Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Tuesday, 4-5-11

I love kids and I definitely got to see a lot of them today. In my fifth grade section A class a few of the kids were being kind of naughty. We were working on pronunciation of certain sounds and letters in English that don’t exist or are different in Spanish. We were practicing the sound “sh.” Can you see where this is going? I wrote a couple examples on the board for us to practice together. One of the words I wrote for practice was “shirt.” As I was walking around the room looking at the kids notebooks a couple of giggling kids asked me if “shik” was a word in English. I told them that it wasn’t a word in English (and it isn’t). But I wasn’t born yesterday. I knew exactly what they were trying to say.

I didn’t want to make a big deal about it because that’s what the kids were hoping for. I’ve learned that when people here (and I mean people anywhere in El Salvador) do something or say something not very nice in passing or they’re trying to get a rise out of you, it’s best to ignore it. Because if you make a big deal out of something like that they’re more than likely going to do it again. Plus, the kids already thought they knew the bad word so chastising them in front of the whole class wasn’t going to solve the problem of them using bad language.

Needless to say, I did not use the word “shirt” as an example in anymore of my upper level classes. I did not want a repeat situation. This is definitely not the first time I’ve heard swear words in English at the school or in Berlín. One time last year one of the students in sixth grade must have gotten upset about something and said something akin to “darn it” in English. He immediately realized his mistake and clasped his hands over his mouth looking nervously at me. I gave him a harsh “look” but kept going with class. I never heard him say another bad word again in my class (and I am always listening for things like that.)

The kids in my fifth grade section B class were really quiet today. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept looking closely at them to make sure they weren’t asleep. They were all paying attention and taking notes and responding to my questions. But there was no chitter chatter as usual. I’ve grown so accustomed to it that as long as the kids are learning and not being terribly disruptive I don’t shush them every time I heard them chatting because I’d lose my voice real fast that way. That’s just what the classroom setting is like here. Sometime I need to take video on my camera of what it’s like between classes because it’s insane! But I love my kids.

I felt bad for my sixth grade section B teacher, Irma, because she was kind of sick and had almost lost her voice. I empathized with her saying that it could not be easy to lose your voice when you’re a teacher because it’s your job to be talking and teaching the kids. There’s no good way to rest your voice so you can get better. Also, in this Salvadoran classroom setting you have to compete with loud outside noises like big trucks going by, dogs barking, loud music, and occasional marching bands or parades going by (seriously). Plus you have the noises inside the school like all the kids screaming and running around outside the classroom. There are inevitably one or two classes outside the classrooms that are eating their daily snack or having PE or just goofing off while you are trying to have class. I really hope the teacher feeling better soon.

As I was walking home from school I saw the sweet little girl on the street who likes to give me hugs. I went over to her and gave her a huge hug. Seeing her always brightens up my day. I asked her what her name was and she told me it was Jennifer. I told her my name was Alicia (Alisha in Spanish). I said I hoped I’d see her again soon and gave her a goodbye hug. It’s always a nice surprise to see her.

I was intent on getting my letters mailed this afternoon so I walked to the post office a little before 2pm. When I got there I saw a hand written sign on the door that said they’d return later. Yeah, this isn’t like the post offices in the US. I had no idea where they’d be in the middle of the day or when “later” was going to be. So I went to the park to find Pedro. I’d printed off a couple pages that had pictures of flowers on them. I took the pictures here in El Salvador. He’s going to use them as models for what other things he’s going to be painting in the park. I decided to wait a little longer before going back to see if the post office was open so I went to the Neveria for some ice cream. I returned to the post office a little after 2:30pm. They still weren’t opened and I decided to call it a day.

Back at the house I had a little food making party with Idalia. My food experience didn’t involve kids but I sure felt like a kid. We were making “chocobananos” which are frozen bananas dipped into chocolate. Yummy!! They’d put the bananas on sticks and into the freezer the night before. This afternoon Idalia melted the chocolate and we dipped them into the chocolate. It must have been some sort of fast-drying chocolate because it adhered and dried quickly. As we were making them chocolate was dripping all over our hands and we were constantly licking our fingers. I mean, hey, no one else except for the ladies is going to eat them so germs aren’t a big deal. After dipping them all we had chocolate left over so Idalia poured more chocolate over the bananas including a giant one she’d put aside for me. Then we got the rest of the chocolate out of the pot with our fingers. And the chocobanano was absolutely delicious.

Late this afternoon Margarita and her kids, Damaris and Misael, stopped by the house. They immediately ran into dining room where I was working on my computer and gave me big hugs. I always love seeing them. They are such sweet kids. I had Chiquita (Chenita) on my shoulder and they were excited to see her. They both wanted to hold her. She did well with Damaris and perched on her finger and shoulder. But when Misael went to hold her she tried to bite him. I’m wondering if she doesn’t like males because she did the same thing yesterday when William tried to hold her.

We went out back to visit the other bird friends. We got some food for Chelita and Barbara. The kids put some of the food into one dish and the rest of the food into another dish. So the girls (birds) ate separately and Chelita didn’t chase Barbara. Eventually I was able to put Chiquita on Misael’s shoulder. He did very well and was excited that she perched on his shoulder. At one point she did try to eat the back of his head. But he just laughed and laughed.

Then we went on a hunt to try to find one of the tortoises that lives at the house. I eventually found one, Pablo, and brought him out so the kids could see him. They both held him while, I took their picture, and then they fed him some tortillas. We had a great time playing with all the animals. After a while we went over to Kathy’s office so the kids could play with the alphabet magnets on her door. Damaris, who is in 3rd grade, was spelling out people’s names and Misael, who is in kindergarten, was also spelling out “words” and asking me to pronounce them. Soon their mom came around to see what we were doing and let the kids know it was time to leave. I hugged them both goodbye and said I hoped to see them soon.

This evening I was on the computer for a little over two hours on gmail video so I could be a part of the Compañeros meeting in Iowa. I haven’t had a chance to see many people for a while so it was nice to see everyone. I always like going to the Compañeros meetings and I miss being a part of them so I was glad I could be a part of it in a small way. I think it’s been a good day.

Making chocobananos

My giant chocolate covered banana


Damaris with my Chiquita

Chiquita liked her

A very excited Misael

Chiquita is tasting his head

She loves the tortoise

The hand off

He did very well holding the tortoise, Pablo

Playing with Chelita and Pablo

Feeding Chelita

Chelita and Barbara playing

So many animals friends
It's like a little zoo

Playing with the magnet letters

What are you spelling?

Spelling her name and her mom's name

No rest for the ladies of the Pastoral Team

They're going through corn that they give away
to people who come to the door looking for food

1 comment:

Matt said...

Mmmm, those chocabananos sure look good. Sounds like a fun afternoon at the zoo with the kids. I hope you can eventually make it to the post office