It’s a little nerve-racking to teach your first English Club solo. Savanna will be out of town for three weeks this next month, for her COS conference, then a small vacation, and finally Training of Trainers. (Incoming Stage, I can’t wait for you to meet her, she is awesome!) I have only been at site for a little under one month, and I should really be solely focusing on my language skills since I’m mbola tsy mahay teny Malagasy tsara (still not great at speaking Malagasy well), but I don’t want English Club to stop because she will be out of town. So as a test run, I ran English Club today. In reality, very little Malagasy is needed, since after all, it’s called English Club. And these kids are really mazoto and want to learn English. We’ve been teaching them body parts and I finished the lesson today, adding in shapes too. Teaching English here is essentially making a fool of yourself, calling attention to how stupid you can be so that the kids are entertained and can remember the words. So if that means, I have to jump up and down while pointing to different parts of my body and asking what it is, then so be it. The entire class, I kept looking at Savanna mouthing “am I doing okay?”. She kept nodding her head, ‘yes, keep going’ but I couldn’t help but picture myself as one of the students watching their teacher look like an idiot in front of the class.
I will say though, it was very rewarding to finish a class and feel like I have completed something already during my service. When we first got to this country, my friend’s recruiter sent her a supporting email. I can’t remember the exact wording, but the concept is the same: “Don’t think of your experience as a success or failure based off of the complete end result. But rather look at all of the small successes and think of your Peace Corps experience as an imaginary necklace. All your successes, even the smallest of ones, string a bead onto your necklace and be amazed by how long it gets.”
So my necklace, it is just started, and yet so long. I think of each day I am here as a success, regardless of if I had something to do or not. Those are the smaller beads, and my actual accomplishments you can say, are the bigger ones in between. Arriving in country and actually disembarking the plane—while that may seem really stupid—was the first big bead on my necklace. Teaching my host family how to play Go Fish the second day in country…in Malagasy, surviving—because there is no other word to describe it—Homestay, Manjakadirina IGA project, Small Business Evaluation project, and the Feasability Study presentation are all beads on my necklace. Successfully hand-washing and drying my clothing for the first time, learning how to play Hearts and have all those years of not understanding the game finally make sense, swearing in as a volunteer, arriving at site and not having a mental breakdown, actually leaving my house the day after being installed even though I was scared shitless, holding my first twenty minute conversation in my village without Savanna translating, biking the 30k to Fianar, taking a taxi brousse home by myself for the first time, teaching my first keyboarding class, teaching my first English Club class, purchasing food at the market and not getting ripped off for being a vazaha, asking for directions and they actually understand me, the list is endless. Today marks the end of my third month in country, and it’s surprising how much I have learned about this country, culture, language, and about myself.
Family and friends, thank you for your support. For your phone calls, facebook chats, emails, words of encouragement. For the screen shots of the latest gossip news, like Justin Bieber potentially facing charges for assaulting a paparazzi, and for funny pinterest pictures that make me laugh out loud. I can’t wait to continue sharing my experience with you, and hope it brings a smile to your face whenever you read my posts.
Until next time, xoxo Gossip Girl (I really can’t help but end my post with this, dang you GG addiction and thank you Savanna for introducing me to this show…sarcasm intended)
PS. Did you know that even after three months in country, I still have not mastered the skill of cleaning my floor with a coconut? Yes you read that right, and I’m still an idiot every time I try to brush the dirt off the ground.