A Tumbuka lad in exile (tiwonge) wrote,
A Tumbuka lad in exile

An update!

My brother Andrew told me that my first post was no longer in the future, so I had to go fix that. Now it's dated for my 40th birthday, which is still in the future.

The semester started a few weeks ago. 4 weeks, to be precise. I get paid biweekly, so I was expecting a paycheck 2 weeks ago. It didn't arrive, but I kind of half-expected that, because it often takes a pay period to get everything settled and into the system. So, I should get a paycheck today, right? Nothing in the bank last night (it's usually deposited Thursday evening), and nothing today. Time to go to the office and ask about it. It turns out that my paperwork was never processed, or something. So I'll get paid for the first time in 2 weeks. That's what, about 1/3 of the way through the semester?

I joked on facebook about this, about how the volunteer tutoring I've been doing is just as lucrative as what I get paid to do. :)

Speaking of volunteer tutoring, I recently started going down to the Corpus Christi house to help out with their GED program. Corpus Christi is a Catholic Worker house whose mission is to serve the homeless in Boise. I knew that there was a CW house in Boise, and when I first got here, I looked it up and knocked on the address listed (a residential address up on the Bench), but got brushed off. (Well, I think they said something about going downtown, but they didn't seem very interested, and I didn't know where they were downtown, so I didn't pursue it any further. I don't know if they thought that maybe I was a homeless guy looking for their shelter they run, or what.) I've been wanting to do something like this for a while--since I first got to Boise, I guess. (When I applied to Maryknoll after leaving Arizona, their response was that I was lacking volunteer work, even though I had just spent 4 years teaching on the reservation. I was paid for that, so I hadn't listed it as volunteer.) The problem is that once the semester starts, my hours get filled up, and I get into a regular schedule of what I have to do.

So, anyway, towards the end of the summer, I decided to try to find something again. I went to the Boise Rescue Mission's webpage and e-mailed them. The first e-mail I tried bounced, and the second one never responded. Then I asked Chuck, and he suggested the Corpus Christi House, and the same thing. The first e-mail bounced, and I never heard back from the online application I found. For a few days, at least--finally somebody contacted me. It turns out that Corpus Christi had just started an education program a few months earlier, and so they could use some people to tutor. Good timing for me, I guess. Had I tried last year, or even at the beginning of last semester, there wouldn't have been this sort of thing to do.

I went down there last Friday to look around. The woman in charge (an Americorps volunteer from Arizona--when I met her she was wearing an NAU shirt) of the education center showed me around Corpus Christi. (They are in two adjacent buildings.) The outside of CC had a fresco made of broken tiles on it. Kind of neat, and similar art inside, too. Very Catholic Worker type art. In the interior lobby, there were a few people lounging around. They had two bathrooms with showers for people to use, and a "quiet room" that also doubled as a medical exam room when they got somebody to do them. In the kitchen area are several tables, and a "day storage" set of shelves where people can put their stuff for the day. Out back was an outside area where people can spend time when the weather is nice. (Which it often is, in Boise.) There are also a few computers available for use (ideally for use in applying for jobs and stuff, but when I was there, one guy was playing solitaire, and the other was used by somebody checking e-mail, or something). There was also a kitchen prep area, but I'm pretty sure that CC doesn't serve meals. They close from 11 to 2 (as does the Education center) when some other shelter in the area serves lunch.

The Education Center, like the Corpus Christi House, serves the homeless community. On the wall, they've got a "success board" with pictures of people who got their GED, and pictures of people in process, with the tests checked off they managed to pass. All but one of them are missing the math test. That, and writing, are the two big blocks to passing the GED. So, twice a week, I walk downtown (about half an hour walk) and tutor for 2 hours. I've been spending my time so far with the same woman. We've mostly been going through the sample test and talking about all the stuff she missed (most of it, it seems). I don't think she ever learned geometry, although her math instincts aren't terrible, so she can puzzle through things once she knows what she has to do. It's going to take a long time, though, just working 4 hours per week. We've only gone over half of her pre-test. I'm enjoying it, though, along with the other people I tutor for free on campus. Why should I get paid to do something when I can do it for free?

So, aside from not being paid, the semester's been going well so far. And hoping that I'll be able to pay the bills which will be coming due over the next few weeks.
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