Mike Marzio has been on my list of potential interviewees for a long time because of his innovative Real English video materials. But the reason that I finally got round to interviewing him for the Absolutely Intercultural podcast is that he has a personal project for which he needs to raise €30,000 to cover the tuition, living expenses and other expenses such as travel to and from Gallaudet University in Washington for a deaf man in Kenya. Zachariah Ngechu became deaf at the age of seven and has been accepted to study English at Gallaudet which is a specialist university exclusively for deaf people. Zacharaiah’s ambition once he graduates is to open a school for deaf people back in Kenya.
I was interested to find out what has prompted Mike to put in this extraordinary amount of effort on behalf of a person who he still hasn’t met and who first contacted Mike only in April through a comment on Mike’s blog.
The show turned into a Mike Marzio special as I took the opportunity to talk to him about his Real English video lessons which are freely available on the Internet and also about his work as a civil rights worker in the US southern states in the sixties. This was an opportunity to explore the issue of whether the past is another country because on his visits to the area now Mike thinks that values there have fundamentally changed in relation to attitudes to black people.