Sunday, December 31, 2006

I am having some trouble loading pictures onto blogger so I dumped a lot of pics in a web album

(from Wikipedia)

Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, is a country in West Middle Africa, one of the smallest in continental Africa. It is bordered by Cameroon on the north, Gabon on the south and east, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west, where the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe lie to its southwest. Formerly the Spanish colony of Spanish Guinea, the country's territory (continentally known as Río Muni) includes a number of islands, including the sizable island of Bioko where the capital, Malabo (formerly Santa Isabel), is located. Its post-independence name is suggestive of its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. It is the only country in mainland Africa where Spanish is an official language, excluding the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Equatorial Guinea is the smallest country, in terms of population, in continental Africa (Seychelles and São Tomé and Príncipe are smaller). It is also the smallest United Nations member from continental Africa, and the smallest Spanish-speaking country in the world. The discovery of sizeable oil reserves changed the history of the country in recent years.


Equatorial Guinea is a small country at the west coast of Central Africa. Despite a per capita GDP (PPP) of more than US$30,000 [1] (CIA Factbook $50,200[2]) which is as of 2006 the sixth highest in the world, Equatorial Guinea ranks 121st out of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.

What does this fact mean? How can this be possible?

This is a problem that many 3rd world countries face. Follow the links into wikipedia to do a bit of research and earn 10 points if you can explain the meaning of this fact and how it can be possible. Write a short explanatory paragraph as a comment. Earn 2 points when you make a comment of a comment already posted by one of your peers about this topic. Do not post as Annonymous because then I cannot give you credit for your work.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Day 2
Christmas in Malabo

Christmas here is celebrated very differently than in Michigan. For starters, no one goes to bed on Christmas Eve, instead everyone goes out in the streets and party hops! You visit family and friends from house to house and eat and dance with them in their patios. Everyone’s African music is played very loudly and it spills out in the streets. As you walk down the street on your way to your next visit, you can easily get caught up in an impromptu side walk dance with complete strangers. This goes on all night! My poor Midwestern meat-n-potato fed body could not keep up with the athletic endurance of my cousins.
Oh yeah, they also outlaw cars and driving during the new year´s celebrations. It is a good thing cause the street drinkin´, dancin´and carryin' on would get messy with mad cars racin' in the street.
The picture collage is of my cousin Manolo's Christmas eve party.

Day 1

Christmas Eve Landing
(The tree in the picture is the most photographed tree in Equatorial Guinea. Check out the size of the roots. My dad (on right) stands about 6 feet tall, and he looks absolutely Liliputian compared to the tree roots. This tree is on his farm)

I began my descent south into the continent of Africa on Sunday. Wow! This is a part that I cannot explain in words because it is so fantastic. I was lucky enough to get a window seat on the plane and thus spent nearly 5 hrs. with my forehead plastered to the window looking down. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the sights for fear I might miss something.

The plane flew over Morocco and the Atlas Mountains. The most exciting part was when we flew over the Sahara desert for almost 4 hrs at about 600 miles per hr. That is one dang gigantic desert! The Sahara turned into the Sahel which in turn became a thicker rainforest.
When I landed in Malabo airport all I saw around me was a sea of emerald! I forget how green the deep African rainforest is.

And the heat….100 degrees temperatures with 99 percent humidity should only be suffered by trussed turkeys in the oven.

Answer these questions and earn up to 6 points that you can use to clean up any assignment before your mommy sees your grades at semester’s end:

  1. 2 pts: What does the word Sahel mean?
  2. 2 pts: In what language?
  3. 2 pts: Why is this region called the Sahel?
  4. Be the first to answer the questions in the comment box and take the points home

Friday, December 22, 2006


I am actually still travelling. It will take me 48 hrs to get there thru London, England and Madrid, Spain. I will arrive there on Christmas Eve in the afternoon.
You can get there before I do. Click here to see where I will be staying (my parents house). On the left hand side of the image, you will see a zoom lever. Click on the minus sign at the very bottom of the lever. With each click you will get an idea of where Malabo, Equatorial Guinea is. Reverse the action and you will see what I will see as I arrive.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Travel with me to Africa this Christmas. Please visit this blog often to follow my crazy travels, learned lots about Africa and earn some needed Extra Credit. Feel free to comment on the blog itself with comments, questions and suggestions.

social games are a huge part of every culture. They offer an opportunity to relax and more importantly to socialize with people you would other wise not relate to. This old game of spoons had these 5 smiling for the entire class hr. It is a great way to spend the last few academic hours of 2006.
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Henna Master
Pilar Hernandez learned to apply henna as a way to accessories the body for belly dancing. Henna is an herb that when mixed water and lemon juice becomes a thick mud paste. This paste has very high dying properties and is used to decorate the body. She really enjoys leering about cultural and religious are and lately she has become a henna master. If you want a henna tattoo, find Pilar. She will be happy to draw your favorite design.
David enjoyed getting a beautiful tattoo on the back of his neck..

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Beautiful Work. Here is a great example of Pilar's work. In India and in many other cultures, women wear henna as accessories to beautify the face, hands, belly,back and feet.
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This is a picture of Mrs. Glenda Fernandez, our guest speaker from Cuba.
After learning about Latin America all month, we were fortunate enough to have Mrs. Glenda Fernandez speak about Cuba. Mrs Fernandez is Nathan Fernandez' grandma and was a very interesting guest. She spoke about her life in Cuba when she was a teenage and how as the Cuban government was taken over by Fidel Castro, her family had to flee for their safety and freedom to the US.

