Saturday, April 26, 2008

24 hours later. Even more amazing than Natal's floods is the fact that they dissapear so quickly. Wednesday was followed by a very bright and sunny Thursday with no standing water around. See the before and after picture of the football pitch that had the car in. The Thursday picture was taken less than 24 hours after the Wednesday one.

Pictures. Some snaps of various things including ur trip to Pipa (see last entry) and from the Great Britain project my students did a few weeks back can be viewed here.

Crime and Punishment. I have been teaching various groups the vocabulary of crime and punishment in English. What's the difference between kidnap and hijack, weapon and gun, steal and rob, mug and assault, confess and accuse, convict and condemn? Easy for us, not so easy for a Brazilian. One amusing thing that came out of all this was several students independently told me they had had their baseball caps nicked. It seems a funny thing to steal but they are worn exposed to the elements and perhaps one could get a couple of bob for a good one at the market down town. One student of mine, Alberto, had his nicked when a kid swiped it and ran off a bus. A week later, having bought a new version of the same cap, it was thiefed by a passing cyclist who lifted it right off Alberto's scalp before peddling off leaving Alberto fuming in his wake. Alberto says he doesn't bother buying baseball caps anymore.

In any case, the crime in Natal is really not a major concern compared to other capital cities in Brazil. And yet, early on a Saturday morning, we found ourselves to be almost the victims of domestic burglary. Nelson woke up at 5am and wanted me to play with him. He requested his supply of cars be replenished so I dutifully went downstairs to get more toys only to see a man tip-toeing around our front patio. Without really stopping to think of the consequences, I thumped on the window and bellowed as loud as I could in any language I could think of. I opened the screen door, pounded over the tiles and chased him out the gate in just my undies. Complete with my gruff unshaven look I later supposed the total effect would've seen off a standing army. Anyway, he and an accomplice had already made it to the corner at the end of the street but to my relief they didn't seem to be carrying anything in their hands. At this point, Rachel came shooting downstairs looking like she expected to see the four horsemen of the apocalypse and was relieved when it was "only" robbers and that Nelson was OK in his bedroom and I hadn't tumbled down the stairs and broken my face.

Our thieves were probably 2 minutes from getting the bike through the gate so, thanks to Nelson ultimately, they didn't get away with anything. They had jimmied the gate with a crowbar (so we'll need to get a proper lock for that) and had spotted the bikes behind our parked cars. So, it made for a great story to tell my students this morning, and, of course, it was great vocab practice for them. I discovered quite a handy website this week when my good friend Jawad (who was one of my best friends at Turi in Kenya and now a facebook pal) sent me a link to complete a survey for him on ethical purchasing. He is somehow involved in setting up a business that distributes African clothes at a fair price to the producers. Anyway, if you have five minutes and if this subject area interests you, please help him out by taking his survey here. So impressed was I with which organises everything for people to do online surveys (for free!) that I have started using it as a way for students to submit homework online. I also made a very quick survey of my own to try and get a better picture on people´s blogging "habits". Please check it out too if you have a few minutes to spare. Much obliged!

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