They Want to Learn English from Me & I Want to Improve my French! (PLUS Video of an angry Beninese Grasscutter, Photo of Rabbits, & a Photo of a 13 Year Old Burt Dubin Classified Ad!)

This is not the main update on my adventures in Benin Republic. It’s just a preview – especially because of an exciting development that’s occurred. Apart from the news, and stories, I’ve included (1) a photo of a Burt Dubin Classified Advert from 13 Years Ago! (2) few pictures of me with people out here and (3) photos of some big-boy rabbits, and an interesting video of a VERY angry grasscutter that I “chatted” with at an exhibition stand in the FACULTIE DES SCIENCES AGRONOMIQUES on the campus of the Universite D’Abomey-Calavi. LOL!

Creating French Versions of My Software & Information Products

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Above: Photo of me with a staff of the Agronomy faculty, in charge of the aquarium stand. I’ll be publishing a separate post on how they reacted when I told them I build and sell Self-Cleaning Natural Aquariums which need no artificial oxygenation.

My interactions with owners of small businesses out here have been interesting. On demonstrating the use of my nifty little Income/Expense Manager to the owner of a multipurpose business centre, he immediately asked if I customize it in French for use in his business.

I told him that was possible, but that I would need to work with a competent bilingual expert to do the needed translation of the messages and instructions in the different interfaces of the application.

For instance, I’m currently looking to complete the translation of my 45 page management research paper titled “Self-Development as a Tool for Achieving Career Advancement (A Practical Guide Based on Experience).

I delivered my first paid talk based on it to managers/directors at the Centre for Management Development. Later I developed a one hour talk based on the management paper, which I delivered in different organisations. It’s titled “Ten Ways You Can Use Self-Development to Become a High Flyer at Work“.

The success I recorded with that talk led me to publish my 113 page Self-Development Bible ™ – which has been on sale at www.lulu.com/sdaproducts since 2005.

I added that I’d anticipated this, not just for my spreadsheet software development service, but also for my information products, and learning events (talks, speeches). However, it’s been hard to find someone with the right mix of skills.

My New Cameroonian Friend is a Lawyer/Language (English/French) Translation Expert

One person I have found to be potentially suitable is a Cameroonian barrister at law who has settled in Benin. Apart from visiting courts, he doubles as the academic head of the English speaking arm of a large institution affiliated to an international educational outfit.

He told me he translated ALL the course materials currently being used by the English speaking students (mostly from Nigeria, some from Ghana) from French to English. And he still has more to do. This makes him fairly busy.

I’m not sure how we’ll make it happen, so I’m looking for alternatives, just in case things don’t work out. That’s held me back quite a bit. My French is not good enough to do a proper translation. The guys I have as friends who can speak some English are not proficient either.

We’ll see how things go this week.

Help, Everyone One Wants a Piece of Me! (Not What You Think Though…LOL)

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Above: At last I’ve found Rabbits in Benin! I was told by a senior faculty staff that the ones shown here are actually highly virile imported pure breeds that they intend to cross with local breeds. I’ll tell you this: from what I saw in an elderly lady’s backyard rabbitry, they already have hybrids being used by locals that are quite big compared to any I’ve seen back in Nigeria.

On a different note, I’ve gained an interesting insight into how to capture the active attention and interest of working adults, experts, professionals and career persons out here.

There’s a serious drive amongst the above mentioned group, to learn to speak English. Many professionals enroll at the language institute (CEBELAE – acronym pronounced “saybaylayay”) for short courses.

I’ve been there myself, as I had to drop off a proposal to the director, and I witnessed an oral practical language session taking place. The institute teaches foreign languages to interested persons who enrol.

However, for those who learn English, it appears the absence of an English speaking environment, makes them emerge unable to speak coherently/fluently.

This is similar to the experience I had after my 3 month intensive French course. That was why I and my Cameroonian teacher/friend (Valentine) decided I needed to travel to Cameroon, where I would be forced to speak French more often.

But not all of these guys have the time, money – and I would say, most importantly the courage (!) – To travel to Nigeria to stay a few weeks just to improve their spoken English.

This probably explains why I keep getting approached in cafes, on the campus etc – especially when it happens that I speak English (probably in receiving a call from Nigeria, or chatting with someone who speak English here).

One example: The operator of a cyber cafe I often use here in Calavi insisted on taking my phone number on the very first day we met. This was just after we’d spoken in my shaky French, and he learnt I could speak English.

He said he needed to learn English and that I could help him. I told him I needed to speak more French to improve as well!

We eventually arrived at a compromise: to speak each language to each other on alternate days. Yesterday it was my turn, so I got him to respond to me in English till I left. Today he’ll be grilling me in French :-)

When a Medical Doctor Came Asking…That Got Me Thinking – Hard….!

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Above: A picture of staff at the exhibition stand.

Just as I was leaving the cafe yesterday, a well dressed gentleman who had apparently heard me coaching the café operator to speak English approached me.

Speaking English in a manner similar to that in which I speak French, he told me was a medical doctor. He’d taken English classes at CEBELAE, but due to work pressure had be unable to make the most of the opportunity.

To use his exact words:

“I will be very happy if we can become friends, and speak English together.”

We both laughed as I told him I would also want us to speak French. Exchanging call cards, we parted…but I got thinking there was an opportunity knocking in form of these encounters.

I realized that these people strongly desired something I had, and took for granted. For me – and you I’m sure – being able to speak English is no big deal. It’s the same for them with French. But out here, my ability is considered of greater value, and they want it.

It eventually struck me that I had to find a way to use this “need” they had to launch my public speaking events out here. By so doing, I would be able to promote relevant products and services to them while adding tangible value to them. If nothing else, I’d earn significant name recognition in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

My target audience are Beninese and Benin based experts and professionals who want to learn English and those who already speak, but who want to get better.

Suddenly, I Discover How I Can Give Them What They Want & Help Myself at the Same Time

This morning, something pushed me to spend an hour in the library here to do some thinking.

By 11 a.m when I left the place for my first meeting, I’d had an epiphany of massive proportions!

Based on that “revelation” I’ve now resolved to use my friendship with a TV show host I met here in my first week, and his newspaper colleagues, to promote a series of learning events. I’m convinced many career persons and professionals out here WILL jump at it.

I can’t give details now. But I can tell this will work. I start preparing the relevant write-ups from tonight. My goal is to finish and have my stuff ready latest by Monday.

Video of a VERY Angry Grasscutter

This is already too long, but I felt you might like the entertainment – there’s more where this came from. For now, just listen to/watch this short clip of a grasscutter placed at the Agronomy Faculty exhibition today. You don’t want to run into this guy in an alley – and you certainly do NOT want to poke a finger into that cage – he’s very different from his docile Rabbit relatives…LOL!

I’ll be publishing a follow up to this preview later this week.

Memories: Photo of a Burt Dubin Classifed Advert from 13 Years Ago!

Below is a picture of a printed page from an edition of Michael Angier‘s Success Digest newsletter which I received via email in 2000 – while still in Guinness.

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Burt Dubin will recognise the classified ad at the bottom of that page.

I mentioned Michael and his newsletter in my Self-Development Bible. Without Michael’s newsletter I doubt I would ever have discovered Burt Dubin – and I would not be promoting his speaker mentoring products and services to experts across Africa today.

Download this flyer as PDF: http://tayosolagbade.com/uploads/burt_new_flyer.pdf

Burt Dubin now offers his speaker mentoring service to experts based in Africa. Click now to download this flyer as PDF


[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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