Last week I started my open community classes. I have been working on getting these started for some time but it finally came together.
I had hoped to be starting as soon as I got back from Vila the last time. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen for multiple reasons. Finally making the announcement at church seems to have been the key. After figuring out who to talk to, I was all set to announce and then two people died. This meant staying in the village. Even the announcement itself happened in a very Vanuatu way. When I got to church I thought I was going to go up and toktok smol. Instead, my principal came over to me partway through church and informed me that they would just say that I would talk about it after church. Okay, roll with it as usual. After the service, I talked about the class (when, how much, only 6 computers, etc.) and then my principal repeated it in language and talked small about the internet coming.
Fast forward to Wednesday. Of the 12 or so I could take at one time, I had 8 people show up. This is pretty decent for a society in which being the first to do something is not “cool.” There was even an oldfala in the group. He needed a bit of extra help but fortunately Gaea was there to work with him.
Some previous Peace Corps volunteers found a decent pair of programs for teaching mouse and keyboard use. These programs allow me to get the group started and have some guided practice as I go around giving individual, specific help. The best part of these programs is that they work in multiple languages and are very easily to extend to any new ones. Those other volunteers have already done the legwork of translating most of them into Bislama. These make my life much easier. I found out halfway through one class that the Bislama translation switched to French in the middle. I’m working on fixing that.
I believe the class went well. Everyone seemed to be excited about getting a chance to use the computers and a lot of people have told me they enjoyed it or want to come to the next one.