go hmmmmm

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My presentation for Freshman Culture Night

Below is the translation of the brief talk I gave in Portuguese for the culture night in honor of the new freshmen. Yikes! Everything changes when you speak in front of a big group in a foreign language. I was seriously thinking about skipping out on it or coming up with some kind of excuse. Then I heard a sermon that talked about sacrifice and the importance of knowing it is not always about "me." If you make a sacrifice and do something you might not normally do, or stay in a situation you normally would just leave, you could possibly be a blessing to someone. This was evidenced tonight after the talk. I spent the whole morning doing the presentation and preparing kimbap (Korean california rolls) for a party one of my students invited me to in the afternoon. After hanging out with her family at her house, I went directly to the auditorium so needless to say I was knackered. My eyes were hurting and I was getting annoyed with some of the performances and the fact that we started an hour late. I prayed that I wouldn't fall asleep. Well, I did the presentation for maybe 150 students and faculty. Everyone was very gracious. Afterwards, though, I was outta there like a bat outta hell. I was tired! Long story short, a young kid named Jessen (my old director's name in Mozambique) came up to me with a big smile and told me he recognized me from a school visit I did this past week. He ended up walking me home because it was dark, but on the walk, I swear he never stopped smiling. He said , it is so nice to meet a native speaker and someone who understands me. I wasn't sure what he was talking about "understanding him" but he was just soooo happy to have met me. I knew he must be one of the reasons why I was led to stay there and not just go home and sleep.

uh! I just realized I spelled "belleza" the Spanish way. Perfectionist

The power and beauty of the image

Firstly, I would like to thank the organizing group for producing this event. I am a teacher but also an expressive arts fan, so thank you for having me here. I would like to particularly thank Norman, who invited me. I hope there will be more events like this in the future.
So, I think most of you don’t know who I am, so I want to introduce myself. My name is Akisha Pearman and I am American. I am &^%$ years old and the US Embassy in Luanda sent me here to stay for 10 months to help out in the area of the teaching of English. I have 10 years experience in education in 5 countries—USA, Spain, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Korea and now Angola. In addition to being a teacher I also think I have another talent…that is photography. And it is on this theme that I will speak for a few minutes.

The objective of this short talk will be to show you the beauty that exists in photos, images, and also to show the power that they possess to start conversations, inspire people, and show new ideas and points of view. After the talk I hope that I will have opened your eyes and perhaps you will be able to better appreciate this form of art.
Let’s look at the photos!

Photo 1: The desert through the bus window
Can someone tell me what this is? This is an image from the fascinating desert province of Namibe. I took it while sitting on an SGO bus a few weeks ago. For me it was difficult to capture the desert landscapes first of all because I was in motion, and secondly because I thought that the camera wouldn’t capture the colors, textures and essence of a place that was so large. Taking the photo through the window changes it into a painting. I think that it is much more interesting than a normal picture of that same place.

Photo 2: Through the ferry window in Cape Town
This is another example of what happens when you see a scene in a different way. I took it when I was in a boat in Cape Town. The scene is of the Waterfront, the port of Cape Town.

Photo 3: SGO bus photo in a photo
I took this picture also sitting in an SGO bus. I don’t know the name of the village but it was on the road on the way to Namibe. The reason I like this one is because it is a photo within a photo. Can you see the frame the window makes? Sometimes critics say that anyone can be a photographer and in some ways I think this is true. But the photographer has the power to frame his picture in a million different ways, so sometimes he is lucky and gets an image like this one.

Photo 4: Deolinda Rodrigues Road
Does anyone know this place? A good photographer must always pay attention to the changes in light and how this affects the colors, shadows, and beauty of the image. This can make a normal scene change into something of pure beauty.

Photo 5: Chinese Apple Fanta
This is another example of how something ordinary can be visually pleasing. What do you find beautiful about this one?

Photo 6: Silverware at the Grande Hotel
And here? What is interesting? I think the texture of the tablecloth is like silk and the color is brilliant.

Photo 7: We make photocopies and sell popcorn
Finally we have this photo here. I took it in Inhambane, Mozambique where I was teaching. What grabs your attention in this picture? What can you guess about the people of Mozambique using what you see in the photo? I don’t want to say that this type of conjecture is pure and creates good images of something. Sometimes it can create speedy stereotypes and characterizations. A deeper study is always better, but at least the image represents an open door to start the discussion.

Ok, that is it for now. I hope I have given you an interest in the area of photography and that you can now see the world a bit differently, but always beautifully. Thank you.

The Portuguese notes (for my own records, no need to read um)

Freshman Culture Night

The Freshmen at ISCED have an inauguration "Baptism" which includes egging and other nasty foods thrown on them in addition to streamers and colored paper. Last year they cleaned up afterwards and got to enjoy a night of culture-dance, music, theater, and poetry. The continued the tradition again this year.
Puffy table decorations. I liked the green.

Members of the audience

Here are some highlight videos of the performances. I am trying to upload with a slow connection so I will add them as fast as that allows:

Solo Singer


I'm sorry Tracy :) Bless his heart

Seu Jorge from Brazil's "Não vou nada bem" He has the distinct voice they are trying to imitate.

Funny dancing by one guy who might just be pregnant or maybe just drank too much beer

I don't know what was up with the high singing

Blasts from the Past

Maan am I missing good friends.
Some of the perks of living in Inhambane, Mozambique for two years was teaching the students, living right by some of the most beautiful beaches, and having a good laugh with colleagues at work in the office. This phot was taken at the going away party for Daniel, another Mozambican friend. He was off to Europe to get an MA. Time files cause he is finished now and on his way back to Mozambique. Tania is the woman in this picture and she was my closest Mozambican friend. Her office was across from mine and we learned to communicate with eyes only sometimes, depending on who was in the office :) Cabo is the guy that took the photo. He is now getting a Masters in something related to transportation in Brazilia, Brazil. He used to borrow my mountain bike for "exercise" (I think he was going to visit his girlfriends-just kidding), and helped me so much when I had to write reports in Portuguese for school. He is a huge music aficionado and exposed me to many a cool tune. I miss them, but this pic brings back good memories.

The pic below was a little Peace Corps Mozambique (MOZ5) reunion dinner we had in Los Angeles when I went to visit before coming to Angola. Thanks for sending the photo, Lisa. (Lisa and I lived together for two years in Tete, Mozambique),