Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, Making Friendship Bracelets, Indian Food Night and International Women's Day

Sorry for the delay in updating my blog, the past couple weeks have been a little hectic! I wrapped up the International Writing Olympics by selecting winners from each form (8th-11th) and typing up their entries to submit to our Oblast coordinator for judging. Kharkiv Oblast will then send its winning submissions along to the National level in Kyiv. The water was also out in my apartment for a full week... Going to the well to draw buckets of water when it is icy and like -20 degrees outside really makes you appreciate having running water inside your apartment! It turned out that the pipes in my building froze over and the water returned when it finally warmed up a bit to -5 degrees.
Image designed by Danny Zawacki, courtesy of the PC Ukraine creative team.
On March 1st, Peace Corps celebrated its 50th anniversary! The United States Peace Corps was founded by President John F. Kennedy on March 1st, 1961 and this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Peace Corps in Ukraine. My school's alumni magazine published an article about the Peace Corps, including alums who are RPCVs and I was highlighted as a current PCV! You can check out the article online here.

An excerpt from the GT Alumni magazine article, courtesy of Kimberly Link-Wills.
Last week in English club, we made some friendship bracelets! My 5th-7th graders have been bugging me about how to make the bracelets for a few weeks since I wear a bracelet made by my sister Celina on my left wrist. I finally bought the embroidery string and taught the students how to make the chevron-style bracelet, using 4 different colors. I drew a picture of how to tie the knots onto the strings to help the students visualize and supplement the instructions in English.

Some of my students making friendship bracelets in English Club.
Separating the strands of embroidery thread, keeping them in the right order to make the chevron pattern.
A closeup of the chevron pattern friendship bracelet, scotch taped onto a desk for easier braiding.
Last weekend, I traveled to my friend Jillian's site to enjoy some tasty home-cooked Indian food! She lives about 3 hours from Kharkiv, in a small town about the size of mine. Her town has some cool statues in the center, along with a small church.
Maybe George and the Dragon?
A statue of an angel.
The church and a small tank.
Jillian received a box of spices and assorted other ingredients to make Indian food, so she invited the Kharkiv Oblast PCV's over to share the feast. We each made our own naan (Jillian made the dough from scratch), also had a few different curry dishes, some chicken and rice :)

Step 1: flatten the dough.
Step 2: Erika and Jacob demonstrating how to put the dough on the pan and fry it in oil.
Step 3: Whitney flipping the dough over as it begins to turn golden brown.
Step 4: add some assorted spices to your naan.
Step 5: enjoy your naan with the rest of your meal!
We also celebrated International Women's Day on March 8th. In Ukraine, we can say "Поздравляю всех девушек и женщин с праздником Международный женский!" in Russian - which translates to I congratulate all girls and women with the International Women's Day holiday! Last Friday, many of the students were dressed up in the "official" black and white business professional school uniforms and the 11th formers greeted all women at the front door of the school with a song and chant of congratulations!

The 11th formers with their little spring headbands :)
With Jenia and Marina, two of my 10th formers.
I am so excited for spring to be here! The days are getting longer and the sun doesn't set until after 5pm now. And the snow is finally beginning to melt in my town... which means that I need to bust out my trusty Yak Trax since the streets have turned from packed down snow into slick solid ice. 


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