Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HW 35 Letter to KatieE readers

Dear Blog Readers,
Blogging these last 13 weeks has been a very interesting assignment. I’ve learned a lot from maintaining my blog. I have learned different ways so write and express my thoughts. I have learned how to create a blog in general and how to look on other people’s blogs. I hope that that people who read my blog just understood what my thoughts were and where I was coming from. I hope they were easy to read and I hope they were somewhat interesting. I am just proud in general that I learned how to blog. I am proud that I started incorporating different words or word phrases into my writing when it was not the easiest thing to do. I do not think that I will keep blogging on a general basis however I am not going to delete it. I don’t want to delete because maybe one day I might just want to write and express what I am feeling. I hope my readers continue blogging and I hope my blogs were some help to you if you were reading the same books that we talked about. I wish everyone the best of luck in the future in the blog world!

HW 34 Evening tea and Palm trees in the life of Riverbend

Evening tea in Iraq is very important. No matter what everyone is doing and how busy they are they always get together in the evening to wait for their tea. It is nothing like sitting down and having some tea in the U.S. Riverbend explains that tea in Iraq is not just placing a tea bag in hot water; you actually go through the process of making the tea. She states “First, is kettle of water is put on the burner to boil. Next, the boiling water and a certain amount of tealeaves are combined in a separate teapot and put on a low burner just until the tealeaves rise to the top and threaten to “boil over”. Finally the teapot is set on top of the tea kettle on a low burner and allowed to “yihder” or settle” (pg 108-109, Riverbend). She then describes how the tea is “flowered” with cardamom and served in istikans which are glasses in the figure of an 8. They usually have a light snack with the tea for example something like bread and cheese. One thing similarity from Iraqi evening tea to US evening tea is that they sit and make conversation. The conversation in Iraq usually consists of kidnapping, abductions and things going on in the war. Riverbend states how the topic of choice today was on the Turkish troops. I have never heard of date palms until reading Riverbend. Date palms in Iraq are useful for so many different types of reasons. There are over 300 different kinds of date palms. Date palms are used as one of the main sources of sugar in Iraq. Riverbend explains how people use dates for all different types of things like vinegar or “khal” and date syrup that you can eat with either rice or bread and butter. There is even a purpose for the low-quality dates which are used as animal food for sheep and cows. Riverbend states “My favorite use for date pits is . . . beads”(pg 104, Riverbend).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Challenges at a Girls School in Baghdad HW 32

The title of the episode was called Challenges at a Girls School in Baghdad and it was a post in the series of Alive in Baghdad. The post was created on May 5, 2007. A link to this video pod cast is This video is about the problem with these young girls trying to get and education. In the podcast many young girl students are interviewed along with the teacher and the director of the school. The director of the school is Jinan Jamal Mahmoud. In the video she is seen sitting on a stool by a plain white wall. She is wearing a red and white shirt and a white Vail to cover her hair and neck. Her face is round and pale with red lip stick and eye shadow on. She talks about how she is worried about these children loosing and missing out on their chance to get an education. She talks about the teachers at the school and how they all have a whole range of experience. The school looks really run down and dirty. The white walls are cracked and there is little sun shinning through the window. The children are sitting by wooden desks and there is a black board for the teacher to write out notes on. From watching this video a viewer would learn how hard it is for these young girls from Baghdad to get an education. I hope that a viewer would watch this video and be thankful for the kind of education they are getting and the life that they are being able to live. This is different than any other news cast or video I have watched from Baghdad because it was so real. I felt like I was almost there giving the interview. I also have not seen this topic really mentioned or I have not heard of much concern about these schools in Baghdad. The most interesting part of this video to me was watching these children respond to the interviewer. I thought they were so mature and brave. One girl stated that she did not fear at all. Other children just answered the questions without even thinking as if it was no big deal. One student stated how she didn’t have difficulties getting to school, but when the interviewer asked if there were accidents she said yes, all the time. It seems to me these children are getting so accustomed to this way of life. I just think that it is so depressing and horrible and I could not imagine being in their shoes.

Riverbend's shops for school supplies HW 32

In this blog Riverbend talks about how in general this academic year is going to be different. She starts off by telling us about how she goes on a school shopping trip with her cousin, cousin’s wife and E. They look for school supplies for Riverbend’s cousin’s children. She describes the color erasers and whinnie the pooh and Barbie notebooks they pick out. She states “It felt a bit ridiculous-four grown people all out shopping for Barbie notebooks and strawberry-scented erasers . . . but I knew it was necessary” (Rivebend pg 95). After buying the school supplies they go back home where Riverbend’s parents were watching the kids. She tells us how the older child liked everything but the younger child was mad because she didn’t like whinnie the pooh anymore. The next morning Riverbend’s cousin took the girls to school. There were a lot of people in the school but the classrooms where empty with no furniture the only good thing was the broken windows had been replaced. The teachers had been asked this year to “not teach specific topics in the history and geography books” (Riverbend page 97). Riverbend’s cousin met with the teacher and other fathers to discuss security and that they agreed that their children would bring in small stools to sit on during class. For security they agreed to always have a father outside the school to guard it and they would switch off days. Riverbend described how the way kids used to leave and come to school “They always looked crisp and clean in the morning”(Riverbend page 97) “By 2 o’clock the majority of them are straggling home after school in little groups”(Riverbend page 97. She says how things are going to be different this year. She talks about how her cousin’s wife (S) is going to feel lost without the children while they’re at school. S states “It felt like they took my lungs with them- I couldn’t breathe until they got home” (Riverbend page 97).