Looking outside, getting ready to leave the folks here in rural Arkansas, heading back to Vermont, packing up. Every year I have to deal with southern Ozark stereotypes of New England, and New England stereotypes of my (7 generation hillbilly) background.
In 1984, when I arrived in Ngaoundal, Cameroon, a village of 1200 people on a train and highway crossroads, it was after 10PM. I've written in more detail about how there was no one expecting me, the new English teacher at CES Ngaoundal in Adamoua. No housing, no post office, no bank.
I remember a rumor which circulated in the town. People were concerned that I was teaching the kids "American English", and that they would not be prepared for the brevet exam, which was in British English. I thought that was poppycock, though I did run across bizarre words like "lorry" and "flat" in the textbooks. I was fluent in Fawlty Towers and Monty Python.
At one point, the mayor (sous-prefet) of the town called me in, with the principle, for a meeting to confront the rumors in town that I was preparing the kids in the wrong language. I promised I was fluent in proper English and capable of teaching it, despite my USA passport, and my lack of certification.
Anyway... an unprecedented number of my CES 3e class passed with flying colors. Several told me that they thought the English part of the test was "a breeze" ("Sir, I was surprised. It was very easy"). This was admittedly a brilliant, hard working, sharp bunch of kids who get all the credit. But I'd arrived as a pioneer post, no previous English teacher (a military doctor had given some classes a couple of days per week), so I can't help but feel it was the decade's crowning achievement.
Just thinking about how consensus that someone is not capable, is a problem, formed so quickly among French, Fulfulde, and Hausa speakers about my English speaking ability.
When I get home, I think I'll transfer some photos.