In a poorly lit dining room in a big orange house in a
middle class suburb of Sangolqui, Ecuador, seven American twenty-somethings sit
in silence typing away frantically at seven illuminated Mac Book
keyboards. This can only mean one
thing—classes at the Manna Project International Bibiloteca have finally
commenced. Surrounded by stacks
and stacks of binders, books and teaching aids—the legacies passed down from
our predecessors, the residents of the Manna house studiously press on through
the misty jungle of lesson planning, a first for nearly everyone, as we prepare
for our second week of classes.
Saturday evening was met with a sigh of relief after the
first week of classes concluded, seemingly hitch-less. Art class, all English level classes
for both children and adults, as well as cooking and adult nutrition have now
joined the ranks with our exercise classes as well as our small business
development and preventative health programs which are already in full-swing.
In a diagnostic test given in Profe
Abby’s class, an adult English student responded to the question “Where do you
live?” with “I am play soccer.”
While probably true, a decidedly incorrect response.
All students have been very eager and willing to learn, though. Having been inundated with
inscriptions for English classes, and having three more PDs than last year, we
found ourselves in a perfect storm of opportunity and were able to add another
basic level adult English class, accommodating twenty more students who
otherwise would have been wait-listed.
Our focus, however, has not strayed from our many other
obligations here in Ecuador.
small business development team is making inroads into involving our loan
recipients in Jatampungo with our friends from De la Mata a la Olla
as a possible
new market for their organic produce.
The Preventative Health team soldiers on with their weekly diabetes
club, continuing to find new and creative ways of teaching about living a healthy
lifestyle with diabetes.
in charge of children’s nutrition are also finding new honey pots in which to
stick their pedagogical hands into, starting up classes again in Chaupitena
soon and hopefully as well at a new location in Fajardo. In other exciting
news, Abby and Tari will kick off our group’s first live radio show this Friday.
The topic will be Manna’s sponsorship of the acoustic concert Abby and Tari are
organizing for Playing for Change, a global event where musicians broadcast
their performances in the name of social change.