June 28, 2012
Danny and I went to Jared’s for lunch and got chicken, and then in the evening, all of the volunteers went to Jared’s for dinner, so I got pastelitos that time. They were so fresh and delicious!
In the morning, I took Sara over to meet Iris and show her the PEP classroom. I went to Ceiba with Danny to go to the university to figure out about getting into a class and then went to the mall and got some supplies for my classes. I also had a very tasty smoothie there! I learned my lesson about trusting the buses, though – I got to the terminal in plenty of time to catch a bus that would get back in time, and ended up waiting on the bus for 45 minutes til it finally left – so ended up being late to class. Jim and I ended up taking the kids out to the field and played a game similar to “Duck, Duck, Goose” but where each person has a “name” which is an English word, and then the person in the middle calls out two of them, and those people have to get up and run around, and the first person has to reach an empty spot before the other one catches them, or they go to the middle. Then we played “Fish and Sharks” and practiced counting in English, asking things like, “are you ready?” “are we ready?” “are they ready?” and responding appropriately, and saying “there is/are ___ fish/sharks” and other phrases that we could apply to the game.
While we were playing, a woman that lives nearby came to ask about getting a bathroom built for her family. She said she knows that Jim builds them, and her husband is sick and unable to work, and their family of four doesn’t have a bathroom anymore, since the one that they had is completely full. Jim explained that he only has two weeks left here, and is talking with a few families that need a bathroom, but that we would come by and see her property and talk with her some more.
The kids from my 2pm class really wanted their spelling test, so we went back before the end of class time so I could give it to them. I was impressed by their scores – most of them did really well!
After class, I went over to meet a new volunteer, Kate, and then came back and checked my emails before heading out to see the bathrooms that Jim/etc just finished – it looks great and has two bathrooms that are connected, each with a shower and toilet, and will be used by two families.
We then walked over to a house that Danny and I found when going to hand out the things that I brought (shirts, toothbrushes, toothpaste) which we thought might be a good candidate for the next project. It is out past the other houses, and is a tiny (and I mean, really, a tiny little square) mud house in which five people live (3 kids and their parents). No one was home when we went by, so we looked around the property. The house is mostly made out of mud stuck to a frame made out of sticks, and has some metal and plastic bags patching it up in places. Chunks of it have fallen off in places, and it kind of looks like it could just crumble to bits any minute. While we looked around, Oscar noticed that behind it, there is water that drains to the river, so it is actually not legal for them to have a house there (too close to the water), so they definitely can’t build a bathroom there. We saw a woman that lives in a nearby house, who has a few kids (who we also met when we went to hand stuff out) and she showed us her house and toilet and pila that were built by a couple of missionaries that live here. Another guy that was nearby said that sometimes crocodiles come out of the water behind the mud house and walk around this area! We walked back to the Centro and went to the house where the lady that came to talk to us in the field this afternoon lives. She showed us her current toilet, which looks like it is about to fall over, as does the makeshift shack that’s around it, and it’s completely full and unable to be used anymore. Her kids were so sweet! Jim looked around the property to see where they would be able to build something, and said they’d be back tomorrow as they also have another family that needs one, and only have time and money for one more project this time.
After that, I checked my email and looked at the news briefly, called Mom for a bit, and then went and showered before going to dinner at Jared’s for Vlad’s last night. By the time we got there, since all the volunteers had ordered, they were out of plantains (so no tajadas) and pastelitos, so I got baleadas – I was so hungry that I got five!
Made French toast this morning. It was a little different since I couldn’t find quite the right type of bread, and I could only find sticks of cinnamon, but it turned out alright.
After writing for a while, I made some rosemary chicken marinade so we could have rosemary chicken for lunch.
Christhian came over for lunch – we had the chicken (cooked in the marinade in a frying pan since someone was borrowing the grill), rice, potatoes, and avocado. After lunch, I bought some pencils for my class, which I will bring back and forth with me each day so we don’t end up losing them!
