A Free Can
A Free Can
North Africa is mainly comprised of the sterility of the Sahara desert, 9, 200, 000 km2 (3, 600, 000 m2), apart from the fertile coastal regions of Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania (see fig. 1), which is where Libya’s cities, such as the capital Tripoli; Sirte, Tripolitania district, and the nearby town of Ar’s Anuf’s ARSCO gas generating power station, are. Often murderously hot, average 38-40° C, the cloudless Sahara, but with nighttime temperatures freezing, is 4, 800 km (3, 000 m) in length, and 1, 800 km (1, 100 m) deep into the heart of the African continent, encompassing large parts of Chad, Mali, and Niger, which incidentally, above it on the continental map, isn’t Nigeria. The view of the warm, deep, coastline of the blue sea is captivating, even in the winter months, and even warmer in the summer, although journeying on foot to the souk from the Excelsior motel (see fig. 2), chosen by the English language teaching purveyor, SQIRAL, for a 3 dinar self-paid box of staples (500 dinar = 100 euros), and a 30 dinar sheaf of A4 copy paper (500 sheets), as stapling together photocopied test papers was a large part of the daily routine, and sometimes stapes or sheaves weren’t brought in; or take his browned underwear there for washing, was a chore barely ameliorated by the local laundry’s amenability in agreeing to collect the soiled items on certain evenings, as they were invariably returned at midnight the following day, so the teacher, bedraggled by the day’s incitements, had to waddle in their thob, worn in lieu of righteously eschewed sensible pajamas, to recover everything. Including the apparently obligatory odd grey sock, which was never yorn, in the earliest hours of the morning, conveniently imaginable to the delivery van, so as not to arrive at the training center later (but not by over much) that morning in that old green T-shirt, with a collar that did with a tie; if all else failed.
Fig. 1 North Africa
Criticized for wearing that same old black suit, after his other green suit was mislaid in January 2015 by Turkish Airlines, subsequent to their failing to put a ticket on the luggage, as it sailed off on the conveyor belt at check-in at the city of Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia, before it’d finally arrived weeks later at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport, Ferihegy, Hungary, only to be snaffled by local yokels (jó, kell), and having purchased a suit mail order from the US, which’d arrived much too large, it was up to the Hungarian tailors to periodically avow their inability, or capacity, to alter to fit; thereby maintaining their sartorial critique upon his elegance.
Eloquence unfuddled, however, with six weeks on, and four more weeks, but paid off, and six weeks on again, between February and June, 2023, and three square meals a day at the cafeteria, there was only the local bussing about to be negotiated, after the madness at Turkey’s Istanbul Airport, Amavutköy, with the stumbling about with the trousers foolishly around the ankles there, as the decision to be obliged to have you relinquish your belt, and your shoes, , had long since passed, before the plane to Libya. Following the back-breaking cross nation bus ride from Mitiga International Airport, Tripoli, 7 hours non-stop (a few hours more in a sandstorm, and if you want to eat at a diner and take a pee), and 653. 4 km there and back (x4 per contract), that is, 2, 613. 6 km (1, 624 m, or a quarter of the way to Jo’burg, S.A., there was only the daily regional bus rides, and the usual joys of training the trainees remaining to be diplomatically hurdled, which given the degree of politesse required by North Africans, whose belief it is that everyone else deems them cannibal slavers, or slaves, is well nigh impossible. Aside from looking at the menu and wondering who was on it, as it bubbled and squeaked inside the heavily lidded bacofoil lined urns at mealtimes; knifing it, forking it, and spooning it in, within the time limit set for eating the ample fare (5 min), was a significant task in itself, and worthy of some descriptive script from the scribbler. Breakfast was fairly simple, apart from the cornflakes, which required milk from a churn with a spigot situated alongside the tea and coffee churns, making it difficult to determine where the white stuff would be, although the bowled sugar was a no-brainer with plazzy spoons provided (see fig. 3), and what appeared to be lollipop sticks to remind us it was stir. Usually left to see whether there’d be time, before the tray was abandoned to the kitchen sink personnel, the bowled cornflakes remained provisionally edible, until either milk was obtained, or the chain gang, chin egged, though grateful it wasn’t yet porridge, were called to assembly by their co-ord.
Fig. 2 El Fadeel motel
The plazzy pots of honey and jam could be pocketed, and used instead of scarce sugar, for the coffee and tea at the training center; along with the Neapolitan wafer biscuits, marketed as 'Vienna fingers' by the Manner confectionery company, which only left the triangular foil wrapped cheese slices, and/or the individually wrapped in see-thru plazzy processed cheese slices; eggs to peel to eat with bread rolls, and a plate of tuna and beans, for the gastronome to demolish, before each armed with a free bottle of water to deposit into the kettle, the gang embarked, on the bus that took them jouncing, and flouncing along, after a tanker shown by the sea to the horizon, danke schön, at break back velocity to their inland destination at the learning center for English language training.
