There’s always some sort of action happening at school or the Pastoral House. It keeps life interesting. Today as I was walking to school I saw a little girl that I had met last year. I came to meet her one day last year because her mom asked if her daughter could give me a hug. It’s not every day a stranger asks me for a hug. She was adorable and of course I said yes. After that I saw her every once and a while on my way to school. Whenever I saw her I’d give her a hug. So when I saw her again today I was very excited. She recognized me right away as well and I gave her a big hug. I told her and her mom that I’d be her until November so she’d get lots of hugs. She looked excited too. Her mom told me that her daughter likes the color of my eyes. I waved goodbye to her and continued on to my classes.
During the first period the kids had formación (civil exercise). So I sat in the classroom and planned out a couple things. When they returned we had about 15 minutes left of class. We worked on the alphabet and a couple other important words that I’m going to use throughout the year. I’m getting a better idea of the pace I’ll need to go for this class. I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of reading to the kids. I have several books in English and Spanish that I’m going to use. Since the kids in first and second grade are so young I’m trying to concentrate more on speaking and listening rather than a lot of writing.
For some reason I couldn’t stop yawning in my 2nd grade class today. I tried to do it when no one was looking. Since I didn’t get a chance to play Lotería with this class last week I played it today with them. I want to make sure all my classes get a chance to play the game. Tomorrow I’ll be playing it with both of my 6th grade classes. Something kind of unusual happened today in my 3rd grade section B class. The teacher was leaving for the day as I was about to start teaching. So she told the kids that they’d have their English class and after that they could leave. I’m not surprised that it happened but it was a first for me. Of course, it was hard to keep the kid’s attention because they knew they’d be able to leave as soon as I was done teaching. But I did my best.
When I walked into my last class, 4th grade, I noticed that the teacher was stamping something in some of the kid’s notebooks. After she’d finished she put the stamp on her desk. I decided to take a look. It was a stamp of a parrot and it said, “Platica mucho en clases” which means “Talks a lot in class.” I have it admit, I thought this was awesome and hilarious at the same time. I guess it’s so the kid’s parents can see that their child has been talking too much in class and not paying attention. The animal is a parrot because of the constant “chatting” of parrots. For me, I’m not sure if that would be an incentive not to talk or if I’d talk more just so I could get the stamp. As my parents can confirm, the major comment on all my report cards growing up was that I chatted a lot during class.
I decided to put a stamp of a piece of paper I had. Then the kids came over and I told them that they shouldn’t be “pericos” (parrots) and talk during class. I was trying my best to discourage them from chatting in class. But I still thought the stamp was really cool. Later at the house I showed Margarita the stamp. She jokingly told me that I needed to behave myself and shouldn’t talk at all at school tomorrow.
Since my class schedule is changing slightly I typed up my new schedule into a spreadsheet and printed it off so all my teachers can have a copy. As of right now, it appears that my schedule will be the same for the rest of the year. I am really hoping it does. When Kathy saw my little spreadsheet she mentioned something about a Type A Personality. I admit, it’s probably a bit much but oh well. I just like to be organized. It helps me feel more sane.
This afternoon when I got home Cecilia walked with me to the post office so I could mail a couple letters. I’d never been to the post office before so I was excited. It was a small little space that you might miss if you didn’t see the sign outside that says “correos” (mail). I went in and the man there told me the price to mail two letters to the US. It was only $1.70. I kind of wrote a return address on the letters. It was: Alisha Lundberg, Casa Pastoral, Berlín, Usulután, El Salvador, Central America. No street address was required. He put the stamps on my letters and then wrote me out a receipt and stamped it. Every time you buy something in El Salvador at a store they write you a receipt and oftentimes it’s stamped with the official seal of the store.
A lot more food packets were made today for a couple different communities. We needed to make packets for San Lorenzo and Santa Cruz. A couple people from the canton of San Lorenzo came over to help make the packets for their community. I thought that was really cool. What great leadership! While they did that I worked on getting things ready for school. When I did walk into the other room to see how things were going Aminta told me that she was guarding the cookies, thus implying that I might try to eat them. She had a point: the cookies needed to be protected from me.
Around 5:15pm Kathy arrived with Jerry. Yay! He’s here to be a part of the fertilizer and packet deliveries for the communities of San Lorenzo, Santa Cruz, and Alejandría. He was showing the people from Alejandría, Kathy, and me one of the applications on his I-Pod touch. You could speak English or Spanish into it and it would translate the sentence for you. Pretty spiffy! We played around with that for a while. I tried to get the I-Pod touch to say in Spanish, “I hope when you come the weather will be clement” but it didn’t translate it exactly. Kathy chastised me for using English words that most people don’t use. I told them that I was just quoting a famous British Comedy/Sy-fy (back me up here, Matt!)
Later on Jerry presented me with 40 small dry erase boards, dry erase markers, and erasers that his wife, Kathy, had bought for me to use with the kids at school. They are awesome! Thank you, Kathy! I think they will come in especially handy with the 1st and 2nd graders. Plus they’ll be nice when we’re reviewing a subject over and over again. I don’t want the kids to take up all the room in their notebooks when we’re reviewing things. Notebooks and pencils/pens are expensive so this will be a great way for them to learn and write things down without wasting paper. And if I’m able to get out to San Francisco one of these days I’ll be able to use them there as well.
Before dinner Jerry showed Kathy and me a beautiful slideshow with music that his daughter put together. They showed it at their church, St. Boniface Catholic Church, last Sunday during mass. It was a wonderful slideshow that showed pictures of life in El Salvador along with the song “In My Own World” by Matthew West. By the end of it I had tears in my eyes. It was incredibly moving, and a nice reminder that sometimes we need to get outside our comfort zone, outside out own world, and take a look at how the rest of the world lives.
After dinner we put together packets for Santa Cruz that will be delivered tomorrow. In each packet is several small bags of bleach, 2 bags of spaghetti, 4 lbs of sugar, 2 lbs of salt, 4 lbs of rice, 4 soup mixes, 4 bags of ramen noodles, 2 cans of anchovies in tomato sauce, 2 bags of lye for corn, a package of cookies, and 16 packets of instant coffee. We’ve been doing this so often lately that we’re really starting to perfect our technique. Soon Jerry was putting things into piles and bagging them up like an old pro. Tomorrow is going to be a fun day. In the morning I have school with my awesome kids and in the afternoon I get to help deliver water collection tanks and food packets to Santa Cruz, which is a community not partnered with a church in the US.
Signs posted about the cost of mail
Inside the post office in Berlin
Outside of the post office
Pedro painting the walls in the park center
He is one of the translators the Pastoral Team uses
The walls are beautiful!
Laky men noodles
They really are Number 1!
Platica mucho en clases
Talks a lot in class
Awesome whiteboards, markers, and
erasers from Kathy!
Thanks for dinner, Ceci
My receipt from the post office
The contents of each package for Santa Cruz
Blanca, the boss
Alejandro watching us all
Some of the bags
There's a lot of stuff
It's sooo heavy!
You look confused, Jerry
Now he's got it!