The first day of teacher training went better than I expected. At first I was concerned about language potentially being a barrier or forgetting my own training but it was an extremely successful and amusing day. My partner Jenai and I were paired together to be leaders for a group of about 20 teachers. After arriving at Urukindo Learning Center the AFP Group introduced ourselves to the group of teachers who would be our "students" during the story based learning training all weekend. Seeing all of their welcoming faces made me both excited and nervous for the training day ahead. After all of the countless Skype conversations with AFP and finally meeting up as a group when we all arrived to Rwanda together the time to teach had arrived. Our group of teachers worked very hard at understanding the key principles of story based learning while also having fun through learning the games that we taught them. Right as the teachers were getting comfortable with the material and finalizing new classroom or “village rules” we headed to lunch.
For our lunch break we ate traditional Rwandan food which consumed of potatoes, beans, plantains, beef skewers, and fruit for dessert. Something unexpected that made my day was getting engaged in a competitive game of volleyball with some of the teachers. I haven’t played since recovering from my knee injury but I had an incredible time engaging and bonding over sports since we were able to discover activities that we had in common.
One of the biggest lessons I learned that day was that...
Language doesn’t have to be a barrier.
Most of the teachers did not speak fluent English but I found that using body movements and a good attitude accompanied by a smile went a long way.
About the Author
Hi my name is Monique Newman and I am a junior pursuing a degree in Sociology at Pepperdine University. In my free time I enjoy spending most of it outdoors engaging in various hiking activities with friends, playing basketball or spending all day at the beach. The first time I heard of the Anne Frank Project was through a leadership conference that I attended while studying abroad in Switzerland during my second year of college. My desire to see the world, diving into new experiences and serving diverse communities is what made me want to embark on this new journey to Rwanda with SUNY Buffalo State College. One of the most important aspects about this trip is going in with an open mind and being willing to empathize. I believe this is essential in order to hear and be present while learning about people’s individual stories and life lessons as well as understanding the beauty of cultures that are different from my own.