I don't seem to be able to stay away! For the past couple of months I have been working on plans to return to Waku Kungo, Angola. If we are able to get visas (by no means a sure thing), my daughter, Muriel (age 17), and I will travel to Waku Kungo to lead a four week intensive English course.
This will be a very different trip than I have had in the past. My previous two trips were official "delegation" visits from the Illinois Conference to I.E.C.A. This time I have the support and blessing of the Angola Partnership Team of the Illinois Conference, but it is more properly called a "project" visit than a delegation visit. I hope that by going on this type of trip, especially for a full month, I can develop the kind of experience and relationships that will allow others from the Illinois Conference to visit for specific projects in the future. While going to Angola is probably an "extreme mission trip," the need for various skilled services is great, especially in education and health care, and it would wonderful to further the possibility of such trips in the future.
This will also be a different type of trip because we plan on staying for four weeks, and will be staying in one place. I hope we are able to get to know people better than I have in the past. Our lack of ability in Portuguese will be a limitation, but we will both work on learning a little before we go, and some of the students there speak a little English, so we will manage.
Living in Waku Kungo for a month will present certain challenges, that's for sure. Staying healthy will be a top priority. Yes, we will have to have bottled water the whole time, and take lots of peanut butter with us! There is minimal health care available in Waku Kungo, but we will have a car with us the whole time, and should anything serious arise, we will be about five hours away from Luanda and quality health care.
As for the intensive English class, we have had discussions with the Director of Education for I.E.C.A., Felisberta Cassinda, and Julio Ulundo, the Pastor in Waku Kungo. They have spoken with the head of the school. The current plan is for us to teach two groups of 20 children (40 total), ages 12-16, with a couple of adults thrown in. We will work with each group for 2-3 hours a day. We will focus on spoken English skills. Of course, it would be better if we could speak Portuguese, but we can accomplish a lot by combining visuals and spoken English (in the style of Rosetta Stone). We will have to take a lot of materials with us, and go on "field trips" around town to learn vocabulary. Education in Angola is quite traditional (i.e. teacher at front of room imparting information, not much creativity), so it will be interesting to see how it goes. We plan on doing some sort of "before and after" assessment, in case a similar course is possible in the future.
Well, more as it develops. And here's hoping we get visas!
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