Four deer this morning, nibbling leaves outside my fence.

The coyote had slept in too late, and nosed about at nine, two hours after the rabbits had gamboled about the yard with the quail.  (He had probably been picking off someone else’s rabbits at seven.)

A friend of mine, over today, noted that the bird singing its heart out in my tree was a cardinal.  I had thought that it was a pyrrhuloxia because it had brown on its wings, but I looked it up in my bird book, and pyrrhuloxias have lots less red.  So the birds nesting in my acacia are beautiful red cardinals.  I’ve changed the incorrect reference in this blog:


To continue to receive unemployment compensation (which, BTW, they have now asked me to repay for the last month, as I was not looking for any job, minimum wage included, not applying for five a week) I had started the process to renew my teaching certificate.

As part of that, I enrolled in the mandatory SEI (Structured English Immersion) class, and have been busting my butt trying to complete a semester class in a month and a half online.

The latest assignment was to interview two students, one in the US for over three years, the other in our country for under two years, to compare their language acquisition.

Ms. G, the ELL (English Language Learner) teacher at the school where I tutor for Reading Seed, chose two of her best students (no doubt to reflect upon her excellent skills).

K nearly broke my heart.  This absolutely gorgeous nine-year-old immigrated with his mother and baby sister four years ago from war-ravaged Sudan after two of his sisters had died in a house on fire.  His oldest brother and his wife had gone to Australia with his grandfather, but the other boys were left in Sudan with their father.  He has not seen his father in four years but speaks with him occasionally on the phone in their native Dinka language.

139 die in southern Sudan tribal clashes

Thursday 7 January 2010  News of Nuer attack on Dinka follows aid groups’ call for urgent diplomatic effort to stave off humanitarian disaster

At least 139 people have been killed in the latest outburst of tribal violence that is threatening the stability of southern Sudan.

Armed Nuer men attacked Dinka herders on Saturday in Tonj, one of the most remote parts of the autonomous south, stealing 5,000 cattle.

“They killed 139 people and wounded 54. Nobody knows how many attackers were killed. But it may be many as a lot of people came to fight,” Sabino Makana, the deputy governor of Warrap state, told Reuters.

Different ethnic groups in the region have long clashed in cattle raids and disputes over land. Since 2008 the tribal violence has proved especially deadly, with 2,500 people killed and 350,000 forced from their homes.

And although my recent readings were about survivors from different African wars, in Burundi and Sierra Leone, this put a face on the killings.

Strength in What Remains is an unlikely story about an unreasonable man. Deo was a young medical student who fled the genocidal civil war in Burundi in 1994 for the uncertainty of New York City. Against absurd odds–he arrived with little money and less English and slept in Central Park while delivering groceries for starvation wages–his own ambition and a few kind New Yorkers led him to Columbia University and, beyond that, to medical school and American citizenship. That his rise followed a familiar immigrant’s path to success doesn’t make it any less remarkable, but what gives Deo’s story its particular power is that becoming an American citizen did not erase his connection to Burundi, in either his memory or his dreams for the future… Tracy Kidder follows Deo back to Burundi, where he recalls the horrors of his narrow escape from the war and begins to build a medical clinic where none had been before. Deo’s terrible journey makes his story a hard one to tell; his tirelessly hopeful but clear-eyed efforts make it a gripping and inspiring one to read.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah …terrible atrocities that some descriptions in the book are hard to read. These heinous scourges occurred in the Sierra Leone region during the 1980s by rebel troops and Army Troops during that country’s Civil War.

K spoke of going to kindergarten in Tucson knowing no English, not understanding that the other children wanted to be his friends.  He now speaks excellent English, with no accent (which means a slightly Western accent).   He also highly praised Ms. G.  What a diplomat!  You’d think that he was running for President, except that he wasn’t born in the US.  (But we know that the CIA could come up with some birth documents…)

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