For my classes today, we reviewed what adjectives are, and came up with a list of adjectives. Then I had had them each write their name big on a sheet of paper, and write adjectives that describe them, starting with the letters of their name (I know there is a name for that, but I can’t remember it right now). There were three kids that were new to me today. Maryeli was so cute – she told me that she still has the pictures I gave her last year (ones that I had taken that Mom brought printouts of for the kids), and that she would bring them to class to show me.
After class, I went with Jim, Cinthia, and Brittani to look at a couple of places to try to decide where the next bathroom project will be. Brittani and I shared a bike, and it was quite amusing for the people watching us to watch us try to get on the bike and get moving – but eventually we did it! We had a couple stops to switch spots, and each time it was pretty funny trying to get on and get going. The first house we went to see was another one that was unfortunately too close to the (dried up) river, so construction there is not allowed. Apparently the family’s previous house burned down, and what they have now is sticks and bits of wood and metal stuck together to make a shack type house.
From there, we went to see the newly finished bathroom. This one is a double unit – two connected ones which each have a shower, toilet, and faucet. It looks great! It will be used by two families – 11 people in total. After that, we went to talk with the family we visited yesterday (the one that had come up to Jim in the field during class) so Brittani could meet them and see the property. It was so hard to choose which one to build at next (it was down to them or another family that lives near the one that was just finished, who currently have pieces of wood and a dried mud “toilet” over a hole, which will soon fill up), but we ended up deciding on the second family since their house is in such poor shape, too, and the first family is able to use a neighbor’s outhouse for the time being. While we were at their house, though, we found out about another house that has 3 families in it, with no bathroom – which would have been an ideal one to build for, but we thought it wouldn’t be a good idea to say no to one family and then build two doors down from them – and there is a small fence in between, so it would be hard to share.
For dinner, we made bululos filled with beans, eggs, and avocado – pretty good!
In the morning, I went to work with Jim on the bathroom for a couple of hours. We worked on digging for most of the time – the guy that lives there was working on the big hole in the middle, and we worked on sides (see the photos). We measured it before I left to go back and get ready for class, to make sure it was close enough to even so they can pour the cement and start building blocks.
After that, I showered, had lunch, and did some laundry, and went over to PEP a half hour early so I could start with the new girl today. Her mom came by yesterday and said she is in a bilingual school and the teacher says she needs help, but the mom is not able to help her with English since she doesn’t know any English. She sounded pretty desperate for help, and said she would come any time, and pay - I felt bad that she is really trying to do the best for her daughter but can’t help her with her homework. I told her there is no need to pay, and that between a couple of us, we could work with her for a half hour a day before class Monday through Thursday (I had looked at her homework assignment sheet the day before to translate it for the mom, and she must only be in first grade, because it is very basic and couldn’t take very long). They ended up coming 20 minutes late since the bus had come late, so we only had about 10 minutes, but she has such little homework that it ended up being alright (I just felt bad that they had to take a bus here for only 10 minutes) – the mom said she would work with her on the rest of her homework, but just wanted me to go over pronunciation of the words they are learning this week (things like am, it, sit, sip, the, cat, mat).
Only about 5 kids showed up for each class this afternoon, so I asked if they had had class today, since often attendance is low at PEP when they didn’t have class at regular school. They said there was school today, but none tomorrow since the teachers are doing a strike tomorrow (I also learned later that June 28 is the date that Mel Zelaya was removed in the coup d’état in 2009, so there will be lots of stuff going on tomorrow). Today in class the kids each chose a family member, and drew them, and then wrote their name, how they are related to the student, 3 adjectives (in sentences) that describe them, 3 things that they like (in sentences), and 3 things that they don’t like (in sentences). The really young students who don’t write much yet just wrote the name, relationship, or whatever they could. While they were finishing up, I read individually with a couple of students – the points system really gets them wanting to do that (as in, asking me without me even bringing it up) – they get a point for reading individually with me.
After class, I checked my emails, posted some photos, had some coffee and cookies, and then worked on catching up on my writing. In the evening, all of the volunteers went to Jared’s for dinner again since it is Farah’s last night here.
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