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Dislocated Halloween

Dislocated Halloween
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 by all.

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.

Love, Sera

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