Friday, March 12, 2010
It felt especially cool when I woke up this morning. I went outside to get my socks that I let dry overnight. Idalia told me that it had been raining. Weird. It really doesn’t rain much here during the dry season. I ate a couple novias (pan dulce) and a banana sandwich for breakfast and headed out the door for class.
School went fairly well today. For some reason I was really tired in my third period class which is unusual. Even when I’m tired I usually don’t feel like I’m going to fall asleep. Not sure if it’s possible to fall asleep standing up in front of 40 kids but I didn’t want to find out. Thankfully I did not fall asleep and walking to my next class woke me up. One of the teachers wasn’t there today so I moved on to my last class, sixth grade, and asked if it was okay if I taught early. When I walked into the room all the boys starting making kissing noises. This surprised me and I was not happy about it. I told them not to do it anymore and gave them all "the look". They didn’t do it again for the rest of the class. Not surprisingly, the teacher didn’t say anything about it. I get the feeling this kind of behavior isn’t unusual.
I went home for lunch and looked at some pictures for a while. Around 2pm today I went with Kimberly to the physical therapy clinic by the house. She is going to volunteer there for an about an hour in the afternoons in a couple weeks. She had brought some puzzles with her for the clinic. I met the woman who ran the place and many of the kids there. We did some bowling with the kids, then coloring, and puzzles. There were about 15 kids and it was a lot of fun. I was building lego towers with the boys for a while. They were a little timid at first but after a short while they were talking to me and telling me all about what they were building.
Toward the end I was talking to a woman and her husband about their children. Their little girl has to go to the hospital twice every week for dialysis. I am not sure what is wrong with her son but he isn’t able to sit up well or walk. She told me he is one and a half. I got to hold him for a while. He was pretty darn cute. When she told him “besito” (little kiss) he made a little noise with his mouth. Very adorable!! His dad offered a pastel to Kimberly and asked if she liked it. When she said she did he left to go get us some. People here are so kind. They go out of their way to make us comfortable. Even when people don’t have a lot of money they want to give so much. I appreciated the pasteles but I was more grateful for the kindness they offered us. He returned with the pasteles a few minutes later. I ate mine quickly- they are delicious. The baby boy waved goodbye to us when we left.
Little boy in my third grade class
Not sure where the girl came from
Shortly after we arrived back at the house I headed out with Otilia and her son, Cásar, to walk to San Lorenzo. Otilia and her family live in the canton San Lorenzo which is a two mile, one hour walk from the Pastoral House. I had asked her yesterday if I could walk with her today to house. I wanted to walk to all the cantons where members of the pastoral team lived. I walked to Alejandría where Cecilia, Idalia, Blanca, Balmore, and Jesús live. I walked to San Francisco were Miguel lives. I walked close to Aminta’s house, here in Berlín, on my way to San Francisco. So I wanted to walk to Otilia’s house in San Lorenzo. It is important for me to walk with them to their homes so I can have a better understanding of what their daily life is like and what life is like for the people who live there. I love creating these kind of opportunities and turning them into learning experiences.
Along the way we passed several people Otilia knew, along with many cows and pigs roaming the streets. As we got further away from Berlín it became foggier. Otilia told me it was clouds moving in. Apparently that it quite common in San Lorenzo. The walk was uphill the entire way. I’ve been able to build up my stamina since I’ve been here so I did much better than on my previous two walks to the cantons. Still, thinking that people walk this back and forth every day is a lot to take in. Otilia’s son walks to Berlín from San Lorenzo and home again every day for school just like Cecilia’s sons do from Alejandría.
When we got closer to San Lorenzo we stopped at a few houses to quickly say hi to people. Many people seemed surprised that I was walking with Otilia such a long ways. We gringos have a rather lazy image. I did my best to prove I was no ordinary gringo and that I could, in fact, go the distance. After a while Otilia invited several kids to walk with us. We were going to go past her house to Los Pinos which has a scenic overview. It was foggy and we probably wouldn’t be able to see much but thought it’d be a fun walk just the same. By the time we’d reached Los Pinos there were 9 kids walking with us.
Once at the top we played a game that was similar to tag. Not sure what it was called but I was one of the “policies” (police). Four of us police ran around trying to catch and capture the other kids. It was a lot of fun. I love games like this. I ran after the kids and tried to get as many as I could. We played for about 10 minutes and then left because some older kids were playing fútbol there. We walked down a little ways and then played another game. I had played it with the kids from San Francisco when we went up to the cross last Saturday. It was basically like London Bridges but after you got caught you had to decide which team you wanted to be on. It was a lot of fun and the kids really seemed to enjoy it.
After that was over we all sat around in a circle. I asked each of them their names and where they lived. After they told me I gave them each a sucker that Otilia had brought from home. I told them how to say the flavor in English which they seemed to enjoy. A little after 5:30pm Kathy called to tell me she was at Otilia’s house. We finished up chatting and started back down the hill to Otilia’s house.
At her house I got to meet her mother, Alba. I saw the two little parakeets that I’d met a few weeks earlier. They had much more feathers than before. Alba also had a little pigeon pet. Then Otilia brought in some baby chickens that were only a few days old. They were pretty darn cute. She must know I love animals. Then they brought in three little puppies that were only three days old. Too adorable for words!! Kathy and I both snuggled with them for a while. Soon we had to say goodbye and headed for the truck. We gave the kids a ride home and then drove back to Berlín.
We ate dinner and afterwards I went across the street to get some Tang to make charamusca, which is basically a popsicle in a bag. Eating it out of the bag makes it a lot better. I played around on the computer for a while and then went to talk to Kathy. She and I were chatting up in her office when the power went out around 8:30pm. This has happened a couple times since I’ve been here and isn’t unusual. We found some candles and decided to enjoy the darkness. The power came back on around 9:15pm. I was a little bummed because I like having no electricity sometimes. Sometime I would like to stay in a canton overnight if it is possible. Many of the cantons and houses here do not have electricity. That might be something for the next trip.
“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself” ~Desiderius Erasmus
Getting ready to walk to San Lorenzo
Beginning the walk
Piggies in the road
Carrying water to San Lorenzo
Palm tree surrounded by clouds
Walking through the clouds
It was pretty dense
One of my student's brothers
The church in San Lorenzo
Some of the kids that walked with us
They are beautiful little girls
Sitting with the girls by the church
Almost to Los Pinos
Put your foot in and we'll decide who's "it"
Game similar to London Bridges
We got one!
I love their faces
They loved the suckers
In the air
Goodbye Los Pinos
Playing by the road
My little friends
I was extremely excited
Kathy's new best friend
A box of love!
Holding a baby puppy
Three little pups