James & Katie being bouncers
Students picking up trash around the school
Though my E Day activities were a bust, I still had options. Katie and I joined in the fun in Kucove where Juliet and student board members from the youth center had planned a full day of activities for Global Youth Service Day (April 21, the day before E Day).
Juliet herself had some project drama. Somebody with a grudge and a big ego tried to get in the way of the planned events. Juliet and the students forged ahead. She handled the situation well. I told her to contact our program director and get other people involved. Luckily she didn't listen to me. She's a smart girl.
We started with school yard clean-up. Students from nine local schools picked up trash around their schools. The second picture is from the school where I helped. I was there to take pictures but I'm not gonna stand around doing nothing. If I say that they should clean up, then I should be willing to help (and help is all I should do, I'm not here to do the work for them). It was surprisingly hot and there was a surprisingly large amount of broken glass around the yard (by yard I mean a kinda small fenced-in gravel area around the school). We did one full sweep then trees arrived for planting. After the work, the kids were given hand wipes. One boy used his and promptly threw it on the ground. I reminded him of the work we did and he promptly picked it up. A small victory perhaps? I'm not sure because the boy did this same thing two more times. Each time I reminded him that littering is bad. Baby steps.
All the participants returned to the youth center for lunch and more activities. While preparations were made for lunch and the lingering participants returned from their school clean-ups, Juliet asked us to play games with the youth. I was given a hacky
sack and so off I went. Ryan and I got some kids to play and kept them occupied
for a spell. At one point a kid came into the circle and started to disrupt everything. I made him leave. He asked if he could join in again and I said yes if he played the right way. He did just all right. Not blatantly disruptive but definitely annoying. Before too long, another boy took the hacky
sack and wouldn't give it back. I'm not going to go chasing some stupid little pre
-teen punk around. I went to go get someone in charge. When I came back out, I couldn't find him. Oh well, we had a new task. As lunch time drew near the approximately 150 kids were all waiting to be let in. The youth center members were doing an ok
job of keeping kids out. But when the pizzas arrived it was about to get ugly fast. I acted quick. I became the bouncer. I physically blocked the door and would not let anyone in (the group was fed in shifts,the first group of students was already being fed). As I am blocking the door and others are bringing in pizzas, guess who decides to create a little trouble by pushing, hitting me, and almost knocking a pizza box to the ground. It was my little friend from the hacking circle (not the one that took the hack but the disruptive one). I pushed him back and told him he was very bad. I was quite proud of myself. So many of these boys are never disciplined. It's infuriating. I don't understand why they spoil them so much. Too many of the children are disrespectful, obnoxious, and rude.
After a while of being bouncer, we just closed the door. The kids finally stopping banging on the door and I moved on to helping serve the pizza. As I am doing this, I see one of the youth center directors/advisers setting another table, which is good. The bad thing is that he let the little jerk and his little jerk friends in to eat. I immediately went over to him and told him that these boys were very bad and they needed to be outside. They are bad boys. He wasn't really doing anything about my concerns. I grabbed one of the student workers and had her translate. One of his replies was that if we let them in to watch, they will see good behavior and learn from it. Yeah right. I am pretty sure that the real reason is because the man knew the boy's father. The man tried telling me something about the boy's father being a good man. Well, I don't care who his father is and how good of a man he is. All I know is that his son is a pain and a jerk. For the rest of the lunch, I would glare at that kid whenever I was looking in his direction.Ok
, now this probably doesn't sound like the appropriate behavior from a Peace Corps volunteer. What can I say, I'm past the point
of being overly accepting. If something is crap, I'm gonna tell you it's crap. Granted it's doubtful anything will change but at least I've said what I actually feel.
After lunch, Katie and I went back to Berat
. Juliet continued with activities with the youth center, including a discussion of what the participants learned. It was a great activity and very successful. Baby steps.