Thursday, May 26, 2011

The great shoe giveaway

Thursday, 5-26-11

Today was kind of a crazy day at school. I didn’t teach the first period because the kids have formación which is a civic exercise they do every Thursday. My first class of the day didn’t start until 8:25am. Around 8:00am Cecilia told me that she was leaving to go to the boy’s school where I teach because today the kids were getting their shoes. Last year and this year the government paid for a uniform and shoes for every student who wanted to go to school. They also paid for school supplies for the kids. This is very beneficial and it helped a lot of children get to school who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to go.

When student get their shoes and uniforms depends on the government and the school. I know last year kids didn’t get uniforms and shoes until later in the year because an overwhelming number of students signed up for school in El Salvador and the government was inundated. This year they were more prepared. Of course, the school year started back in late January and here it is the end of May and the kids at my school are just receiving their shoes. And they still haven’t received their uniforms yet. I know the material for the uniforms is at the school because I saw it there in late March. Why the uniforms haven’t been made yet is beyond me. Unfortunately, things here don’t always operate on an exact schedule.

Moving on. When I got to school there was a crowd of people in front of the gates. I had to yell through the gates to get someone to open them for me. They always lock the gates while school is in session and I also realized they were only letting a certain amount of people into the school at once. I saw Cecilia waiting outside the door to be let in with many other parents.

I walked to my first class and got things ready. All the kids were sitting in their seats which I thought odd because the bell hadn’t rung yet signaling the end of the recess. When I stepped outside the door the teacher told me class was ready to start. I was even more confused at the point because no one else seemed to be teaching and no other kids were in their classrooms. I taught the class but it was hard to teach over the noise of all the kids running around outside the classroom.

When class ended I went on to my next class. By now there were about 5x as many people inside the school. I asked the kids in my next period class if we were going to have class. They said they didn’t know. I chatted with the kids for a while and then set my things down to go investigate. The whole school was a madhouse with parents waiting to pick up shoes for their kids. The parents had to be there to sign for the shoes or the kids didn’t get any shoes.

I asked some of the teachers if we were going to have more classes and they didn’t seem to know. Then I asked the director and he didn’t really give me a direct answer so I just wandered around some more. I had my camera with me and took pictures of the parents and the shoes. After hanging around a while longer and seeing lots of kids leaving I decided that it was safe to leave as well. I said goodbye to my students and headed home.

Cecilia was back at the house with Marvin’s shoes (her son Marvin is in 4th grade). But she still had to go back to the school to get Elmer’s shoes (her son Elmer is in 9th grade). I guess they were doing it by grade. Apparently, Elmer was waiting in line and said he’d text Cecilia when he was close. Around 11:00am Cecilia finally got the text so she went off again to school to sign for Elmer’s shoes. Ahhhh, the insanity of school in El Salvador, how I love it!

The room where the shoes were given to parents

I see shoes!!


Waiting outside the room

The line forms on the other side

Milling around

I have no idea what everyone was doing

A crazy day

Upon seeing my camera
they wanted their picture taken

Kids in one of my sixth grade classes

Older students who also wanted their photo taken

Spiffy shoes!

Marvin and his new shoes!

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