Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Today, I went to the Mayor’s house for lunch. We were joined by workers who were installing natural gas lines for his house.

As we were finishing up, one of the workers asked me a question. He asked me how many buildings there are in Africa? I looked to him and told him that I’m not sure, but I’m guessing tens of thousands.

At first he didn’t want to believe me and then the Mayor and I went on to say that Africa is not just jungles, but a very developed society with over 50 countries.

I then asked him how many building there are in Yerevan? He said there were many. The Mayor said that he can multiply that by thousands.

The Mayor asked his mother to bring out this encyclopedia, where he found Africa and read to us what was written.

The whole thing was kind of cute and when I told the Mayor’s nephew tonight what had happened, he said that he learned about Africa when he was 10 years old and added that it worries him that this guy is installing gas pipes.

Today I also had a chance to get on Karabagh chat on the Mayor’s nephew’s computer to join in and talk English with some 19 year olds in Stepanagert. I was using the nephew’s nick name while doing this. The 19 year olds were very impressed with the 15-year-old nephew’s English and wanted to know where I learned such good English? The nephew told me to tell them by watching CNN, BBC and MTV. Very impressive and I was impressed to see the Mayor’s daughter and Nephew reading and understanding what I was writing in English. The conversation ended on a little bit of a sour note, when I suggested to some guy with the nick “president” that he tell his teacher who is teaching him English to put a television set in their class to watch CNN. He lashed back to me and said that we should not watch American television. I told him that he would not fear America, but learn about them so later we are not enslaved by them. He became a bit hostel with me and then our connection got cut. By the time we got back on, he had just signed off.

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