Although at end of each six week contract, it was almost impossible to walk, and during, experience had taught the English language purv to obtain the needed vitamins, herbs, fruits, vegetables, and unguents, to maintain the bod’, and ensure the delivery per paid hour of chat abating satisfaction. The task began with relative equanimity; Cambridge’s Preliminary English Test (PET), requiring the inculcation of the four skills; reading, writing, speaking, and listening. There’d be a mock examination at the end of each week; adjusted to the level of capability of the students, with the objective of achieving B1 level of competence, that is, Intermediate, presumably as opposed to ‘long range’, on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), while the teaching staff entered the arena armed only with the textbook, English File, and the knowledge that there’d be one-to-one ‘Speaking’ tests for the students to negotiate, as well as audio sessions in the computer lab, with headsets for them to wear, while completing answer sheets, based on what they heard. For teachers, it’s useful, as students are convinced that the educator is there to correct what they write, and then they’re educated, because that’s how slavers think, so it comes as somewhat of a shock for many of them to discover that the teacher can’t speak and listen for them too, which is 50% of the students’ goal, whereas for the teacher the objective is to politely put the money earned into the bank, before perhaps reading Invitation To A Beheading (1935-6) by Russian-American emigré Vladimir Nabokov, in translation from the original Russian, as it appeared in the magazine, Sovremennye zapiski, Paris, France, leisurely.
Fig. 3 Well used plazzy spoon in Arabic
Bussed back to the cafeteria for a very late lunch at around 2.00 pm, the meal was a free can; Pepsi, Shirley, or Mirinda, etc., rice, meat, beans, spaghetti, savory pastry, bowled soup, bread rolls, and some fruit; banana, orange, apple, etc., as well as a dessert of some shape or form. Then it’s back to the motel with the mandatory bottle of water to prepare for the next morning’s bus to breakfast at 7.00 am, with the option of taking the bus afforded outside the motel at 7.00 pm in the evening for a further meal at the cafeteria, much the same as lunch, and with hopefully an equal emphasis on antiseptic wet wipes sealed in foil, which the cognoscenti use to disinfect their ass, rather than use the water hose to perform their ablutions, as is de rigeur amongst the Moslem nations of Islam, but appears unhygienic to people from the Earth’s Western hemisphere, brought up to prevent AIDS, rather than shrug resignedly, as who wouldn’t with the recommended toilet facilities?
Popular with the other members of the chain gang, because of a functioning stapler, bought in Syria’s city of Deir Ezzor, at or around Christmas, 2002, before the Civil war there (2012-19), with the Independent State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and its putative Caliph of the Islamic State of Islam in the Levant (ISIL), Iraq’s Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, possessing the city from 2014, it was stolen on the last day of the four months, although the scissors bought at the local souk, since the airlines frown on such dangerous items in luggage, didn’t last so long in my possession. My other apparent usefulness consisted in relinquishing an 8GB Sandisk thumb drive for the co-ord to put the mock PET ‘Listening’ exam onto at the end of each week, as an MP3 file to play by remote control at the portable audio console in the fully equipped classroom, with smart board, and overhead projector (OHP), if they’d been on, which they weren’t.
Fig. 4 Who do you suppose these people are trying to annoy?
Otherwise, it was the wipe board and elbow grease allied to a marker pen, and another bored rubber, as is normative in those countries, where access to the word processing facilities of PCs are denied, as if proximity to the internet were a threat to the hub of a national intelligence network’s preoccupations with maintaining its state’s secrecy. Libya, of course, had its own Civil war; Ar’s Anuf captured and recaptured by government and rebel forces throughout 2011, before the deposing of dictator, Col. Gadaffi (d. October 20th, 2011), apparently bayoneted in the ass, as there wasn’t anyone to prolong his misery with AIDS. There in Tripoli, as a teacher with Bell, when the conflict began, the British were ordered to pull out. Upon my return, after the war, a brief spell at Globals, Tripoli, culminated in my being held up at gunpoint, waved away impatiently, after pulling pockets inside out to indicate nothing was wanted between the buttocks.
Fig. 5 Tram stop
Nothing in comparison to Budapest, Hungary, where a knife wielding maniac stabbed through the top of my head, while girlfriend giggled, as the blood fountained up at Csóka utca to splash the painted metal roof of the # 49 yellow and white tram (see fig. 5) on its way from Deák Ferenc tér, where the hub of underground Metros 1, 2, and 3 is located, to a buffered terminus at Kelenföld, Újbuda kerület, that is, New Buda district (Bp. XII), as Buda is at the other side of the Danube river to Pest, where’s located underground, Metro 4, close by the northern railway station, with its regular train to the city of Zagreb, capital of Croatia, itself torn by Civil war (1991-2) with Serbs, subsequent to its declaration of independence from the artificially constructed communist ‘superstate’, Yugoslavia, after World War Two’s (1939-45) defeat of German ambitions of slavery, along with those of the other ‘Axis powers’; Italy, Japan, and Iraq, and its concomitant, Eastern Europe’s occupation by communism, as Russia’s ‘Red Army’ refused to relinquish its hold, after ‘liberating’ German occupied Eastern Europe’s nations en route to capturing Germany’s capital city, Berlin.
