Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Today is one month since I moved to site! It had a very slow start but thing are starting to come along.
Since I got here I’ve been having meetings with my three counterparts to discuss what they need help with and setting goals for the upcoming school year.
At the high school they are pretty much giving me the freedom to do whatever I want which is both exciting and stressful. I have tons of ideas for projects I’d like to do with the students but after two meetings with the youth I realized it’s going to take a lot of work. They weren’t as enthusiastic as I hoped they would be and it was a struggle getting them to contribute their thoughts and opinions. When I arranged the meetings I had hoped to have the students take over and create plans based on their suggestions but that did not happen, I ended up talking more than I wanted to. The goal is to create young leaders and help the youth learn to take initiative. We’ll keep working on that…
At the elementary school I will be working on promoting literacy and helping children with learning disabilities. I have already started working with groups of children from each class. The other day was a bit saddening when I realized a lot of these children are far behind on their writing and reading comprehension level. I even had students as old as 12 and 13 who have no idea how to read and write. It was heartbreaking. :(
I began the art classes as soon as I got to site. I have two classes for ages 7-12, and one on Saturday afternoons for children ages 3-6. Next week, I will start evening classes for an older age group 13-18. The classes have been fun but sometimes hectic. The children can get a bit out of control at times and I have to get in to strict teacher mode (which I hate). For the most part though, the children always come eager to learn. This year the director wants me to focus specifically on North American artists to expose the children to different styles of art and encourage them to think outside the box. One of the first artists I taught them about was Jackson Pollock, which so far has been their favorite. Oh they loved getting to splatter paint around!
Life at home is fun. My host brother is a total character and my host mom is very sweet and nurturing and loves to give good advice. She is also teaching me how to cook which has been hilarious. She playfully pokes fun at my lack of cooking schools and says it’s essential I learn for when I get married (a constant topic of discussion). “Ay no, Michelle! Y cuando te cases?? No es posible!” (Oh no, Michelle! What about when you get married? It’s not possible!”) LOL. Thanks, Reina!
Finally, living in a small town of only 3,000 people has it’s positives and negatives. It can get lonely at times and there is nothing to do on off times! When I say nothing, I mean NOTHING. There are no little restaurants, no cafes, no parks, not even any one around my age to hang with...
I jumped for joy when one of the teachers from the elmentary school invited me to a fair in a neighboring town last night. I couldn’t wait to get out! It ended up being a lot of fun and I ran in to another volunteer there and we got to hang out for a bit.
The positives of living in a small, quiet town is it’s been great for relaxing on off times and clearing my mind. Outside my room is a terrace with an amazing view, where I set up a hammock. I’ve been able to read, write, draw, and meditate in complete peace.
It’s also been nice walking around town and getting greeted everywhere I go. I especially love when the kids in town yell my name whenever they see me and run up to me to give me hugs. They are the cutest little things. : )
One of the kids in town, Alejandro, always asks to help me when he sees me carrying things back from the market or work. The other day I got back to town late, after a day of running errands in the capital. It had gotten dark and I was worried about walking home. As the bus approached the stop in the middle of town I saw Alejandro there, smiling and waving at me. As I got off the bus, he yelled “Hi teacher! Reina told me you would be getting back late so I waited here for you so that you wouldn’t have to walk alone in the dark!” Aww, my heart melted!
So, that’s been my life for this month. There’s also a lot coming up which I am so excited about! Next week, I get to celebrate Halloween on an island. ;)
Hasta la proxima!