Thursday, May 9, 2013

Computer Classes!

Hey everyone,

So... I haven't really been holding up my end of the blog management. Sorry about that. We've been extremely busy lately launching a bunch of new programs and preparing for the arrival of our summer interns (this Saturday!!).

Anyway, I wanted to share a little bit of my experience launching our new computer classes on Monday! It was definitely an interesting adventure, but worth it in the end :)

Here's the excerpt from my personal blog about the experience.

Even though we've been working on developing a women's cooperative program for a while, the computer class itself had an incredibly quick turn around. Between the time we seriously began meeting with some women’s cooperatives about the program and the actual launch was maybe 2 weeks! Fortunately, I got some good resources from a PD in our Nicaragua site who also leads a computer class. I was able to create a solid syllabus for the class and worked really hard on creating a thorough lesson plan on the very basics of using a computer (such as how to hold a mouse! things I just take for granted!) in those two weeks. Our first class was this Monday. 
I showed up at around 2:20pm to give me time to set up and play with the projector/laptop situation before the women were to arrive at 3:00pm. Early that morning, we had called the leader of one of the groups of women (we are working with 2 groups), and she said all her women were involved in a different workshop so they wouldn’t be able to attend. So I expected a smaller turnout.
However, by 3:15, still no one had showed up. It was almost 4, and I had basically given up on the day. No one was going to show. And you know, that was fine. We did everything we could to promote the class. I know that with the other group of women, they seem rather timid… and they probably were just scared to come to something so new and different. 
But then two women came up to me, recognizing me. I barely recognized one of the women, and I had never met the other. Turns out, she worked for the organization of women who just hadn’t shown up. She apologized, and said they most likely just forgot. She was going to go to the leader’s house to remind her about the classes and see what was going on. We offered to join her, so she could communicate directly with us. 
As we were walking, we saw three other women standing outside where they usually meet. The women from their organization started talking to them, and it turns out they were just confused about where to go! So here were 3 women after all! 
We (Jess and I) offered to go back to the school to begin the class while the other woman offered to go to the leader’s house as planned. As we made our way back to the school, I began to get really nervous - I had already shut down my teaching brain for the day! 
Once we got there, though, the women were absolutely wonderful. They gave me great feedback saying they were really appreciative of us offering the course and they really wanted the opportunity to learn about computers. They seem very invested and very willing to participate, which is great because that’s how I plan on teaching the course.
Truly, it was a really great experience. I was impressed at my ability to communicate in Spanish with these women. Of course, I speak Spanish just about every day, but this is the first time I am leading a program that doesn’t involve any English whatsoever (okay, well, some computer terms are the same in English and Spanish, but that’s not my fault). Regardless, I was really able to see how my Spanish has improved since being here. And that was very gratifying.
More importantly, though, I am so excited to be able to lead a program in an area for which I am passionate. I came down here with the goal of starting something in either business development or women’s empowerment… and I think this is kind of both :) While I’m not directly helping a business, I am teaching these women skills that might help them look for a job and/or be more marketable when looking for a job. Of course, simply in teaching them a new skill, I am giving them the opportunity to increase their confidence, helping them see that they still can learn even if they are busy being mothers and wives. I am really looking forward to actually having two classes this coming Monday and watching them as they learn over the course of my 12 week class. :)


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