An Introduction To Teaching

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September 26th 2006
Published: October 10th 2006
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Toxic CatchToxic CatchToxic Catch

My students with just a very small sample of the single use, and usually very low quality, batteries which are thrown into the undergrowth, into the river and into the sea every day. Many containing mercury are thrown into the shrimp beds by the very fishermen selling the poisoned catch into the market.

An Introduction To Teaching

It wasn’t a good start. A weekend in Dakar to try and find some music and dancing turned into a 5 hour journey in a stress position crammed into an “Alham”, exhaustion, headache, fever, chills and an early night. Decided to see a doctor in Dakar as I had some classic malaria symptoms (and my legs had been completely perforated by mosquitoes in my first week). Dakar on a Sunday morning on the first day of Ramadan was eerily quiet - none of the hassle I had expected and no real need for the padlocks on my pockets. Fortunately I had a bout of flu and a chest infection. Unfortunately I felt like crap and saw almost nothing of Dakar other than my hotel room.

The eve of the training and I decided to treat myself to a slap up 3 course meal for 4 quid at La Cloche - a restaurant run by an Italian ex-pat called Pinot and renowned for its enormous fish. Something about the starter worried me. Next morning at 7.30 am, and with 30 minutes to go before my introduction to the world of teaching, I was slumped on the bathroom floor, whimpering slightly, with that winning combination of hacking cough, raging flu and food poisoning (yes - both ends!). Training was not going to start at 8am.

I finally wobbled into the room at 9.30 having managed to keep down some flat coke and half a cup of water, badly in need of a beard trim and paler than a fair haired ginger man at the end of winter. Must have looked like Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth.

“Hi, I’m Andy” I croaked in French (my voice had almost gone too). “Over the next 4 weeks we’re going to work together to help you set up a small solar business”.

They looked very afraid.

At 3pm I nearly fell over and decided to call it a day. The coke had definitely worn off and I crawled back to my bed to sleep for 5 hours while my students headed home wondering what the hell they had done to deserve this.


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