Friday, November 14, 2008


November 12, 2008

I mentioned a couple entries ago that I wanted to start up a club in high schools that would follow the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I thought I’d give you an update on where I am with this project to date.

So far I’ve started two clubs. One is in Bare and is in collaboration with Tara. The other is here in Nkongsamba. They were both launched the same week by making an announcement in the classrooms of students in the second cycle – the equivalent of sophomores, juniors and seniors. We gave a very brief description of the objectives of the club and told motivated and interested students to meet us after school. The description was that it was called club Success, that we were going to talk about what it meant to succeed, and how that related to ourselves and our relationships with others. We also mentioned that there would be homework each week to better process what we had talked about. And just like that, it worked! Motivated, intelligent students showed up – not too many, but not too few.

We called it a club because it’s after school and it’s voluntary, but it’s actually more like a class with a lot of participation and discussion. Unlike other clubs, we don’t meet on Wednesdays, there’s no president or secretary, and there’s no fee to join. And, of course, there’s homework. Each student has a notebook in which they can take notes and do their homework – essentially a journal entry about what we talked about and how it relates to their life. The notebooks are probably my favorite part. I get to take them home over the weekend, read them, and give my own feedback. I end up having a bunch of private conversations about the lives of Cameroonian high school students and the problems that they face. When I’m writing in their notebooks I feel the highest sense of purpose since coming to Cameroon (that doesn’t mean to stop sending books☺).

So far we’ve had four classes and we haven’t even gotten to the 1st habit. We’ve been talking a lot about principles and paradigms still following the introduction of the book. But moving slow doesn’t mean we’re not accomplishing a lot. In fact, because it’s going so well, I’m planning on starting up a couple more clubs in Nkongsamba while it’s still somewhat early in the school year. It’s something I really look forward to every week.


No comments: