An hour has passed. I roll over, groggy, and see the face of my other trainee poking around the door. I had heard his voice as I had passed the moments between slumber and consciousness. He brought me snacks. He also brought along another of the volunteer teachers. We begin by sitting in the sweltering upper of the house. What little breeze there is feels like air escaping from the oven door after baking bread; except there is no homely country cottage smell to accompany it. Instead there is the smell of sweat and dust. My forehead threatens to burst forth with sweat viciously pouring over my temples. As we move to the under part of the house; cooler only by a few degrees yet with a breeze that makes breathing a little more bearable the sister of the volunteer teacher arrives. This is the girl who was to seek advice from me on Monday evening. She is still squeaky and I assume unhappy. There is another meeting, make that summons, from the monk this evening. My trainee isn’t making eye contact with me and conveys a more monosyllabic deliverance than I thought possible in a language which deals exclusively in monosyllables.
It’s presently 3:15pm. I have not been addressed by my trainee since 9 am. I’ll admit; I’m worried about how this will turn out. But, I’m also curious. I am not exactly certain what it is that I’ve done to upset him. I think the tension has been rising since my return to the village and that this fight is a symptom of the whole situation.
I am always the teacher here. I have to keep going and be strong and push. But not too much, otherwise we’ll cause damage. It’s finding equilibrium. I don’t want to pull rank as ‘the teacher.’ I want equality and rational thoughts in which we hash out the issues and come to a measured conclusion.
Late into the setting fiery red ball of sun we went to wash. We strode into the fields and just missed the sun sinking behind the distant mountains. We spoke. Not about the earlier misgivings; rather about inconsequential, fluffy stuff. We managed a brief laugh over the inbreeding in both of our villages which sometimes produces 6 fingers, or in the case of my village, webbed toes. A truce of kinds has been reached I believe.
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer