Our Skype date with Canada!

Today, my first grade class got to Skype Canada. One of my best friends, Amy Scuka, teaches grade 5 in Moose Jaw. We have been planning to do this since I arrived and we were finally able to make it work! It was so exciting!

Miss Scuka 🙂

The kids were able to take turns saying hello and introducing themselves in English. I swear it was the quietest my class had ever been while they waited for their turns. The grade five class greeted each of the children. After, Miss Scuka’s class took turns asking questions. Eventually our internet cut out, but with only 4 minutes left in class anyway. Miss Scuka’s class had some more questions that they never got to ask, so I thought I would answer them here, so I could easily show them pictures as well!

My amazing map skills…

The grade fives!

Here they are:

1.       What city are you guys in?

We are in a small town called Pueblo Nuevo. It is very hot, dry, and dusty here! We are about an hour from the Pacific ocean. It looks like this:

This is the view of our town from the roof!

This is the street our school is on!

2.       Does your school have a playground?

Our school DOES have playground! The kids love to play on it.

Here is our playground.

3.       What is their first language?

Their first language is Spanish, mostly. Some of the children that have lived in the mountains can also speak a language called Quechua.

4.       Do you have recess?

We do have recess! The kids have a break around noon for an hour and then go back to class for an hour. It is a little strange!

5.       What do they do in their free time for fun? Games?

The kids love to play soccer! The girls like to play volleyball! In school, when we have free time, they love to do play dough, and everyone here loves to sing songs and dance!

Play dough

Playing Dance/Freeze

6.       How long is the school day?

The school day begins at 8:00 am and we finish class at 2:00 pm for the day – So a little earlier than you!

7.       Do you have phys ed?

We do have Phys Ed! Most of the classes have Phys Ed on Wednesdays. We don’t have a gym but they do their games or sports outside.

8.       How many teachers are there?

There are two teachers in 3 year olds, in pre-kindergarten and in kindergarten, and then every other grade just has one teacher. Then, I am the English teacher and the students come to my class for one period a day for English. Plus there are a few helpers in the classrooms, so there is about 15 of us.

9.       How many other classrooms are in your school? What grades?

There is a 3 year old class, a pre-kindergarten class, a kindergarten class, and then grades 1-4. Our school is new and each year they add a grade, so next year we will have grade five, too!

Here are some of the 4 yr olds!

10.   Does everyone in your city go to school? Are there other schools?

Most kids do go to school! They even like to send their kids to school at 3 years old – they are SO little! There are a few schools in our town. Some are private and some are public. The public schools here are not like in Canada. Many of them are not very good schools, so many students, even poor students, go to private schools so they can get a good education. In the mountains, it is harder for kids to go to school because there aren’t very many. Sometimes kids come down from the mountains and work as housekeepers for people just so they can go to school.

11.   How many students are in your class? How many boys and girls?

I teach 5 different classes of English, and I have about 20-25 students in each class! So altogether I teach about 112 kids. The classes are pretty even with boys and girls, except grade 2 – they have 17 boys and 5 girls!!

12.   How well do they speak English?

Different kids can speak different amounts of English. I speak lots of English to them, and they usually understand what I say. They know things like, “Sit down, stand up, be quiet, good job, line up, come here” and other things like that. But they also know lots of other words. For example, we have just been studying animals, so they know many animal names in English. They also know their colours, numbers, and ABCs. So they know lots of words, but I think many of them would have a hard time having a conversation with you because they don’t always know how to make sentences with all of their words.

13.   What is the name of your school?

The name of our school is Strong Tower.

14.   Do they live in dorms?

They don’t live in dorms, but the school grounds has high walls around it, and we also have a Children’s Home here for kids without a home. So some of the kids that live in the Children’s Home come to school right here! So that is like living right on campus!

This is the Children’s Home

15.   Why do you wear uniforms?

All of the schools here wear uniforms. I don’t really know why. It is something in Peruvian culture that is very common!

These are our uniforms!

Thanks again grade five for Skyping us! We were so happy to meet you!

Life is beautiful.

It has been a looong time since I posted! The days go by too quickly, with too much to do! My time in Peru is quickly coming to an end, and I will be back home two weeks from today (unless something goes terribly wrong with my flights, which would not even be a little surprising).

I will leave the school where I am teaching next week Friday to travel to Cusco for a few days. I am so excited about this, as I had really wanted to see Machu Picchu, but I didn’t have the money and I didn’t want to travel alone. However, there is a family here right now from the States with their three small children and they are going down, and invited me to join them! It worked out so perfectly because they have already booked places to stay and I can just stay with them!

