Here's what I wrote in my journal returning back to Tulegit after our long weekend in Moga:
"This morning was pretty typical- I peeled and diced veggies. Barkaka did dishes and I tried to teach him some English. Then I had the idea of actually putting some time/effort into teaching English. Asked Gwen and she said it’s a need so I started making some basic materials/learning sheets (Colors, numbers, alphabet, body parts, etc.) I’m really excited about this project, feel like I can make more of an impact and offer some real skills!"
Barkaka is a 12-year-old Suri boy who does the dishes at Gwen's house every morning. I started speaking some English with him and then it turned into more of a tutoring relationship. The next day after I made these materials- 3 more boys showed up wanting English lessons.
|Bar Kaka is one cool kid- I miss him!|
|Practice identifying and writing the names of colors!|
|Bar Tu (14), Bar Kaka (12) and David (9)|
|These are some of the materials I made that can be copied for the students at school.|
|I spent a lot of time drawing animals for vocabulary sheets!|
|Bar Tu, Bar Didi (22), Bar Kaka, and Bar Sera (11).|
The other challenging part was the different abilities of the students. David (the 9-year-old) was quite good at English, while one teenager I had (not pictured) couldn't even say the alphabet. I had to be creative in group lessons so each boy got something out of it. I would often ask simpler questions to the beginners (What color is the grass?) and more complicated ones to the advanced students (Name an animal that runs fast and spell the name of the animal).
I like to think that worked well. At the very least, I know that the boys had a lot of fun and they were able to take some study materials home with them!
I have to hand it to them, though. English is TOUGH. and incredibly different from their native language. I asked Bar Modo to teach me a couple of Suri words (red and blue) and I SUCKED. It took me like four times just to pronounce it correctly and then I would forget it 2 minutes later.
Another fun thing I did in Suri-land was make injera! David's mom has a little bakery of sorts in the village and she let me help her (well, I wasn't really helpful but she let me experiment) cook the injera!
|Kite (keetay) made me tilla! it's made from corn, water and flour. kind of like polenta.|
Ok, so my description probably wasn't great but hopefully you understand what I'm getting at: there's always a tradeoff, there's more than meets the eye. Sometimes ideas sound really great as ideas and then it gets a little messy when you actually implement them. I think that's part of what I learned on this trip. We as outsiders may think that we have the answers to all of the problems, but often those "answers" have to be tweaked and modified and adopted by the people we're trying to reach. Example: You can give a woman a tractor to work her land, but if she doesn't know how to maintain it or repair it, or if she doesn't WANT to know those things, it will probably just create more stress for her. That's why we have to be careful in our "service efforts" that we are actually TEACHING people things that they WANT to learn and that will WORK for them.
Thanks for reading part 2 of my Ethiopian Adventure! More to come soon!