"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..."