31 October 2003
"Three days later the District Commissioner
sent his sweet-tongued messenger to the leaders of Umuofia asking them to meet
him in his headquarters. That also was not strange. He often asked
them to hold such palavers, as he called them."
--Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Today was a day.
This morning, I traded places with Tuna, one of my very smart but rather
troublesome learners. I let him be the teacher and I was him. In just 40
minutes, I managed to get kicked out of class twice, (once for putting my feet
on the desk and once for fighting), I also said I had a stomach problem and then
went outside and visited with my friends in a really loud voice, then when the
teacher looked at me I dashed off to the toilet. I had several conversations
with my friends while he was trying to teach, even visiting with people outside
of the class as they walked by. I didn’t have a pen or any paper, so every
time we had to do something, I went around and asked everyone in the class if
they could "borrow me" their pen. The learners found my imitation of
them humorous and I too enjoyed Tuna’s impression of me. A good time was had
I don’t know how real teachers do it. I feel burnt out after just one year.
I need to find a new profession.
From 2-4 in the afternoon, I assisted the AIDS club in their drama practice.
I basically just provided accurate information such as that the girl couldn’t
go for an HIV test right after having sex because it takes 3 months for the
antibodies to appear. But it went pretty well overall, so hopefully the real
performance won’t be too much of a fiasco.
Then from 6-8 I had Palaver Club. Our scheduled topic was nature vs. nurture.
But people were drifting in late as usual and some of the early arrivals were
borrowing books from my storeroom. Finally it was time to start the discussion
so I kicked everyone out of my storeroom and reached behind me to turn off the
light with my left arm when CRACK! I dislocated my shoulder. Just like that. So
I instructed myself to not panic, and I went behind my storeroom door (so the
learners couldn’t see me) and laid down on the floor so I could relax and put
my arm back in the socket where it belonged. After about 5 minutes--it still
hadn’t gone back in—Onesmus knocked lightly on the door, "Are you OK,
Miss?" Then he saw me laying on the floor clutching my arm, so I had to
explain, "Yeah, uh, I just dislocated my shoulder and it’s not going back
in. Here, you can look." By now there were about four learners in my
storeroom gazing at me. Katrina took me up on the offer, and came over and
inspected. "Yah! Miss, that’s not right." Someone went to fetch Zac,
and the others helped by instructing me, "Just don’t move, Miss."
Since they were all staring at me, I felt like I had to entertain them. So I
told them stories about all the different ways I’d dislocated my shoulder—swimming,
martial arts, tennis, in my sleep, the hotel stairs in D.C. the day we left…
"But Miss, what do you normally do?" I replied, "Well, it
normally goes back in…I’m not sure what to do if it doesn’t…."
Meanwhile, I kept moving it around like I normally do when I try to put it back
in, but nothing was working. I kept having spasms of sharp pain whenever I moved
it the wrong way, which caused my audience to wince and clutch their arms every
time I let out a small yelp. After a few minutes, Zac came and eventually the
learners went back out into the classroom and started some discussion of their
own about religion and evolution. Zac and I tried everything, moving it
different ways, distracting me so my muscles would relax, massaging my arm
(which was hurting and losing feeling), etc. We discussed what on earth we
should do if it didn’t go back in. Nothing was very plausible. I tried getting
up, thinking maybe a change in gravitational pull would help, but this only led
to more intense spasms of pain. I cursed my storeroom
light switch, tried to use telekinesis to guide my shoulder back into place,
swore I would do shoulder exercises forever if only it would go back in… And
finally, with a satisfying POP! it went back in. It was out for just over an
hour—my worst one by far.
I excused myself from the club (they seemed happy to see my arm functioning
again) and went home and put ice on it. Due to the ibuprofen, it doesn’t hurt
too bad, I just keep having spasms and hope it doesn’t fall out again.