Sunday, June 29, 2014

The New FANA Broadcasting Building

The radio station we work at has moved. We got to record in the new studio for the last week and it is really nice. The whole building is theirs and they will have a TV station in there very soon.

Photo: This weeks radio crew: Tesfahun, Ellie, Riley and myself

Photo: Habtamu, Peggy, Tefahun, Riley and Tedesse (the radio guru)

The new studio is awesome and I can't wait to get back in there.

Union Academy Graduation

I was asked to be a part of the graduation ceremony at Union Academy and it was a great experience. I gave a closing speech and got to hand out a bunch of academic awards to the male graduating students. My friend Ellie presented the awards to the graduating female students. It really was a great event.

Photo: A play put on by some of the students.

Photo: My friend Eyob (Centre) - the principal of Union Academy

Photo: My friend Ellie Kennedy handing out awards.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Insect Invasion

I actually can't remember if I posted this, but a couple of months ago I woke up to a new carpet of insects. Apparently this migration happens every few years and trillions of these things fly to their deaths feeding countless millions of birds, lizards and other animals as well as billions of insects. It took me a good week to get all the body parts out of my house and these are just the ones that made it under the door. My deck was covered in them, but my roommate swept them up before I could get a photo. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

English Open Week - Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony was a lot of fun and a great way to close off the week. There was a live band and dance group, a dance competition and some awards for the English Open Week Debate Competition were handed out as well. The whole week was very successful and the thousands of people that showed up during the week learned a lot and had a lot of fun doing it. However, the band was late arriving to the event and so Tesfahun had to entertain the audience until they did arrive.
Photo: Tesfahun assessing the situation. 
He decided to call on the audience to come up and sing some songs. A kind of Karaoke situation emerged.

 And then the guy in the photo below got up and sang an acapella version of a song titled "We are the Children of the World." He was about 12 years old singing in front of a group of adults and he was fantastic.

 Eventually the band arrived and the show began. Tesfahun gave the closing speech, the awards for the Debate Competition were handed out, and Habtamu gave a quick speech as well. I just took pictures.


 Then the entertainment part of the show began. The great part about the band and the dancers was that all of them were once orphans and street children. They were trained how to play music and dance and now they hire themselves out to play and dance at events like the English Open Week and that is how they make their living. Having observed how difficult life is here in Ethiopia for a homeless, orphaned child, this group of singers and dances were not only inspirational, they are a true success story.

 The last part of the evening was a dance competition for anyone that wanted to take part and there were some great dance off's for sure.

In the end, we were all happy and proud of the way that everything turned out. not everything went perfectly as planned, but everything worked.

The games tent

This was one of the most fun places to be during the Open Week. There were board games, puzzle games, a chess tournament, scrabble, and numerous computer games for learning and competition. The diversity of people that showed up here was fabulous.
Photo: Tesfahun showing the students how to use the games.

Photo: First contestant
Photo: Focused learning
The students had an amazingly great time in the games tent. There were students from all grades and many schools. It was great to watch the learning curve of the young ones, especially the ones that had never used a computer mouse before. Watching the dexterity rapidly develop - awesome.

In the other tents there were many other presentations, but the photo below is one of my favorites because it shows that the 1970's is making a come back here in Ethiopia and we can only hope that it will spread to Canada. The KOICA volunteer is here to teach art for 2 years and she is amazing.

Photo: 70's come back 

 It was great to see these students all working together to play the game rather than competing individually. They would all call out answers and the person at the keyboard would type in the responses. Every single student was focused on a common goal.
However, as a result of the continuous power fluctuations here in Ethiopia, the television eventually got zapped and we had to switch to using my laptop for the last group. The smaller screen size didn't detract from the entertainment though - as the photo below illustrates.
Photo: Great group of kids showing off their crazy face poses.

 Chess Competition

Henok (left side of picture below), a third year College of Teacher Education student is also on the Ethiopian National Chess Team and will hopefully be competing in the world championships in Norway this summer. The winner of the CTE tournament faced off against Henok in the grande finale. Henok won the game, but it was a hard fought battle to the end.
Photo: Henok - left vs winner of the college tournament - right

Photo: The second and third place finishers of the college tournament doing battle.

The students in the video below were fantastic to work with in the games tent and when they broke into song, I was very glad that I had my camera ready to record it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ethiopian Hookey Pookey

These kids were in the games tent and threw down the best rendition of the hokey pokey that I have ever heard. Glad I had my camera with me and ready to go.

English Open Week - Workshops

During the Open Week I was able to conduct numerous workshops and work with teachers, student teachers, and high school students. They were all amazing and a lot of fun to spend time with. I taught a creative writing class for the high school students, we had a workshop for in-service teachers that run English Language Clubs, a debate competition, some active learning training for teachers and a couple of introductory computer classes. It was a great week.

Photo: Active Learning Workshop

Photo: Intro to Computers class

Photo: Debate competition

Photo: Debate Competition

Photo: Debate

Photo: Audience debate questions

English Club Teachers Workshop

These teachers are always a joy to work with and they are all incredibly talented in their work. 

Photo: Some Warm-up Games

Photo: More games
Photo: Presentations of what is and is not working in different schools' clubs.

Photo: A lucky dance photo of Habtamu