My third week here has been wonderful. The children were very excited to see me Monday morning and my regularity really has gotten them to open up to me. Now, Ruby is constantly telling on Nancy to me. To which I laugh and tell Ruby she should pay more attention to the work she hasn’t finished. I am known now as senorita, a title that is normally reserved for the teacher. It also gives me this uncanny ability to tell them what pages to work on, and for them to actually listen. A little authority is certainly very powerful. The (actual) senorita doesn’t even stop by the first year table anymore. I am solely responsible for the little balls of energy. We paint and color, learn up and down, left and right. We also know almost all the colors in our box of colored pencils, except for red, which instead of rojo they call tomate. Apparently it is a local slang of sorts because the older children do it to. I drew quite a few fruits and animals for the pequenas so they could color them in with specific colors. During recess one of the older girls approached me with her notebook and asked for pictures too. I gave her three pages worth, she had many ideas about what she wanted. I drew a corn field, a scarecrow, a sun, moon and stars, trees, a mountain, and much more.
Tuesday she came back with all beautifully colored and proudly displayed them. I had put the english names next to the items and she even tried to sound them out with me. This of course captured the attention of the rest of the class and this time during recess I had eight young ladies vying for drawings. I find it very amusing that they like my drawins so much since I’m sure my artistic ability has not progressed past middle school. It makes sense though since they don’t have coloring books and the only time they get to color is when the teacher draws for them; which is never since she barely has time to teach them all. The senorita noticed how excited the kids were to draw and learn the correspnding english words, so she designated me the drawer for the second years that afternoon. We did fruits, shapes, and a few animals.
Wednesday I again spent the morning with the small ones, and the afternoon with the slightly bigger ones. I was mobbed. Absolutely and completely by yelling children with notebooks and requests. We drew sharks, and giraffes, clothing, flags, cars, houses, and anything else they could think of. They even started looking through books for things I could copy. Everytime I finished drawing in one notebook, two more children were back yelling mira, mira senorita! and proudly showing me their colorings. It was absolutely exhausting, and completely endearing. To end the day I gave them three cameras, and taught them the basic use. They were enthralled and some of the oldest three got to take them home for a scavenger hunt to practice english and to take pictures for my capstone theme. I will see how it goes tomorrow!
The children didn’t have school Thursday and Friday, apparently a common problem in these rural communities. Hilda, my host mother, told me the children are lucky to have school three days a week let alone five. This coupled with the overstretched teacher makes it seem really difficult to receive a good education. Oh well, that’s why I’m here to help keep them busy with English and pictures!
On my days off from the school I helped with the cows, picked coffee, harvested strawberries, planted naranjilla trees, and got bitten by the most annoying flies I have ever encountered. All in all, a wonderful week in paradise.