imageAlright, this is fairly unacceptable. I should probably update this blog more often! I’m going to try just posting little stories instead of giant updates because that will be less daunting, I think. Not that you all don’t deserve a rather giant update, but…
Right now the kids are on holy week break. During Semana Santa here, many people spend their free week going to the beach, relaxing, and partying. I am mostly just breathing and having fun remembering that I am not just the work I do here and watching Netflix, and eating mangos. Basically being super introverted and absolutely loving it. Not that I don’t kind of really miss all my little compañeros, and I will be more than ready to see them again when they get back.
Daily schedules and activities shift from week-to-week, but I usually get up early enough to see the kids off to school at 6:30 every morning, eat my oatmeal in various stages of dazed philosophicalness, and get ready for my English class which I have every morning but Wednesday at 8:30 . Teaching middle schoolers English is everything but peaceful and predictable, but we’ll get into those adventures at a later date.
So, yes, English class finishes and I do…? The next part of my schedule until lunch is probably the most varying part of my schedule and has involved everything from home visits and leading a meeting with community leaders to making tortillas with my middle school students. 12:00 is lunch, and I usually spend the next hour or so going through emails, filling out the endless skeins of paperwork which a social work practicum entails, or translating some document or another into Spanish for the purpose of good communication with my director. 2:00 p.m. brings my daily guitar class with Jesus, and at 3:00 I lead a relaxation therapy class with different groups of the younger kids which is an interesting test in engagement skills and personal creativity levels. The last hour of my day after 4:00 p.m. is always my favorite. The kids get out of tutoring at that point, and so we spend the next hour or so waiting for their parents to arrive and playing soccer, hop scotch, and guitar. Most of my favorite one-on-one conversations and interactions have occurred within this hour as the daily stresses of school and work are shoved into backpacks and set aside for a little while.
One other thing I have started doing is volunteering at the special needs school for a couple hours 3 days a week to teach non-visual skills, and mainly cane technique, to the blind students there. I really, truly love this opportunity to bust up a few low societal expectations and to watch my students start navigating their school more and more independently.
So now you all get an exciting accomplishment story and a funny/ gross foreign country story.
Cool accomplishment:
This past week the educational psychologist, Guadalupe, came to me on Wednesday to talk to me about a meeting with the local community leaders which the HCN would be leading on Thursday. The HCN has plans to bring in new children/ families into their program and wanted to engage the local community leaders in this process. We had already discussed this as an event, but on Wednesday, Guadalupe came and asked me to help facilitate/ present at this meeting. She wanted me to discuss our organization’s principles of partnership and the definition of “at-risk” as it refers to children. I was excited but mainly nervous. I had never discussed these topics in front of a group… of important political figures in the community… in Spanish… with one day to prepare. I crammed, and translated, and crammed, and worried once or twice. To my great relief, the meeting went off fairly seamlessly; excluding the extensive political discussions between different communities, but, everyone appeared to believe those were the most natural part of our meeting.
Funny story:
Yesterday, the professors had an abbreviated work day as the kids were not here and we were just making some posters to put up around the center. In the middle of the day we had a giant vegetable/ crab soup. When I say giant, I mean that the pot was like the size of a dog tub and literally full of soup. When I say giant, I mean that they gave us taurine of soup instead of bowls. Anyway, enough about the amazing soup. On Friday, Marisol had told me that all the ingredients for the soup were in my refrigerator, and she said that I shouldn’t let the “animalitos” scare me. I was like “wait; there are little animals in my fridge? What is this?” A former staff member who had come on a visit was there and said in English, “She means the crabs.” Unfortunately, I definitely thought she said “rats,” so that didn’t make me feel better. After I simply stared at them with a completely shocked face for a few minutes, they re-explained that there were crabs in my refrigerator. Alright, so back to Monday. Friday’s shock was only one-upped by one of the professors discovering an actual dead rat that had begun to rot in the unused bathroom adjacent to my kitchen. Oh, the very unfortunate irony.
Maybe that is a really unprofessional place to leave this post, but Franklin just came to invite me to dinner with him and his brother and their professor, so I am unashamedly leaving to eat Nicaraguan food!