Assisting Bosnia against its Serbs in the Bosnian war (1992-5), Croatia facilitated the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 70, 000 Moslem women, incarcerated in ‘rape camps’, built for that purpose, were raped by Serb Christian militia, at Vilina Vlas, for example, 4 km north-east of the town and municipality of Viŝegrad, e.g., in the village of Viŝegradska Banja, resting at the confluence of the Drina and Rzav rivers, and elsewhere, as a part of the anathema known as ‘ethnic cleansing’, before the Republika Sprska, the region where Vilina Vlas was, became an entity of an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Photographs, available through the internet, showing the damage shellfire did to the Excelsior motel, before rebel forces finally captured Ar’s Anuf in September 2011, were a further salutary reminder to the teacher, made complacent by only apparently tight security measures, of safety’s precariousness. Terrorism comes in many guises, and the students used each week’s Speaking test to accuse the teacher of peeking at their penis, which it’s useful for naïve young EFL teachers to know, as it’s a practice widespread amongst slavers, who’re taught castration through vilification, as a matter of course, in the process of ensuring compliance and obedience, especially amongst the Moslems of the nations of Islam, where the teachers are expected to be eunuchs, as they aren’t permitted any active sexual activity, which helps the community to have them serve it.
Fig. 6 Together's discus
Jesus, the founder of Christianity, to take but one example, was killed by the apparent homosexual, Judas, for being with a woman, despite his pleading, ‘Leave her alone.’ (Mk: 14. 6) That Judas’ appeal to the Jewish religious police, the Pharisees, and the Empire of Rome, then occupying Palestine, in the name of their Emperor, Tiberius Caesar Augustus (14-37 C.E.), succeeded in having the teacher executed, should be sufficient to persuade any Christian not to undertake a speaking test in the naïve understanding that you’re at liberty to feel anything at all: ever.
With some variations, Part One of the Speaking test consists of a two minute introductory assessment of the student’s basic identity, for example, ‘What is your name?’ And, ‘Where do you live?’ Obviously the response can be longer, or shorter, depending on the student’s command of English language, but the actual information elicited is rather meager. However, when asked, ‘Are you a student, or do you work?’ the respondent is likely to appear nonplussed and offended at the very idea of being asked to give away state or military secrets likely to threaten the internal security of their nation, which is useful for new teachers to recognize that they’re dealing with psychopathic values inculcated at the level of the local mosque.
When a student invites you for coffee, and you find yourself drinking it from a tray in a corridor outside his apartment, as he doesn’t want you to see his wife, you’ve been wallied in Islam. Take a deep breath, and back away; if you insist on meeting the family of Walid, you’ll find yourself back on the doorstep at some distant point in the future, because the family didn’t want to see you, Wally, the first time they were made to - and you weren’t permitted sex either.
Fig. 7 B1 descriptors
Although the format of the formal Cambridge Speaking examination is to have an interlocutor, and an assessor, who only assesses the paired students being examined, without peeking, it’s common in short-staffed training centers for a teacher to perform both roles, as a forced necessity. Part Two of the peeking test consists of a few themed questions about media, travel, environmental ecology, etc., before Part Three’s comparison of pictures and some questions about them (see fig. 4), which are supplemented by the student’s paired partner asking a question; for example, when the pictures are about entertainment, ‘Do you like concerts?’ Parts Two, Three, and Four, last approximately four minutes each, with Part Four mainly consisting of a topic at the center of a diagram (see fig. 6); for example, learning English language, and the paired students discuss the topic, based on suggestions for the discussion arrayed balloon-like around the central subject inside its own balloon. The test ends with the examiner asking questions related to the theme; other than the rather transparent issue of the penis’ desired functionality.
That’s it for the students, of course, who naturally believe that’s it for the teacher too, who probably has to test 3 classes at 16 pairs of students per class at 14 minutes each each week (4 hours x3, without accounting for time traveling, absences, and unforeseeable delays), and invariably with an odd one out for each group, who has to go it alone, but with help perforce from a volunteer amongst his peers, sitting in as a makeweight, while they each consider themselves the focus of ‘the eyes of Allah’, whereas the Cambridge descriptors then have to be applied by the examiner.
