Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 17: Teaching English, playing Soccer: these activites are beneficial too!

When we arrived here Teresa had originally wanted us to focus on fixing up the centre or teaching English. The first part has been no problem and we are actually running out of paint before they can get it to us. The second part you would think would also be no problem. But, when the kids know nothing but the numbers 1-10 and their colours, and we are all deers caught in headlights, mumbling phrases that we learned in class… lets just say it doesn’t work. So, we’ve all come up with a different plan and today finally put it into full swing. We are such a diverse team with different areas of expertise and interest, so we decided to just roll with it and see what activities we could pull off with the kids.

I worked with three of the girls on the team to come up with some plans for soccer practices and a schedule for the local kids to play organized games. If you know me, that shouldn’t be at all surprising! Last week we played two pick up games of soccer and they ran the pants off us, but we held our own. We decided it needed to be more organized though because we only had one girl out to play and we clearly want more! I brought old jerseys and balls that my team at home donated to the cause and it was great to see the kids enjoy more resources like this.

Dave taught some of the kids how to play the guitar and some caught on so fast it was great. One even managed to learn enough to teach me a few things, although he was better than me. And, the rest of the team worked on arts and crafts with the kids and taught them how to knit wash cloths. Although these activities may not seem as important as building houses, libraries or wells, it was amazing for the kids. I came home with a huge smile on my face because of it all. I think my team is slowly starting to understand that all the activities, conversations and teaching opportunities that they are creating and leading are so beneficial to these kids and this small community too. It’s easy for us to take for granted the years of our childhood when we were able to go to soccer practices or after school piano lessons. There are no girl guides or boy scouts here, and from conversations with Teresa about the way people spend time here, it seems that many kids don’t have the same opportunities for interaction. Sure, a lot of the boys play soccer, but they don’t have their parents on the sidelines cheering. So, tomorrow we are going to be their fans and I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Hasta luego!

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