The school that we are doing our training at went on a 3-4 hour hike yesterday for Arbor Day. It was all uphill and today I am in pain. Yet, it was really fun and it felt great doing exercise. After the event, we, fellow trainees and I, sat down and talked about it. We went down the line and said, “The American in me cringed when…” I said when the kids kept pulling out all the plants and killing so many little bugs on Arbor Day. Also when it was completely muddy down this hill and all the guys in my class were pushing each other down the hill, several of them falling. All okay and smiling, despite the mud now covering their backs. It’s going to be something that we will have to try to work on, both with the kids and with ourselves to try to understand the youth. Upon finishing this walk-a-thon, we went down to relax by the muni (city building, which is surrounded by a school, park, basketball/soccer court, Catholic Church, and a bunch of little stores.) But on our way down I saw what looked like a thrift store out of the corner of my eye, so Carmen and I stopped in…and there were books! O, glorious books! Children’s books like Courdoroy, Dr. Seuss’ ones, Bearnstein Bears, etc. All in English. So we are thinking about translating them into Spanish and using them for either host relatives or the kids we end up working with. Likely both. They are each only a Quetzal; the US dollar is at about 7.5Q so the books are super cheap. In the words of Dr.Fitzsimmons, “read, read, read!”
About 150 students and some teachers are also going to Peten pretty soon on a fieldtrip and 3 out of 4 of us are going on this two day trip with the youth, just to get to know them better and to serve as chaperones. I have about 48 students in my class. About half are supposed to be going. The other day I had to give my first dinamica (ice breaker) and it went alright. It could have gone much better but making mistakes is good, helps me realize I am nowhere near an expert or invincible, and pushes me to work harder. So the dinamica was a combination of two: I had the students take a notecard, put their name in the middle and in each corner write two things about themselves. In one corner, two adjectives to describe themselves; another corner had two favorite books or movies; another corner had two things they like to do in their free time; last one had their two favorite singers or groups. I collected them, and shuffled through quickly to look at the answers. I would name something that the kids had in common and they would have to run to the middle of the circle. I did that a few times. Then I had them take a piece of candy or two and say something interesting or unique about themselves. I thought that this would help me memorize names and faces. Silly me. Factors that made my dinamica a bit difficult: there was no teacher (the students have exams next week so many of the teachers were preparing for that), it was outside (it was really distracting for the students and the wind made it hard for them to hear me and for me to hear them), and length (I have 48 students and each class period is about 35 mins long so there was too much to cover in such a small amount of time). Also I should have considered exactly how much info the students would want to share about themselves the first time. Nevertheless, it was good and I have many more dinamicas and charlas to give that will prepare me to foresee some things like this.
I love you all. Please take care and always stay positive.