I have been terrible about posting the latest about our vocational training school here. Lots of exciting happenings. Here is a quick run-down….Building continues but we are mostly functional now (except bathrooms which has been an issue on a few occasions:)). Currently our team leader and the workers are tiling the office and reception area and working tirelessly to finish all the construction by January. A container full of many tools for the auto workshop portion of the school along with some other things for the office, etc just arrived this past week (pics to come as it was quite chaotic:). It is amazing to see the progress though. Remember when it was just this? Or our ground breaking ceremony? Or even this? God is good and has continued to provide everything we need in His timing to complete the work. We are looking forward to a Big “official grand opening” sometime in January. So……book those flights now!! 🙂 Karibuni!!
Jason in what will be the reception area soon…
Jason finished his first round of teaching Basic Computer Applications with his first 10 students. Many of them even passed his pretty tough exam (I know it was tough because I took it and got a “D” :). He also gave out “chetis” or certificates for those that completed the class and also ones for those that passed the exam. Everyone was pumped! People are highly motivated by certificates (I even evented our own version for shule kids that can count and say their ABC’s- Big hit- like HUGE!!)
After teaching computers and discovering the desperate need for a typing class and intro to what is what on a computer (because really how helpful is Microsoft Access when typing one paragraph takes 20 minutes?) My ingenious husband also created a typing course utilizing some software we already had. Since the keyboard was so foreign he decided to require a 2 week typing class as a pre-req for the computer class just to familiarize them with the keyboard and computer. He says the students remind him of me they way the hunt and peck 🙂 Maybe I’ll take his class too! Although his nickname is now Mwalimu Mkali (the fierce teacher) after his strict rules about being late had everyone a bit fearful. But, hey, it is working as the first class everyone was always late and now his students are lined up outside waiting until the lab opens fearful of Mwalimu Mkali’s swift retribution! They say it is good for their maendeleo (progress) so there seems to be no complaints only eager students. He is realizing just how tough teaching can be though (something which has helped loads in his appreciation for me teaching for all these years):)
students in typing class taking the test- notice the little wood cover for the keyboard Jason built to test the students and make sure they are not looking! Told ya…Mkali!
Notice the student completely covered with hood. Yeah, the A/C is just too unbearably cold hahaha!
Anni visits J’s class…..and one student in the background is using a typing game don’t worry he is still on task…. Mwalimu Mkali lays the smack-down on any fujo!
I have started up conversation hour again that is free to anyone and open to all ability levels who want to come and practice English with a native speaker. I am also currently doing interviews for our first basic English course that will begin soon. Doing the interviews has been a bit trying at times since I want to meet with everyone that dropped off an application even though I will only take 15 students. They really do not understand this class size since the government schools here often have 50 or more students. I try respectfully to say that for me this would be too much for me to really teach each student well and also try to gently suggest that maybe that is why many have difficulties learning is such a big class. Interviews and teaching is difficult for me as everything is in Kiswahili since we are starting with basic English but it is a good motivator to kick my language up a notch. We really want to be able to help people that have had little or no opportunity to learn English and desire to do so but for me this means lots of Kiswahili practice. Everyone has been very kind and I always start by saying I am a student of their language as well so please forgive my mistakes which seems to endear me to them and overshadow my numerous errors:)
For both computers and English we also have locals who have shown interest in learning how to teach (even though we are both still learning). They will hopefully eventually be taking over the classes or starting their own classes elsewhere so we both will have Waswahili co-teachers/helpers for these classes. This is really an answer to prayer as we have always wanted to empower them with the skills and tools they want to be able to help their people. It has just worked out amazingly! We are praying these classes are a blessing to the people here and that as we plan, prepare, and teach we are able to communicate clearly and help with real needs here. It is amazing to see a vision that started to form in our minds and hearts over 8 years ago really become a reality! We are thankful…and BUSY!
For more about our NGO check out the website.
*the sign on the school’s gate…I had to point out they spelled “Opening” “Openig” (as you can tell by the smudge-paint-over-the-opps) and don’t ask me why the hours are listed this way? somethings I will just never get…