I spent last Saturday with the English Club. We walked the mountain of Macolline together, talked about plant and tree species, saw lots of wild life and ate fruit right off the trees.
The guides (also my students) did the tour in English. This group is so motivated and dynamic, I am beginning to see improvement in almost everyone.
They even speak English amongst themselves for practice. I have been teaching these young adults since October. The classes take place in the evenings, in the commune of Antalaha at a room in Town Hall that the mayor offered us at no cost. The number of students vary due to availability but most classes I have anywhere from 18 to 25 students. There is only one dull light in the room (when the electricity works) and it is hot and stuffy. The chalk board is low to the ground so I have to squat to write some of the time and the eraser is a sponge (the same sponge that is used to make mattresses here) so I inevitably end up getting chalk all over me. All this said, I really enjoy working with this bunch. They are enthusiastic and love participating. As time has gone by, even the shy ones have opened up. I often hang out with them outside of class as some have become good friends. Most of them I know from last year and those are some of the people that I came back here for. I can recall thinking after my two months here in 2013 “I have to come back and continue what I started, it feels unfinished”. Now, I feel like I could never really be “finished” as there is so much to do. Less than 4 months left to make an impact and then, well, only time will tell…
Last weekend the local Boy Scouts from the Catholic Church spent the morning at Macolline. Another group of awesome kids!
They took notes, asked great questions and are very interested in learning about the preservation of their land. All in all, Macolline is a success when it comes to being an open book education project, all in a forest! As time goes by, locals are becoming more and more involved with the park. As soon as we have enough funds raised, we will start to engage more students!