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I really don’t have time to write with all the thesis juries. Yesterday we started at 8 a.m. and saw students non-stop till 3, with the exception of 2 very short toilet breaks. I’m happy to report that this year, for the first time, there are flush toilets at the U. Yippee!! I’m hoping to report soon that they’ve been cleaned, but at least progress is being made 🙂 The first year there were cubicles and squatty-potties, but I really didn’t like closing the door and being shut in with all the creatures who lived there. Last year there were tiled squatty-potties, also tending towards the filthy side, and this year there is a locked door and 2 flush toilets, no paper, and only one with running water. This isn’t surprising, since locals don’t use toilet paper—and yes, that is why it’s rude to eat with your left hand.

The U is really making great strides. We actually had air-conditioning in the library all day. The poor students waited outside in the heat, but I was practically cold. Air-conditioning is very rare here, and I’m not used to it, although I appreciate it when I can get it. We have an AC in our bedroom, and in the hot season the kids bring matlas in and we all sleep in the one COLD room 🙂 It’s lovely, and walking out the door of our room in the morning is always such a shock. But it’s expensive to run and we only use it when absolutely necessary.

Arabic is a flowery language, and students carry that over when they begin to write in English. Here are a couple samples from dedications:

“I dedicate this thesis to my father, who supported me morally and financially.” I don’t know how to support someone morally—I think this young man meant his father raised him to be a moral person.

One dedication, after mentioning parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and classmates, ended “And to everyone I know.”

“I would like to transform my indebtedness, gratitude and deepest thanks to my supervisor…” This one was for me! I’m the one to receive this transfer of gratitude! I don’t let it go to my head though. Last year, another teacher, a woman in her 50s, got one that called her “bewitching” and “fascinating.” I copied it down and I wish I could find it—it’s the funniest dedication I’ve ever seen.

I do have to tell you how awesome my kids are. On Wednesday, I went straight from a morning class at Oasis to thesis juries at the U, so I didn’t see the kids till I got home, tired and hungry, at 6 p.m. Elliot was shocked to learn I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. He (age 10) and Ilsa (just-turned 9) had made supper already—they’d made each family member the kind of sandwich that they like (with or w/o mayo, with or w/o cucumber, for example) and had made a table out of a board and two stools, set it with cloth, cups, napkins, and name placements, and also set up various stations where you could go for a backrub or to have your hair done, etc. It was very nice, and they’d done it entirely on their own as Donn was at work.

May 2006

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A Perfect Post – January 2007

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