THE PCV: Even as I entered the pastel pink building, I noticed a strange absence of noise, considering it was the first day of school. A few isolated students wearing white school jackets rambled through the dimly lit hallway. I looked out into the school yard and saw piles of old desk fragments, broken bricks, and tree fragments. They must be cleaning the school grounds, I thought.
The classroom where I was to teach was located a short walking distance behind the main building. I hopped on my bicycle and coasted right up to my door. Two students were sitting inside playing cards. I looked at the official enrollment number of 47 and asked earnestly, "Where are the other forty-five students?" The card players faltered a bit and them mumbled, "They'll come by and by." "Well, let's start without them," I suggested, with a disapproving stare at the cards.
HER STUDENTS: It was Tito and Mando who came and told us that a skinny, sickly white woman had jumped off her bicycle, run into our classroom, and tried to teach them English that morning. Tito and Mando weren't even in our class! They were just sitting there, waiting to use the soccer field, when she rushed in like the rains. They weren't sure what to say because she looked so strange. Her hair was all falling down, and she wore a dress that looked like an old faded bed covering that one might have bought from a Mauritanian vendor in the used clothing market. We knew no one would be at school yet-most students were still on the farms, finishing the harvest-[but] we decided we would go the next day to see what this new American teacher looked like.
PCV West Africa