I had a great opportunity to go into the local community and speak to the local population. Some of the locals are involved in English Language classes and we get to visit their facilities and speak English with them to give them a chance to practice. We don’t get to teach, just chat. So below is a recount of my experience:
We met on camp with a group of about 15 folks who had volunteered to take part in our English Discussion Group. We took a bus into town to the school. I was amazed at the facilities. I have seen barns and stables in better shape than what these folks were using as a school. Their were no windows or doors and the ground was covered with rubble and was uneven dirt between classrooms. It wasn’t a single structure, but a collection of multiple buildings in a small area scrapped together with whatever wood they could gather to build with. The desks and benches were all built from scrap wood and looked as though they were going to collapse under the weight of the students. I wish I could have taken pictures so I could better share this with you all. I might be able to take some later.
Despite these conditions, the students spoke very good English and the teacher was very positive and prodded many of the students to participate. The students ranged in age from 10 to 25 years old. Our job was to come up with topics for the students to discuss and then sit back and chat. The way we did it was to let them pick two topics and then we would suggest something as well. It was funny because the men wanted to discuss the American election and the women chose “how do you know someone loves you?” We recommended the topic “What would you do if you were president?” I found it interesting that they were basically concerned with the same issues we are when it comes to politics. They all said that if they were president they would improve education above all and then find ways to create jobs for their people. There is a 60+% unemployment rate here. What I nearly laughed about was that they all loved Obama and like him as president “because he was from Kenya.” If they only knew the level of debates that went on over his citizenship. The discussion of love also drew similar responses as you would expect anywhere I suppose. You would never want to be away from the person you loved and you thought about them all the time and you couldn’t eat or sleep because all you wanted to do was be with your love. The men avoided this topic. What I also found interesting was that the women talked more than the men did. Toward the end everyone had spoke on the topics and they asked us to speak on the topics as well. So we shared our thoughts.
It was a great experience being close to the people of the country I am in. They seemed very appreciative of our presence and were truly interested in who we are and like to talk about their home as well. I plan on going out several more times as work permits.