Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
As each team was announced, they paraded around the courtyard with homemade banners and lots of energy. After the parade, a couple of the seniors did a lap with a light torch, Olympics-style, to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. There was a homecoming queen-esque competition for the girls, all of whom were dressed in their best dresses and heels, looking older than me (although let's be honest, it isn't all that hard). All and all, it was great to spend some time with Christian outside of the teen center, witness so much school spirit, and be offered chevichochos at 9a.m. about six different times by a guy wearing an "I spent a night in Paris, ask me about it" shirt.
Other exciting weekend highlights include:
- Spending some quality time with Seth who's been visiting Quito/Guayaquil for the past couple weeks = coaxing him into cooking for us and playing a couple rousing rounds of catchphrase in the dark during one of our blackouts.
- Two epic scoreless soccer games from both the girls and guys soccer leagues.
- Watching Sarah creep around the house/apartment/library/soccer fields with the video camera gathering footage for the Manna Reunion in Nicaragua next week (don't fret readers, you get to see the video too!)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
"...We had to act out the four different teaching styles in Spanish the first day (Erik and I actually did the best out of everyone, but we failed that exercise as a class pretty hard). The second day began with an 80 question oral quiz to determine what learning style we had (I’m Teórico Reflexivo, Erik is the complete opposite. This was so not-surprising it was funny). On Wednesday Erik and I had to teach a 1.5 hour exercise about business organization to a class of college students. On Friday we had to analyze a small factory and recommend efficiency upgrades. My plan beat Erik’s by a country mile (this is a sore subject with him; if he brings it up simply ask him why he created such terrible indoor plumbing problems). We were expected to give full feedback after every exercise (retroalimentación, one of my new favorite Spanish words). In short, the amount of Spanish the class demanded was challenging and tiring. I know a lot more Spanish now.
But was the class worth it? I certainly think so (did I mention my diploma?). But it brings some tangible benefits to our microfinance program. Erik and I have the basic outline to teach a 40 hour course. We are currently working on preparing a complete manual (in both English and Spanish) so PDs in the future who want to offer small business courses do not have to go through the same certification. Being able to offer the class by ourselves allows us to teach at a more accessible schedule for the community; perhaps every Saturday for two months rather than every “morning” for two weeks (which is hard to do if you are employed). Personally, my Spanish is better and I am more confident using it. If I can bumble through teaching a class to college kids I can totally bumble through a conversation with some parents at the library. Also, more trivial tasks seem less menacing to me now. To put it simply, we have the skills and information to teach an entire class that was not possible to teach before.
And our journey still isn’t done. Erik and I now have what I am referring to as “Continuing Education.” At the end of the course, one of the things our instructors stressed was getting more practice with the teaching techniques, more practice leading the class, and more projects to try. We have already been to one class and will hopefully go to one a week until at least Snowflake break.
And that’s the haps with team Microfinance.
Song of the Blog: “Jefe” by Daddy Yankee"
Thanks Chet for filling us in! Stay tuned for a more eh, regular blogging session this week (we promise, especially since we're all heading to various countries next week for dia de gracias... more on that later...)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"It has been a while since I last checked in. Too much has gone on in the interval to fully describe, but there is one recent occurrence that sticks out when I think about everything I want to write about (other than my current attempt to grow a mustache). Erik and I (team Microfinance) are now CERTIFIED to TRAIN small business class INSTRUCTORS here in Ecuador.
Sounds pretty cool right? Well it is; I have my certificate/diploma/licensure propped up on my bookshelf. “But what is this certification? Where did it come from? Why was it more than a waste of time? Do you have any good stories from the class?”—Those are all good questions imaginary readers, so let me try to fill you in.
This was put on through CIDE (Centro de Innovación y Desarrollo Empreserial), a section of ESPE (Escuela Politécnica del Ejército), our local military polytechnic institute. Dunc and Eliah put on/attended a small business class through them last year, but due to the rather large time commitment this class wasn’t as accessible to the communities we work in as we’d like them to be. Erik and I underwent this training to become capable to teach these very same courses on our own in the community. After much discussion all around, we decided on the certification to train instructors rather than simply attending the basic small business class and taking good notes in order to seem more qualified to put on a class in the community (and also to get a better handle on the information). As an important side note, we were able to pay the fees for this class with some of the funds I have raised over my initial obligation; so thanks donors, for helping bring small business classes to Rumiloma and the surrounding area.
This class had its fair share of difficulties getting off the ground. We initially met with CIDE to talk about this in July. We were told to check back September first. After several more meetings about what course we wanted to take, costs, and students, we set a date for the second week of October. This fell through. We set a new date for the last week of October. We got final confirmation and a large supply list Friday morning before class was to begin the following Monday, which made for a busy weekend.
This class was tough, readers. The material was straightforward, but getting through the class was quite difficult. It was a 25-hour certification over the course of the week: we had class from 8am-1pm Monday-Friday. We then had to roll straight on into programs at the library (which got sequentially harder as the days went on) making for 12-hour work days (which was a "good" experience). We had to be out the door around 7:15 to complete our mile walk to the puente, fight the morning commuters on the bus, and be sitting in front of our classroom by 8am. The class was also completely taught in Spanish (Surprise!). This wasn't exactly to punish us, in fact, most of my notes are in Spanish, which is helpful, but it was certainly challenging. This course was designed for people with or actively seeking college degrees, and with only 5 people in the class total, a lot was expected of Erik and I participation-wise..."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thankfully we had plenty of time to catch up on our lost sleep, as we spent the majority of our three days laying on the beach, napping in exquisitely-placed hammocks, eating lots of seafood, frequenting the Magnum ice cream bar shops (try 2-3 times per day...), and drinking as much ice cold Fanta as physically possible.
We headed back to Quito late Tuesday night and arrived home at about 7am on Wednesday... with plenty of time for naps and showers before opening the library and teaching English class that afternoon. :) Oh the joys of overnight buses... but definitely vale la pena.
Shawn loves them, too!
The beach in Canoa
More of Canoa's beach... and some of the little tienda huts that line the main road
Dinnertime at a local pizza place
The other half of the table
The beach at sunset