Friday, July 13, 2007

I don't think that I write enough about school in this thing. So this is an attempt to correct that.

La Esperanza put on a summer school program for the the kids at La Epiphania two weeks in the middle of my time here. La Ephiphania is kind of like the model school around here, and, compared to what I was doing with pre-schoolers at La Prusia, I felt like I was working with little geniuses. Adding and subtracting and shouting out A E I O U like nobody's business. I noticed a USAID poster up at that school, too, so I wonder if there was ever a project, extra funding, etc. etc. put behind La Epiphania.

I missed La Prusia, though, so I was happy to go back at the beginning of this week. I was sure that all of the kids would have forgotten me. We sat around the table talking about the break, and this is what all of the kids said that they did.

Went to Granada to buy cookies. And chicken.
Went to Managua to buy cooking oil.
Went to the beach with their moms.

Attendance has been it's worst since vacation let out. The teacher told me that one girl, Gissel, who also happens to be the best student in the class, isn't coming back, that the family has moved away. I do have three who are coming everyday, though. Ervin Alberto, Ronal, and Georgina. In hopes of trying to keep them coming back, I have been playing marathon games of el tiburon (shark). El tiburon involves me pretending to swim, snap my jaw like a very scary shark, and chase them around until I catch them and pretend gobble them up while they giggle. It's more popular then swinging on the swings right now, and I feel like I'm loosing my swing set pushing muscles.

I feel like the kids finally know me. I am also realizing how nervous I was around them at first, just how awkward and a little bit scared of working with kids that I was. At this point, with so many volunteers coming and going all the time, it's like they are some of my most long term friendships in this place. And now I'm going in two and a half weeks. Yes, I know that they won't really miss me and that more people will come and go and that they are used to it and that's the system and all of that, but it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Spending a summer used to feel like somewhat of a commitment, but now it just seems like a tease. All I had to commit was an in between, between either really living here or purely passing through and a little chunk of time in between years in school.

The preschool teacher has more lessons planned out this term than at the end of the last one. We still seem to be doing a lot of drawing, but lately it has involved cutting, coloring, numbers, and letters, so I have been staying in the classroom and trying to keep the momentum going rather than taking them out to work one on one. There is a new volunteer here who is going to take over as preschool helper after I go. She keeps asking me what she should do, what normally happens, and I just kind of look at her a little bit blankly, because there is no real rhyme or reason to anything here. I can tell her about the kids, but she'll get to know them on her own. I do tell her that she lucked out with preschool. They are the best, I'm sure of that.

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