It's like Soylent Green here...

If you've ever seen the final segment of the movie, when the man lies dying, looking at pictures of flowers that once were- this was taken just outside our school, and bears a striking resemblance.

It's been a hard week. The students have been taught some pretty off stuff scientifically, and they have learned to parrot it back, and refused to accept anything else. So they are arguing that science deals only with opinions, and that a theory is just a belief, and we can't be sure of anything science states, but scientific statements are on the same level as other thoughts people have. Theories are not as good as facts, or laws, they were taught. And they are back to believing hypothesis are "educated guesses". And I am incredibly frustrated, as I have taught them the truth in the past, but it seems that I have very little effect here. And that's despressing. Feels like being consumed to no effect.

My four students in the Honors Marine Biology class at least still know the difference between a hypothesis and a theory. So that class has been nice. We're about to start some shark dissections. They're amazingly cheap here. Got a 100 cm dogfish sharks for 20 dirhams, and 3 70 cm catfish sharks for 10 dirhams apiece. (9:1 exchange rate) So far we've been observing the outsides, and enjoying the fine smells wafting through the classroom. Though I've been applying some of the shark oils behind my ears, for some reason other teachers and students walking by our windows have not been enjoying it as much. Interesting thing I didn't know- if you squeeze the ampullae of lorenzini, through which the sharks detect electrical currents, you get a pink or clear fluid coming out. It's best to do this when the shark is dead.

Other biological notes- the plumeria tree, which I brought back from my AP training in Hawaii this summer was planted in a pot in my classroom. It says you have to wait a year before you see leaves, and another year before you see flowers. I wasn't sure if it would work or not. But this week, the first monocot leaves came out! Very exciting. They're right at the tip of the shoot. Hopefully 15 years from now, when classes come back for their reunions, they can be greeted with leis from the planted shoot.

And I found a caterpillar stuck to my door the other day. I put him in the birdcage, and saw him not after that. But then a few days later, cleaning out the bird cage, I found him again, albeit transformed. When you pick him up, his rear end still wiggles in protest.

Why so much life out here? You have to see the area we go to school in.

A far cry from the neighborhood I live in. I am a wald bilad, a child of the country, definitely. But I enjoy the more intense Arabic life of the area of town I live in as well. And the excellent shawerma they have- the best in the entire city, imho. A couple days ago I went to the

shawerma restaurant, and helped one of the shawerma guys translate the words in English on his shirt. Piracy is a crime, and is killing music. (Extreme irony in a place where you can buy for a dollar any movie that was just released in American theatres.) They were also asking if I was going to become a Muslim. I told them No, always Raja, always Jesus. They wanted to know why I preferred Jesus. So I told them, because I enjoy our conversations. They wanted to know why I didn't talk with Mohammed. I told them I can't. Mohammed (pbuh) had some good ideas, but he's dead. Jesus was dead for a day and a half, and is still alive.

Hopefully my next report will be from Rome. Spring Break and all. I went to Portugal for 'Eid al Kbir, and Yemen for Christmas. So I thought I'd do something that makes a little more sense. Got a very sweet price on tickets to Rome for Spring Break. See the Eternal City. (3800 dirhams) See the Vatican during Easter. (20 Euro) Say hello to the Pope, insha'allah. (10 Euro) See three countries I've never seen before, and therefore get more points (njar) from God- with the Serene Republic of San Marino. (30 Euro) Stop by on the way and see my favorite saint, he whom my commune was based on, St. Francis of Assisi. (30 Euro)

Find a place to stay in Rome during Easter week. (Priceless)


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