In a poorly lit dining room in a big orange house in a middle class suburb of Sangolqui, Ecuador, seven American twenty-somethings sit in silence typing away frantically at seven illuminated Mac Book keyboards. This can only mean one thing—classes at the Manna Project International Bibiloteca have finally commenced. Surrounded by stacks and stacks of binders, books and teaching aids—the legacies passed down from our predecessors, the residents of the Manna house studiously press on through the misty jungle of lesson planning, a first for nearly everyone, as we prepare for our second week of classes.
Saturday evening was met with a sigh of relief after the first week of classes concluded, seemingly hitch-less. Art class, all English level classes for both children and adults, as well as cooking and adult nutrition have now joined the ranks with our exercise classes as well as our small business development and preventative health programs which are already in full-swing.
In a diagnostic test given in Profe Abby’s class, an adult English student responded to the question “Where do you live?” with “I am play soccer.” While probably true, a decidedly incorrect response.
All students have been very eager and willing to learn, though. Having been inundated with inscriptions for English classes, and having three more PDs than last year, we found ourselves in a perfect storm of opportunity and were able to add another basic level adult English class, accommodating twenty more students who otherwise would have been wait-listed.
Our focus, however, has not strayed from our many other obligations here in Ecuador. The small business development team is making inroads into involving our loan recipients in Jatampungo with our friends from De la Mata a la Olla as a possible new market for their organic produce. The Preventative Health team soldiers on with their weekly diabetes club, continuing to find new and creative ways of teaching about living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes. The PDs in charge of children’s nutrition are also finding new honey pots in which to stick their pedagogical hands into, starting up classes again in Chaupitena soon and hopefully as well at a new location in Fajardo. In other exciting news, Abby and Tari will kick off our group’s first live radio show this Friday. The topic will be Manna’s sponsorship of the acoustic concert Abby and Tari are organizing for Playing for Change, a global event where musicians broadcast their performances in the name of social change.