Yesterday I traveled down to Namaacha to help with the Training of Trainers they are holding currently for the people who will be working with the new Peace Corps Trainees who arrive next Thursday! Since I have experience teaching math, I was asked to come down and work with the math trainer, who is brand new this year. Math as a division within the education sector was only created last year, when I went through training we only had English, chemistry and biology. There are little to no teaching tools or examples to use with the math trainees, so my job was to help create some of these. Peace Corps uses a teaching methodology called Community Content Based Instruction, which attempts to utilize local materials and concepts and help the students understand how the subject is both related to and necessary for their everyday lives. Needless to say, this is a little difficult to do with some math topics, but we were able to come up with a pretty good list of examples.
Being there and hanging out with all of the trainers was great because it was such a different environment from when I was in training. Partly because I was there to work with them, rather than be their student, and mostly because I can actually speak Portuguese now. A lot of the trainers are new, but some of them have been around for years and remember me as a trainee. My chemistry trainer is still there and as great as ever. He still remembers some of the model lessons and experiments I did during models lessons and told me, “when you came you never spoke at all and I was afraid you wouldn’t last here, but now I can see you are doing so well!” The trainers were practicing giving the lessons they will be giving the trainees in a short time, and during these lessons one trainer (who has been there for years, including my training) got a kick out of doing an impressively realistic impression of an American Peace Corps Trainee, complete with the accent, mannerisms, and all of the strange questions we would ask.
While I was in town I stopped by to visit my host family, of course. I have said this before, but it’s unbelievably better to be back in Namaacha actually being able to speak Portuguese. As one other PCV said during our COS conference, “I feel like I can finally be myself and express my personality in Portuguese.” Baby Anata is still pretty scared of me, but apparently she is shy around all strangers and at least she didn’t cry this time, she just did a fair amount of hiding behind her mom and peeking at me occasionally. She walks and runs now and is saying a few words. And the rest of the family is still great, my brother is excited to start primary school next year. And we are all excited to be such close neighbors next year!