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Friday, March 6, 2009

Little Bear

I am currently working in Muenala (when ala). I have been there for 3 weeks now and it has been amazing. I am working with a great bunch of people, Aaron from Colorado (the broncos fan), Katherine from Chicago and Zoe from London (sorry no photo). We have made a good team together and we all bring different strengths to the school.

Everyday we all board a bus around 7am and drive about 45 minutes up into the Andes. Once we reach the point where vehciles can no longer travel we get out and hike the remaining 30 minutes. The walk is a great way to wake up and it is truly some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever scene. My office is a couple mountains, rolling hills and a volcano or two. Not bad, I guess.

We have 35 kids in our school (from eleven families) ranging from grade 1 to grade 7. We, GVI, just began supporting this community when I arrived three weeks ago and it was exciting to meet with the community and the teacher beforehand to determine our role and establish what our goals will be here. The school is government funded ( I use the word funded loosely) and has one teacher, Fanny, to teach all seven grades. Before our arrival her tasks were simply to lesson plan for seven grades, teach each grade their lesson and make sure all the kids in the school are receiving the attention they need to ensure they are being successfrul at school. So she didn't have much to do... With us there now, Fanny now focuses on grades 6 and 7 as myself and the other volunteers do our best to take care of grades 1 through 5.

The kids have been awesome and the entire communtiy has been very accepting of myself and the other volunteers. On our walk to the school if we pass someone from the community, they come shake our hands and tell us that they are at our service and then thank us for helping their children. It is very humbling and I still haven't figured out how to respond to someone when they say they are at my service. In the best spanish I can muster I always say "your welcome" and then thank them for letting me be a part of their communtiy. It is very cool to know that I am part of the new foundation that is being put in place in Muenala.

As an intern I don´t have my own class to teach. I make sure the volunteers have everything they need, ensure the food program is running and that we have enough food, make sure there are enough supplies at the school, help the volunteers lesson plan and float from class to class to assist the volunteers with their classes. I enjoy the extra workload and it makes the days fly by. There are 2 buildings in Meunala, one class for grades 3, 5, 6 and 7 and the second one for grades 1 and 4 (Currently no one in grade 2). We also have a couple of cows and a horse (not to mention a ton of crap...) in the school yard. You know, your typical elementary playground.

As with Guatemala, the kids are easily the best part of this program. All the kids in this school are very affectionate, have tons of energy and are very well behaved. They are always eager to tell you about their family and always asking questions about mine. Recess is more of the same with wrestling, dog piles and royal rumbles but I have added skipping with the girls, an intense form of gymnastics which involves a "spring board and a landing pad" and ball tag into my daily routine. Again, we have only been here for three weeks but I already know that it is going to be tough to leave here.

I wish I could describe the setting of where the school is because it is truly amazing (I put up some pictures but they won't do it justice.) A couple of times a week we take the kids for a hike so they can show us where they live and show us the beauty of their country. The kids enjoy this (mostly because they get out of class) and are very proud to show us where they live. Just yesterday we took the kids for a hike and just sat on the side of a mountain, talked and looked out at the valleys, mountains, river and rolling hills. I could have stayed there all day.

The best part of my day is the walk home and not because it is the end of the day but because on the walk home I get to hang out with Raimy. Raimy is a young boy from the school who is seven years old and about 2 and a half feet tall. Everyday I throw Raimy on my shoulders and we walk and talk (in spanish) all the way back to his house. He tells me about his family (3 of his siblings are in the school) and about his dads work. We talk about me being a firefighter and how that is what he is going to do when he grows up. He asks questions about Nicole and doesn't understand why we don't have any kids yet. Simply put, it is a great way to end a day. I know they say you shouldn't have favorites but this kid is my favorite. Besides the fact that he tells me that I am his best friend everyday or that he is stupid cute, the kid is gritty. Raimy reminds me of Rudy. He is 2 foot nothing, weighs about 35 pounds (seriously 35 pounds) and is half the size of most of the kids in the school but someone forgot to tell him. We have nicknamed him "Poco Oso" which I believe means little bear. Mi gusto mucho Poco Oso.

1 comment:

  1. The "Little Bears" make teaching worth it! Keep him close to your heart!
    PS nice hair Farn! Lookin' good! :)