With only three weeks left of training here in Guinea, the excitement has been constant. Among one of the more jarring events since our return from site visits was an affair about a few crocodiles that had all of Dubreka in an uproar.

One of Dubreka's claims to fame for a while was a man who kept four adult caimans (actually closer to alligators, but everyone here calls them crocodiles in French) in a pen in his backyard. I'd been to see the gators several times since my arrival, and though they were enormous, they never looked too hungry or eager to escape. Much to everyone's surprise day after I arrived back in Dubreka, the news was flying around town that a man had been eaten by one of the crocodiles. Apparently, one or several had escaped and then dragged a man to the water where he was killed. The rumor was that apparently the owner of the crocodiles was overdue for giving some sacrifice, and the devil had come up and caused the resulting drama. The man's body was found the next day, and the rest of the crocodiles were killed. For the next few days, there were a few sightings of the escaped crocodile, especially at night. Finally, on Tuesday, the culprit croc was shot and put on display down by the port for the town to see. After dinner that day, my host sisters and I started down the trek down to the port, along with droves of others. The same day, we had given our first lesson to Guinean students as part of our training, and so a Response Volunteer was arriving that night from Conakry with something unheard of in Guinea: ice cream! I was more eager to get back to the training center for the ice cream than to see the dead crocodile, but I hurried along with my sisters in the direction of the crowds anyway. Finally, we arrived at the port around 7:20, but they had locked the doors of where they were displaying the beast. It was time to break fast for Ramadan, so it was time to put the gator away. The sisters were disappointed, but I still had my ice cream to look forward too. We parted ways, and I speed-walked to the training center to jump on the car from Conakry. I got there just as other volunteers were also arriving, and we happily accepted the milkshakey mess that the ice cream had turned into. We all ate way more dairy than our Guinean-trained stomach were used to, but I enjoyed every melty, sugary, choclatey spoonful like it was the best ice cream I'd ever tasted.

On Friday, I had my first ever organic chemistry lesson, except I was the one teaching it. In the high school chemistry curriculum in Guinea, organic chem is pretty important, so I self taught myself the best I could as I designed the lesson on alkanes. It turned out to be a big success, even though I got nervous with the chemistry supervisor sitting in on my lesson. I got a big "Felicitations" afterward from my supervisor. After another two hour practice high school lesson today, I'm starting to think I've got this Guinean teaching thing under control. My biggest challenge is getting students used to my teaching style, which is a huge jump from the wrote learning they are used to. (A typical class consists of students silently copying down information from the professor into their "cahiers" for two hours.) I'm sure the sight of my jumping, shouting, smiling, sweating, and burning stuff is a little crazy for them, but then again, I've already been told that by American students on occasion.

Everyone is impatiently awaiting the end of Ramadan, which is supposedly either tonight or tomorrow. Instead of going by the standardized arabic calendar, here in West Africa we have actually SEE the moon before the big "fĂȘte de Ramadan" can happen. No one knows for sure if its tomorrow or the next day. So, if the moon shows, tomorrow will be a holiday with lots of food and music and no classes, if not, we'll be back to fasting and business as normal for one more day.

Happy Ramadan (maybe!) And more soon, -Sarah