Day 2 of training and we’re plugging away. We’re down to four students and they’re very interested and are picking things up quickly. That’s good on so many levels, but makes teaching harder on others. We’re used to teaching people that can’t grasp the concept of bacteria and that sand can make clean water which inevitably leads to lots of questions. We’re also used to bigger classes which means more people to organized and work with. These guys are leaving us empty handed for material. Chris handed things off to me a day early because he finished 4 hours of teaching in two. And he wasn’t feeling so hot and wanted to lay down.
I let Chris take care of all of the technical stuff and I deal with the project planning stuff. In past classes I’ve spent most of the class just trying to have people understand things like answering the question in their group and then sharing their group answer with the class. The Haitian education system closely resembles brainwashing where people are taught just to repeat. No problem solving, no reasoning, no imagination, no having to think for yourself. We have two Americans in the class and today I was made really aware of the differences in how I was taught to learn and what happens here. I very much take for granted the fact that from birth I was taught to think for myself, to problem solve, reason and use my imagination. Some of that was intentional and some of it was just picked up from the world around me because everyone else had the same life skills. I like to shake things up a bit and have our students do things like discuss goals and draw a picture of their community so they can start thinking about the things there that will benefit their project. These are all very foreign concepts. So much so that the picture of one of the communities look amazingly identical to the example I drew of Pierre Payen… Tomorrow we start talking about budgeting and doing cost breakdowns to figure out the cost of one filter. Again, learned life skills in my culture, but it turns into the hardest exercise of the whole week here. Invisible bacteria living in sand actually filter out the bad bacteria in the water – sure. Figuring out that it costs about $5 Haitian for the sand to make one filter – unheard of!
I’m still nursing my cold. When everyone was off doing the practical work in the yard with Jean this afternoon Chris and I self medicated with 4 hours in bed and 5 episodes of 24. It took me a while to realize that one of the benefits of being married is having someone to be sick with, or to look after you when you’re sick. Chris, on the other hand, figured it out pretty early on. When we’re sick at the same time it comes down to whoever can whine the most.