Friday, May 05, 2006

Hey hey, been awhile. I’ve been pretty busy up in site since Chicago. Throughout my service I’ve been working with a group called EDUCATODOS. They’re the ones that provide the books and materials for my classes (the kids pay for the books and CDs and EDUCATODOS delivers them, usually). The EDUCATODOS program is centered on teaching using audio materials, last year cassette tapes, this year MP3s. The cassettes never worked, our tape player is garbage and the kids don’t like them anyways. So we just worked out of the books. Well this year we have a new promoter and the system isn’t good enough. She wanted us to teach only using MP3s (a fairly new digital format). So basically the kids have to come up with enough money to buy a CD player that supports the MP3 format, not something that is easy to come by in the “3rd” world and if you do they are incredibly expensive. So I went to Chicago and with the help of my parents found and purchased one, carried it up to site, and gave it to the class. The bad thing about it is that the mp3 player pretty much fazes me out as a teacher. It also didn’t do anything to change the fact that the kids still don’t like learning from a CD player.
So right now I sneak in lessons when nobody’s looking. It made me feel awesome when the kids asked me to teach, when they told me they’d rather listen to me than the cheesy “learning is fun” songs put out by the program (some of my students are in their twenties). So as with everything there is a compromise. I’m finding balance in my service. I will not be there merely to press play and change the CD when needed. It isn’t cool that I have to sneak around, but hey what can you do? I’m also still working with a coffee cooperative. It is such a slow process and it is extremely unlikely that I’ll see any closure by the end of my service. But it is amazing that these guys are pretty much doing it on their own. I’m just there for support, helping out where I can. The cooperative is much more sustainable if it doesn’t require outside input. I’ll fill you guys in on this as we go along. I hope to see as many of you northerners soon, I’m heading to the homeland in about a month. Until then peace, Joe.


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