Little baby Solomon, who I posted about previously, is the happiest baby around. The doctor has decided he’s closer to nine months old, rather than the 5 or 6 months they thought previously. He’s gained weight since arriving and is everybody’s favourite new attraction.

 

We went out to visit some pre-Incan pyramid ruins this past weekend, and it was absolutely amazing! Again, the museum was all in Spanish – so I was out of luck! But there was far more to see at this site! We got to see different excavation sites, as well as many of the things removed from the tombs! Val, I thought about your museum fetish and you would have been fascinated.

Some nice face jewelry…

Sample excavation site.

Fun fact: If you were married to an important guy (or were one of his concubines), when he died, you got buried with him. Sometimes, they graciously killed the woman first, or sometimes they would bury her alive. Some of the excavations have found caskets with the insides all scratched out. Creepy, right?

I also feel I am just starting to get a handle on the language – maybe that is an overstatement. I do understand quite a bit, but I can’t speak as much as I understand, which is frustrating. This whole language journey has been so challenging. I have worked so much with ESL students, young and old, and I have a whole new appreciation for the effort it takes to learn a language. I have not learned nearly as much as I would have liked to here, but I am too busy to sit down and study it, so I only pick up what I am hearing. I am also learning how much of a visual learner I am, compared to an auditory learner. I hear so many words every day, but it isn’t until someone writes it down for me that I am able to remember what it means. I need to actually see the words written down. Needless to say, my admiration for additional language learners has multiplied astronomically.

Shula

Another volunteer has just arrived on the compound from AFRICA! Her name is Shula, and she is our new roommate. She will be staying in the house after the house parents, Bob and Janet, return to America in two weeks. She is incredible. She studied Community Development at university in South Africa and also attended a college in the States. She has worked with an AIDS organization in Mozambique and even started her own school in her village. We got to visit this morning when she first arrived, and she told me how much she loves Coldstone ice cream. It was then I knew we’d be best friends.

This last week, my younger students moved on from animals to insects. It was a really fun theme to do with them! One day, the girls coloured pictures of butterflies, and the boys coloured Spiderman pictures – which they asked to colour every day that week. We ended the week with a bug hunt! The students were paired and had plastic bags for their specimen. They were so excited.

Bug Hunters!

We caught crickets!

Aaaand more crickets..!

And another cricket…

And those are probably crickets too.

BUT, also a dragonfly!

It’s a…. SPIDERMAN?

Only after the first spider was caught did I realize my major mistake… Juan held up his spider and yelled, “MISS KAILEE! IT’S A SPIDERMAN!” I could only shake my head, “No, Juan, it’s a SPIDER.” Toothless grin: “SI, A SPIDERMAN.” This was followed by other students screaming that they also found Spidermen. So if you ever meet a Peruvian that thinks spiders are called Spiderman, it’s likely that I taught them.

While the kids usually understand my English and I usually understand their Spanish, I was also reminded of the potential for misunderstanding in fourth grade this week. They are still studying animal habitats, and we had just played a game, in which there was a tie. As a tie breaker, I thought we could do a mini Pictionary contest, and one student from each team could participate. I explained that both students would be drawing the same picture on the board and whatever team could guess the picture first would win. I took the two students outside and told them they were to draw a lion.  I asked them if they understood. They said yes. They came back into the classroom, stood at the board, and on the count of three… they both wrote the word “lion” on the board. I’m still laughing about it.

Some of my beautiful fourth graders:

The younger grades have now moved onto to action words. Our new favorite game, (which is highly entertaining), is Dance/Freeze. We listen to music and dance, and when the music stops, we freeze. We are learning about dancing, which is an action word, so it’s very educational.

Well, I have officially learned all of my students names – all 112 of them! Just in time to leave…  I have grown to love all of them so much, it has been an incredible experience being able to learn with them and having to leave will be really hard. I have also had a chance to see a lot of them outside of school, as Karen and I go walking in the town most afternoons. As we walk down the dirt roads, it is not uncommon to run into 5 or 6 of my students. They are usually covered in dirt from their heads to their toes (it is impossible to stay clean here because it’s so dusty), and they always come running and screaming, “Miss Kailee! Miss Kailee!” I’m not going to lie, it kind of warms my heart; I get so excited to see them.

