Two Weeks to Go
Last night was the ceremony and dance for the students who are graduating from the school here in Kyinka. One of our English club students, Artem, (and, it turns out, the class valedictorian) gave us tickets to attend. It was very different from graduations in the U.S. that I have seen, though I have never seen one in a small town, only in the city area. The students got flowers for the teachers, presented the traditional bread and salt to the principal, sang, and even brought up a few of the teachers to dance (at this, both the students and the teachers looked uncomfortable). During part of the ceremony, little girls with the puffs in their hair also went up to sing a song. Indeed, there was much singing during the ceremony, and all of the students were dressed up in prom-like outfits.
After the ceremony we all went down to the courtyard where there were many photos taken (including some with us!) and a dance was performed by four pairs of graduating students. It was interesting to stand there and watch them do this dance, in a school courtyard, with all these birds flying about. And after that, they served dinner, which started the cycle of eating/drinking (with many toasts being made), going out and dancing, then going inside for more eating and drinking, etc.
However, we did not stay late. We had been working on our project all day and all had things to do today as well. It is a bit of a push right now, trying to prepare for the project while also keeping up on the language and preparing our final “self-directed learning” project for presentation. Our event is to be held on Tuesday (and we are all hoping that the weather holds out for it). We combined our event with the village’s celebration of International Child Protection Day, so we are in charge of the outdoor events of the day (I will be doing face-painting in the morning, much to the pity of the children whose faces will be painted, or in our case, drawn on using eyeliner pencils). We also tapped into their concert in order to announce the winners of our raffle and the amount of books (and money) we have collected for the village library through our raffle ticket sales and book drive.
After our event, we will be focusing on the Language Proficiency “Interview” (which I put on quotes because it is basically an oral exam), which will tell us our level of ability in Ukrainian. We are “required” to attain Intermediate Low (the levels are Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior, with three steps in each level). However, we will not be prevented from going to our sites of we do not achieve it – we will simply need more intensive tutoring.
In the next couple of weeks we also have our Policies and Procedures exam as well as our Safety and Security exam. My group would also like to have a party for our host families, to thank them for their hospitality and kindness. And we will be packing and going to Kiev for three days on the 14th. So it looks to be a busy couple of weeks, and I feel like I am a bit behind in my studies at the moment. Ah well, one’s brain can only do so much at a time!