When you think of an “intern” you rarely think of someone who has been working in their field of expertise for over 10 years, but with Cat Weaver, that’s what we got. A teacher for more than 10 years, Cat decided to spend her summer as a myLIFEspeaks intern…and this is her story of how her English classes in Neply have started.
Having an opportunity to learn and teaching people that they have the ability to be more and learn more is an amazing gift. This summer I have been given the opportunity to be a teacher in a small village in Haiti…Neply. The people of the village of Neply are hungry for a chance to learn. I began teaching an English class on June 11th. The first day I taught one class for two hours in the morning to twenty-four students. The next day apparently word got out, and we had people showing up in droves to take the class. My class of twenty-four from the day before was now a class of thirty-five, and they just kept coming. Peter, the assistant community involvement director of myLIFEspeaks, and I made a spilt second decision to begin writing names down. We decided we would have an impromptu afternoon class for 35 more students. Tuesday afternoon not only did those thirty-five students show up, but we had to begin a waiting list. Throughout the day on Tuesday, the waiting list continued to grow. As I type this blog entry, the spiral notebook sitting under my computer has a waiting list of more than a hundred people who want the opportunity to take English classes this summer. The absolute coolest thing to me about this educational program that is the newest endeavor of the myLIFEspeaks organization is the fact that education and knowledge are such an empowering and strengthening things! The focus of myLIFEspeaks is strengthening the family, and education of all kinds is just one more important facet of that focus. Knowledge gives people choices. Knowledge brings freedom of the mind. Some of the things that stick out to me the most three days into my classes are the enthusiastic faces I see at the beginning of each class, the words of thanks at the end of each class that demonstrate such gratitude, the efforts to write everything down in a notebook to make sure it is there to study later, and most of all the self-worth I can see growing behind the eyes of my students with each new concept they are able to grasp. Trust me with most of my students we are starting with the basics, but like the old saying goes, “You have to start somewhere!” I do have other students who spent time learning English from our community involvement director, Leslie Watson, when she first moved to Neply in June of 2011. I can’t wait to work more with this small group of students. They have already made great strides because of the efforts of Leslie and their own hard work so many months ago. I have already seen God blow my expectations out of the water with this whole thing. Honestly, when Missy and I first talked after I arrived in Haiti on June 4th, we were discussing fifteen-thirty students total for the summer, not the possibility of more than a 180 being willing to take English classes. I have been blessed with the ability teach. I have used those skills well and made good use of them with American high school students for the past eleven years, but it is so cool to finally put those talents that He has blessed me with completely in hands and then stand back and watch Him work as only he can through all of this. I am trusting Him with all of this. As I sit and type right now, I’ll admit, I’m a little overwhelmed with the numbers and the scheduling and the curriculum (or should I say the lack thereof that I am creating as I go) and the possibilities, but He is able and He is good. I’m using my voice, letting my LIFE speak while I teach others to let their LIVES speak at the same time! Please stay tuned for more amazing updates coming to you from the English classes in Neply this summer. I know He is going to continue to blow our minds! –Cat Weaver, summer intern 2012