Local News

Carrboro Cook Serves Up Free Spanish Lessons

Posted January 9, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— Want to learn a new language without going back to a traditional classroom? In Carrboro, you can get a lesson or two while getting a bite to eat.

On any given night, the kitchen atEl Chilangois always busy. On Tuesdays, cook Ranulfo Franco works double time.

Franco does not just dish out tasty meals -- he also serves up Spanish lessons right at the table.

"I want to help these American people who want to learn Spanish," he says.

There are no textbooks here. Instead, there is a mix of people, quesadillas and margaritas.

"It goes well. We have a meal, and we become friends over the months. It's very enjoyable," says student Tom Spector.

The atmosphere is relaxed and the conversation is casual.

"It's great to be able to speak Spanish to people, not just in the classroom, but in the community," says student Caitlin Metzguer.

When Franco began teaching the classes in April, he only had one student. These days, he has as many as 35 students in a class.

"A lot of them want to talk to Spanish people. They are very interested in learning Spanish, and this is the reason I want to teach the language," says Franco.

Franco says the only requirements are having a good sense of humor and a desire to learn.

"It's fantastic, and I'm really moved that someone would want to volunteer their time to help the community out in this way," says student Wendi Schwab.

Ranulfo Franco looks at the lessons as a way to give back to the community that has helped him out.

El Chilango is located on Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro. The classes are free and Franco offers a class for beginners on Sundays.