Monday, May 24, 2010


Junior Achievement went pretty well again this morning or at least it went well after it started. Today was a holiday so most everything was closed and classes weren't held at schools, but all of my students told me last week that they didn't care about the holiday and that we should hold class. If they wanted to have class that was fine with me so I was prepared this morning at 9am. Apparently everyone was willing to come to class as long as they could arrive 45 minutes late and then complain about having class on a holiday. Today was a day where I was completely unwilling to be messed with and was willing to let everyone know that I was not happy. As I waited the 30 minutes until the first student arrived I had an internal struggle with myself about whether or not I should leave. At fifteen minutes I remembered the Michigan rule that if you're prof is 15 minutes late you can leave class, at twenty minutes I was getting angry, at 25 minutes I resolved to leave at thirty minutes, and at thirty minutes the first student arrived and chastised me about holding class on a holiday.

Forty-five minutes after class was supposed to begin I stood before the class and declared that next week I'm starting class at 9am and I'm locking the door at 9:10. My mini-tirade included if you want to be serious business people then timeliness is important and there's no way that I or anyone else for that matter would wait that long for someone or something in the US. I tried to convey that being on time is a sign of respect and all that jazz, but I really just wanted to vent and to show them that I'm pissed. Quite frankly I do have better things to do than wait around in a super hot classroom with no ventilation.

Regardless, we worked on feasibility studies today. Each group had to create a very simple feasibility study that addressed seven key issues when starting a business: knowledge, economics, legal, resources, culture, environment, and operations. I try to speak as little as possible at JA meetings so to avoid sounding incompetent and in an effort to foster discussion and for the students to realize things on their own. Today the discussion was fierce as everyone pointed out everyone else's errors or things they had overlooked. The most interesting part of today was the fact that whenever I thought a group had a great idea the rest of the room attacked it.

One group's idea is to start a construction business by first starting a hardware and then developing this into a full-service construction service. I think this is a pretty good idea/ start to raise capital it was eviscerated a few weeks ago. Today, this same group proposed starting their business in a new quartier, on that is just starting to have a lot of houses and businesses go up. Their idea in their feasibility study (after researching whether or not there are other such businesses in the area) was to ingratiate themselves to the community by having a slogan about starting the quartier, neighborhood, together from the ground up. I thought this idea was genius. Everyone else thought it was crap. I would be interested to see if an idea like that would work here since I think it would work in the US.

The rest of the day I dealt with awkward food situations. I came home from JA exhausted to find Jeenaba and Deenba pounding okra. This was not a good sign - soupakanga for lunch. The only thing that I can not choke down. So disappointing. I immediately tell them that I'm going to make myself lunch, which is met with quizzical looks since I'm obviously incompetent and can't make myself something for lunch. 1:30 roles around and I'm just bringing my gas outside to make something when Jeenaba appears with eggs and salad she made me. I know that my mom forced her to do this because everyone knows that I hate soupakanga, but I feel so badly making extra work for Jeenaba or Deenba. They already have enough to do. The eggs were delicious, but I could have just as easily made them (and they would have been less oily). To make matters worse she made me a mountain of eggs so I had to take the leftovers into the house where everyone else was eating soupakanga and my mom told me to bring it to her so everyone could eat some of my egg leftovers.

Eggs for lunch, which is great, was followed by an equally great and awkward dinner. We had chicken (obviously amazing), but my dad and big Ahmed ate approximately two bites and left the table. This would normally be a situation of extreme joy as I could eat all the salad and the white meat of the chicken and then leave without anyone telling me to eat more, but the rest of my family was sitting on the floor eating dinner as well. So, I then had to think about how much to leave and what I should eat and what I shouldn't eat and everyone kept glancing at me. I ate all the salad because I knew no one was going to eat that anyway, took another bite of chicken, and then got up from the table to take the platter to the floor where everyone else was eating. Leftovers are awkward.


  1. There is a new sheriff in Senegal, and it is the toubob Alyssa. Next meeting lock the door and maybe they will learn.


  2. Phew! Dinner is exhausting! I'm with Dad. You are the sheriff. Do/eat what you want and move on. At this point somebody will tel you if your behavior is inappropriate.