Changing the World, One Slow Walk at a Time
I’m not giving English lessons. I guess I could teach, but I might not like it much, and I would probably become impatient fairly quickly. However, I’d rather let teachers teach and I’ll add what I can to fill in.
One of the opportunities for filling in is with random members of the community. As Americans generally stick out here, wearing non-black clothing, generally looking happier than the majority of the population, and fumbling around with bad language skills, it’s not hard for people to find us. One of the pieces of information supplied during our training was that we shouldn’t necessarily have to worry too much about finding things to do. Instead, those things to do would find us. And most of the time it comes in the form of English lessons.
The most blatant example is what I have going on now, with a guy here in Lənkəran named Fərid (like Farid). He found me through Jaclyn’s host sister. Apparently he’s going to England in August, Inshallah, and he wants to work on his English before he leaves. Unfortunately I can’t supply the British accent to help him out. He has relatives living there and plans to stay in England to live and work. He’s getting out of Azerbaijan.
So what can we do to help him out? Fərid actually knows quite a bit of English already, and his working vocabulary is good. What he really needs is to expand his vocabulary by practicing and boost his confidence by speaking more. Eli and I have started meeting with him every other day or so to have him take us around Lənkəran, tell us about the city here as we walk around or run errands or discuss projects. It’s sort of like an on-the-move English-speaking club. This way we all get something out of it. Fərid gets practice and can improve his confidence speaking English, and we can get things done around town, getting to know more and more about Lənkəran. He’s shown us some neat places along the sea where we can comfortably drink tea while overlooking the Caspian. Also, we can help start to cut out the pieces of English that they teach poorly here, which I mentioned in this post below.