To assess proficiency at A2 level, it’s to be borne in air that, for the military A2s are leather flight jackets, which mnemonic is used as a designator by air force HQ intelligence; for itself and its security staff, whereas US’ A10 ‘pigs’, so-called because of the sharp snorting sound made by their 30 x 173 mm GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon, located at the snout of the aircraft’s fuselage, and deployed most noticeably in the Gulf war (1990-1) to remove from Kuwait WWII Axis power, Iraq, its invasion force dictated by President Saddam Hussein, with slightly different criteria.
While at Cambridge A2 level, Vocabulary and Grammar aren’t conflated, but separate, Discourse Management descriptors are reserved for B2 level (see fig. 7), as Key English Test (KET), is the novice level prior to PET’s B1, ‘BOne’, level competence assessment for those who want to live and work in an English speaking country, or FCE (First Certificate in English) at B2 level, which as it’s also the name of the US’ stealth ‘Spirit’ bomber, and above, seems a lot to struggle with, even without considering ‘Beef if dey does,’ that is The B-52’s, and their contribution to the listening test theme of environmental protection, ‘Love Shack’ (1979), which of course is where it shat:
‘Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you.’1
Awarding 5 marks, or below, for Vocabulary and Grammar (speak slowly and selectively, and use only the words you’re able to), Discourse Management (don’t hog), Pronunciation (articulate like a steel trap), and Interactive Communication (know when to shut it), with an overall application of Global descriptors, amounts to x5 from whatever score the student has amassed out of 20. If the assessor determines the student has 17 marks, for example, the average is 4. 25, which is routinely added (21. 25) to arrive at 25% of the exam total. Although the rubric can be applied more strictly, and training centers do vary in their rigorousness in terms of descriptor application, it’s recommended that teacher and students, when preparing for the KET, PET, or FCE, refer to examples of the Cambridge exam proper, as the relatively unchanging format is an industry standard.
Similarly, as the lyric to heavy rock group Led Zeppelin’s track, ‘In The Evening’, from the album In Through The Out Door (1979), goes, as an’ I grant you, at first seeming non sequitur here, ‘when the day is done’2 the educator ensconced themselves in a comfortably pillowed position at the motel to correct, and/or grade, until 2.00-3.00 am, whatever largely meaningless drivel the students were able to compose on paper for the mock ‘Reading and Writing’ and ‘Listening’ examinations, in the course of their pursuit of adequacy, which required rubrics, a red pen, utilized with swift, implacable, unerring determination and ruthlessness; determining scores, percentages, compiling the statistics, and awarding the laurels to the champions, or belaboring the duffers with the inflated pig’s bladder on a stick; metaphorically, or physically, as the teacher deemed themselves safe enough to think about their own penis, which of course is what the mock combat exercises are designed to prevent, as solid yeah’s: saving each other’s holiness.
Collapsing inexplicably prone onto the floor during an audio practice session, while the students were going through the pockets of an ostensibly dead teacher, perhaps for signs of a medical insurance policy, I awoke, to be informed by the nearest that I’d been shot by another close to him; an idea I belayed by careful examination of the supposed corpse for evident injury, although it’s useful for those new to the profession to be aware that collapsed teachers are more likely to attract pickpockets than First Aid proponents, which incidentally, b’Jove, this teacher felt important enough to add to his CV.
Generally speaking, working at high security installations requires a degree of tolerance not ordinarily available to younger professionals, where workers are expected to at least look and behave as if they’re unfeeling automata to fit in with the requirements of a regimented system; for example if the laundry is taken from the motel, as the facilities are perhaps still kaput from grenade rocketry, before being returned there, after being laundered, walking to the souk to take your clothes to the laundry yourself is probably either a security issue, or a gangster issue, that is, it isn’t advisable. That the room has a view of the sea at the back of the motel, but the lock of the outer door to the veranda is broken, while the inner door can be jury rigged to lock sufficiently to deter the casual browser, has a similar meaning. Cheery bus drivers are ten-a-penny, but not as cheap as a corpse for a pickpocket. That you don’t speak Arabic is no protection against aspersion. Looks, glances, suggestive behavior, things being implied, are lethal weapons used with perfunctory disdain by professional killers, who want the ‘phone in your room, or as little even as the 5GB Libyana ‘phone top up voucher code on your dressing table, which hasn’t yet had the strip scratched off with a pencil to reveal the magic number giving access to the internet, Whatsapp, and email, which are necessary for the uploading, and downloading, of supplementary teaching materials to print at the pig (P@tP) from the stroll in bones’ ‘jumpin’ Jack’ USB flash drives, that is, by means of the bus to the office photocopier; in order properly to complete the tasks of a contractually obligated employee.
1 Pierson, Kate, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, and Cindy Wilson, ‘Love Shack’, The B-52’s, Cosmic Thing, Reprise, 1979.
2 Jones, John Paul, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, ‘In The Evening’, Led Zeppelin, In Through The Out Door, Swan Song, 1979.