Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Deb in Nigeria

Deb in Nigeria

On March 6, 2012, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , With Comments Off on Deb in Nigeria

This will be a very brief update, because I am absolutely exhausted. I got up at 6, dressed and had breakfast (avoiding the eggs, which they do not refrigerate) and was picked up at 7. It took an hour to get to the training site, where I had to continue with set up.

I am conducting a four day train the trainer program for 15 folks (only 2 women) who conduct training for US AID in Nigeria on access to finance and business management.

As they came into the room, they began to take pictures of the kites, the agenda map, training sayings I’d posted on the wall, and me! They loved the candy and music and moving around for activities. I discovered that they LOVE to debate- which means that a module that is typically 20 minutes is over an hour. We began at 9, had lunch from 1:15 to 2 pm. and didn’t end until 5:45 p.m.- a good 45 minutes over the scheduled ending time. Because I couldn’t get them to stop debating in their small groups. Just one example: it took them over 30 minutes of strenuous arguing just to decide on a title for the training program they were designing! Good grief!

They are all pleasant, bright professional people (all of the men in suits and ties) and are taking the training very seriously. There is a lot of chatter and laughter- and their energy seemed to increase as mine flagged. I still haven’t caught up on my lack of sleep during the flights over.

I’ve already decided to replace some small group work with individual activities, because I absolutely refuse to be on my feet conducting training for 8 hours again tomorrow.

Lunch was not good for me. It was (understandably) native Nigerian food, which meant that it was all too spicy for me- with the exception of some rice and fish. Well, the fish was very spicy but I cut it up and mixed it with the rice, so it was tasty. Unfortunately, it was also full of small bones which were even more difficult to find in the rice… By the time we got back to the hotel after 7 p.m., I was starved.

Although exhausting, it was a very gratifying day to see these folks, all of whom are lecturers, embrace the idea of accelerated learning and participatory learning activities. The evaluations were all very positive, with the only concern being the length of the class today. Two thought it was too long, one didn’t think it was long enough… We’ll discuss this with the group tomorrow, when I lay down some rules.

I really miss the two count down timers I’ve always used on my Power Point. When I upgraded my Mac operating system, it no longer supported whatever system the timers used. I’m going on line before I got to bed (very very soon!) to find even a basic free timer that will work on a Mac. I think projecting the remaining minutes will help keep them on track.

Oh, I didn’t mention that yesterday I changed dollars into naira. Because of the exchange rate, I am now marching around with many thousand naira bills! My salad buffet tonight cost 4600 naira.

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