She brought a guayava and cream cheese snack, plantain chips and a really plantain for students to sample and see. Students were able to ask lots of questions and learn about what life in a communist country is like.
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Thursday, December 14, 2006



Today we had a visit from Private Brad Marbach. Brad was in my World Studies class last year and has since joined the US Army. The object of his visit was not to recruit but to talk about life in and out of high school.

As part of the continuing Career Development in a Global Economy sub-course, I am trying to have some GLHS alumni speak to my classes to discuss how their experiences in high school prepared them for their careers.

Brad was a great guest. He connected with the students, offered heartfelt advice and gave us an great insight on how decisions in high school determine your future career.

Friday, December 01, 2006


So far this year, we have had very interesting circle days. It is an activity that everyone looks forward to and it is a great way to get to know each other outside of the academic context. Students write anonymous questions or comments on slips of paper and then place it in the center basket. The questions are then read out loud and students get to respond and give their opinions. We have had many thought provoking discussions about many topics. Posted by Picasa
I almost forgot that we had circle day with the German students from our sister school in Lohne, Germany (the girl in the red and black strips, the blond in the blue sweater on the right and the blond boy in the black shirt on the far right). It was a very interesting experience because the Germans had much to say about the differences in our culture. The most eye raising thing about their visit was the information that they gave us about their school.
Many of these students are very serious about their studies and have very different academic goals.
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Friday, November 24, 2006


This week, we talked about the importance of learning about our neighbors to the south. We did some map work together and also saw some pictures of what Latin America looks like. After a powerpoint presentation, map work, notes and a fun game, we are ready to move on to learn about the beauty of the Aztec, Maya and the Inca civilizations.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sister Mary Eurcharist
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Today, we got to prepare for the midterm elections. We sat in groups and discussed opinions and political positions. One student said, "electing candidates is like picking one's fantacy football line up." Posted by Picasa
Learning about the candidate is an important part of the election process. The students got to research each midterm candidate and each proposal before voting.
Voting becomes much more interesting when one understands the Politcal issues. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 26, 2006


Standing in the Piazza San Marco, infront of the cathedral of St. Mark and its famous bell tower. Click here to see more pictures of our trip to Italy, Greece and Turkey Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bharatiya Temple of Lansing
955 Haslett Rd., Haslett, MI 48840 Tel. (517) 339-6337
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The deities were installed in their present configuration at the time of their Prana Pratishtha (consecration) in June 1998, but have been at the temple for longer than that. The deity of Shri Ganesha (the elephant avatar) was a gift to the Hindu community of Lansing in 1982 by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami of Hawaii. Shri Ganesha remained in the home of community members Sudhakar and Usha Kulkarni for ten years, before moving to the newly constructed temple in April 1992. All the other deities were received from India in the summer of 1994 and, along with Shri Ganesha, were installed in a temporary sanctum on October 2, 1994. During the Prana Pratishtha ceremony of June 10-14, 1998, they were permanently installed in the present sanctum, consisting of seven small sanctums (mandaps) designed by acclaimed architect Muthiah Sthapathi of Chennai and built under his direction by a crew of skilled workers.
exerpt from the Bharatiya Temple Website.
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We took our shoes off in the shoe room. In many cultures, it is appropriate to take one's shoes off or even wash one's feet at the door in order not to bring dirt into the dwelling. Especially when one must sit on the floor to pray, eat, sleep, etc.  Posted by Picasa
Getting Started
Before we began the academic portion of the field trip. Mrs. Carvi and Pria Carvi (a sophmore at Okemos High School) gave us a pre test to see how much we knew about Hinduism. We then sat through two 45 minute lectures that included some very interesting new and less understoon facts about the religion. Immediately, students started asking questions which instantly turned up the interest volume. Wow, like where were these questions coming from? "Is Moksha the ultimate goal of Hindus?", "Can Hindu reincarnate as a Christian or a Muslim?, If so, can his/her Atman return after death or do they just go to heaven/paradise?", "How does a fly accomplish Dharma?"
It sure made me look good. I just smirked at a very impressed Mrs Carvi and I took all the credit! Thanx guyzzz.
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After the trip Roman said "I wish Americans were more ethnic and more interesting"...Well Roman, all this is part of America. It all sits right in your back yard ready for you to take notice, join in, take what you like and make it your own.
PS: Roman, there is nothing uninteresting about you! Posted by Picasa
The Real Thing
"It is one thing to hear about Hinduism in a powerpoint presentation. It is way better to see the real thing" this was a quote from a student after the trip. One of the most amazing things about this trip is how vividly different things are. It always glows me away how one can be in Grand Legde one day, doing the Grand Ledge thing. But then one can drive just 20 minutes and end up in a very diferent reality. Posted by Picasa
The Jain Temple was breath takingly surreal. Many of the students did not know much about this branch of Hinduism. We were especially impressed with the sense of calm that room encompassed.
This sanctum was built in 1999, again under the direction of Muthiah Sthapathi. He designed it in the second half of 1998, incorporating motifs taken from the Jain temple in Mount Abu in Rajasthan, and his team of assistants completed it in early 1999. Posted by Picasa