Another week has seemingly disappeared here! It is going way too fast. My days are packed – which makes everything seem to move too quickly!
This week I got to visit ICPNA , which is the US Embassy Language School that I was originally planning to teach at. It is a beautiful school with amazing teachers! The best part – everybody was really excited to speak ENGLISH to me! It was very refreshing! My co-worker at UR International at the university, Ricardo, is from Peru and both he and his wife taught at ICPNA, so everybody was very excited to hear about them! I got to observe a language class, which is based on level rather than age. The class included a 12 year old boy, a doctor, and everything in between! The 12 year old boy was particularly excited to find out I was from Canada. Instead of asking if it was cold or whether or not I lived in an igloo, his first words to me were, “You live where JUSTIN BIEBER lives!” I was tempted to tell him we’re neighbours, but decided against it.
Teaching this week went surprisingly well. It was my first week without Hannah, and I was really nervous about how everything would go! However, it was amazing! The kids listened and understood, and we did a lot of cool activities! My grade twos, which have been handful, are now one of my best classes. I actually have no idea how this happened. I give a lot of high fives? And I seat them a little strategically? But really, I don’t understand what happened. They do thrive on encouragement, so I do a lot of encouraging. I am also really firm with them, and maybe I just feel more comfortable now that there are less people watching me teach. Anyways, it was a really great week! While I actually swear we did more than play dough this week, Friday was the only day I brought my camera, and they usually get some play dough time on Friday…. I promise I am actually teaching them things!
Meet Gemelo and Gemelo. They are identical twins. They actually have names, but no one can tell them apart, so everyone just calls them both Gemelo, which means “twin” in Spanish. They both respond to this name. It works.
Remember how I explained that Peruvians love to celebrate? Well, this week was Kindergarten Week. I am not joking, it’s a real holiday. The Peruvians celebrated 80 years of Kindergarten this week. The kids here made posters and participated in special activities all week.
On Friday, we went into Chiclayo for Chinese food. I swear I ate the best Chinese food of my life on Friday in PERU. How does that happen?
Saturday, some of the girls here and I went to the beach, which is about an hour away. We took a very squished combie to get there. And, I had my first semi-successful Spanish exchange with a local. The woman beside me on the bus turned and asked me if I was a mormon. Which, I excitedly understood!! But telling her I wasn’t a mormon was a mistake… because then she assumed I spoke Spanish, and she proceeded to spend the rest of the bus trip chatting, while I spent the rest of the trip pretending to understand. I said “ah, si” a lot while smiling. Then, in my attempt to participate in the conversation, I used my limited Spanish to tell her I liked her bracelet. So, she gave it to me. Whoops. I tried to explain that I just liked it, but did not want it, but she had already made up her mind that I should take it back to Canada.
I had woken up with a sore throat Saturday, so I was really excited to sleep in Sunday. However, I was woken up at ten after eight by one of the teachers, telling me I need to get up for the parade. It turns out Kindergarten Week ends with a parade. Of course. My second time ending up in a parade. A parade at 8:30 in the morning with 20 minutes notice. I dragged myself out of bed, less than impressed. I also got hit in the eye with a flagpole while there, so that’s what I get for my bad attitude. In the end, it didn’t take too long, and it was really cool to see all of the other schools that were also in the parade.
All of the schools were in uniform, and some even dressed in career costumes.
Above is one little boy from the career group…. Best career choice ever.
Even the town officials came out to see all the kindergarteners!
It is interesting that while this community is far from even “middle class” that many students attend private schools. The state system is not in great condition, and even those living in what we consider poverty do their best to send their child to a private school. The school I am teaching at, Strong Tower, is also a private school, but by no means what we understand to be a private school. The tuition here works out to be just over a dollar a day. The administration would love to charge nothing, but being a private school, they need a way to pay the teachers on staff, as well as provide basic school supplies. The kids wear uniforms, but the school sells them the shirt pocket with our school logo, and they just need a white top to sew the pocket onto and black bottoms. Compared to other schools in the community, ours is among the cheaper to attend.
For those students that cannot afford their tuition, the school works out a program for the mothers to do some cleaning around the school and pay off some of their bill. This is a great idea, but right now, the number of students actually paying their bill does not cover the costs of paying the staff.
This week, 3 students had to stop attending because they cannot afford to pay their bill. A dollar a day.
I love the kids here and it’s a really amazing school. They are teaching me way more than I could ever teach them. If you feel like giving even a little bit to help these kids continue their education, you can click here . Under a worker/project, you just write Strong Tower School, Peru, and it will go right to the school.
Thanks for reading, always.
XO – kb.