Our Schedule:

Teaching English and Art together, putting on the GospelCafé concerts, prayer, meeting with our new French friends. It's a good life!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The women's shelter

Today was an adventure. Russell and I made an attempt to meet a bus to find our way to the shelter but this particular bus wasn't going to arrive for an hour and a half. I must have gone to the wrong stop. We head back home to study the schedule better.  It feels bitter cold at 25 degrees and going down to 14 tonight. That's in Farenheit terms. I don't know the Centigrade. Let's just say it's cold. I looked at my Kansas City temps on my Google page and see it will be in the 60s! in February. I thought Paris would be milder than KC. Oh well. It's winter, I'm used to February being cold. What I'm not used to is walking in it. :0) That's okay as there is a wonderful bus system in this city of Versailles.

We finally figure it out and head to our destination. The man wanted to take me there the first time so we knew exactly where I was going. Fortunately Carolyn and I had scouted it out before and that helped a lot. There is a lovely cemetery near the shelter which is attached to a Catholic church. When the weather warms up we'll go back and take pictures. I've never seen anything like the cemeteries they have here with the vaults up above. It's like pieces of furniture in a small garden yard for each person. Everything being above ground. It's a lovely, junky but beautiful area with the tombstones, the large cement tombs, ivy, trees, and various assortment of lawn furniture. It's hard to explain. Pictures later.

One of the volunteers opened the big blue door with the black ornamental iron round pull knob in the center. "Bonjour" we both say. I introduce mon mari to her l'homme in the chapeau noir. (the man in the black hat). She looks way up for she is very petite and welcomes me in. I tell him goodbye and he has his own journey back to the apartment to work. As I walk up the stairs there are many women sitting around on couches and various chairs. In the middle of the room is a table with art projects in various stages of design. Their theme is Latin America this month as is their art work. I thought I might help with these projects but when I heard that many of the women want to learn English the woman looked at me and I said, "sure". So we were shuttled downstairs for me to teach English. Have you heard the term "Winging it?" I'd like to know what the person who coined this term was drinking when thinking it up but that is what I was doing. I had no lesson plan but with a little help from my new friend from Cameroon and my new friend from Turkey we came up with a basic plan of thinking of phrases and words, letters & numbers. There will be interesting possibilities and freedom of speech (as He leads) on occasion that may spark some thinking. I would appreciate your thoughts on the work I'm beginning to do and the relationships I am already forming.

For two hours we practiced our English and French. A good time was had by all. One woman was from Mali, 2 women from Turkey, one from Tunisia, another from one of the Stans, another from France and Cameroon.  I didn't always know the French so we did Frenglish. They thoroughly enjoyed it and so did I.

At 4pm we had a "Gouter" (pronounced gootay- There is a circumflex over the letter u but I can't find that on my computer. A Gouter is like having afternoon tea. At the end of the day the women get out the gateau (cake) they made that morning. Coffee, tea and a grenadine syrup is added to water for those who like a saccharin drink. Much like kool-aid. (no thank you). There were 3 children there today and they liked it. Some of these families will go back to their cold tents in the forest and others have a low budget hostel that the government is paying for until they get them returned to their home country or help them get assimilated.

I will teach English again next Wednesday. Bon Nuit! (Good night -Said before going to bed) --Carol

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