Seeing them on the streets also reminds how different their lives have been from mine. Their lives are different, but beautiful. I don’t know how to explain it. There is so much beauty everywhere, and sometimes we get caught up allowing our differences to define and divide us. We choose not to see the beauty in our differences. We choose not to celebrate the many colours and shapes and sizes and smells and tastes that make us who we are. We create “us and them” mentalities, and we forget that even in our differences, we share a common humanity. This happens on a large scale between nations and cultures, and this happens every day in our lives as we come into contact with people. We can choose to build walls, or we can choose to break them down. We can choose to see people as entirely different than ourselves, or we can appreciate the fact that we are all walking this road together.

Life, wherever or however it looks, is beautiful.  We just need to choose to see it.

For a dollar a day.

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.

ICPNA

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!

See? We make vowels.

And write our names.

… And make jewellery. She told me she was getting married. I told her he must be rich.

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.

Gemelo and Gemelo.

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.

My new friendship bracelet.

Nyasa, me, Katie, Lindsay, Karen

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.

Girl on the left looking about as impressed as me to be in a parade at 8:30 am…

All of the schools were in uniform, and some even dressed in career costumes.

Friendly neighbourhood super man.

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.

1 month down, 1 month to go!

I have officially been here one month, with one more month to go! It is amazing how quickly time has gone, and how at home I feel here (don’t worry, mom, I promise I am coming back!) We just got a new volunteer on the compound, Karen, and that is what has made me realize how comfortable I have grown here. I am able to show her around and explain to her things about the agriculture or the city that only a month ago somebody explained to me! Then, there are other things she asks, like “what is that person saying?” and I have no idea usually. But, it’s kind of nice to not be the only person who can’t speak the language!

Karen from Pennsylvania!

I honestly wish I had more time here to learn the language. I am still learning it, and picking up little bits every day just from listening, but I wish I could take a class or some lessons, or even just have more time that I could study it on my own. I am so busy with planning, teaching, and working in the house, that when 9:00 pm hits, I am usually on my way to bed!

We got a new girl in my house this week – a little twelve year old girl, who looked about nine. She had come from the mountains, but had come down to the city to get “an education,” which means she was sold as a “housekeeper.” This is not uncommon around here, and many of these situations end up being abusive. She was removed from the house and walked into our place on Sunday night, terrified. She cried silently at the dinner table, and held my hand underneath. Within a day, she was smiling and giggling with the other little girls. And then, as fast as she was here, she was gone. Her parents came down from the mountains to take her home. It’s hard to know what that situation will be like, but she was welcomed warmly here, fed, loved, and even if only for a day, I think it will be a kindness she will remember.

Teaching this week has been better. It’s easy to make everything seem peachy in a blog post, but I have struggled with some of the classes. The grade 2 class in particular has always been challenging for Hannah and since switching over, it has been no different for me. The class is large and has 22 boys and 5 girls. There are some major respect issues in the class, and it is not uncommon for 4 or 5 of the boys to have to leave the class on a daily basis because they are fighting or yelling or pushing or just plain not listening.

I think part of it is the classroom, because it’s really small, and they all sit at little tables and chairs that they are way too squished into, and they’re in each other’s space. They are also busy little boys that need something to do with their hands, and they don’t always have the opportunity to do that. So, this week, we are studying animals, and we decided they should get to make some animals with play dough on Monday (The four year olds also did play dough on Monday, and only one ate it, which I thought was positive. He quickly realized his error, and spit it on the table…)

The grade two boys were changed men. They were so excited about getting to make these animals, we had the calmest, most well-behaved children that I had ever seen. We also positively reinforced (aka bribed) them with letting them listen to music while they worked, which they were thrilled with.

Victor’s Bird

It’s a fish!

Teamwork Elephant – especially impressive from these two!

Paul’s pink elephant!

Longest snake champion.

I feel like I am still figuring out what works and doesn’t work with them. They are eager to please, and really do thrive on positive reinforcement, so I spent a lot of time this week with a huge smile on my face saying things like, “OHMYGOODNESS, look at you colour! That is amazing!! I love your purple bird!! You are doing a GREAT job!” while Hannah laughed her head off at the back of the room. However, two of the boys that usually caused a lot of trouble, were giving me high fives every 10 seconds about their good colouring… which was a definite improvement from pushing each other off of their chairs.

All of the other classes this week also studied animals. It is nice that the curriculums follow some of the same themes. Kindergartener’s got to colour and cut animals and glue them to their habits, and grade ones learned about jungle animals, and also about the letter “Hh.” Although the kids are a lot younger than I have worked with in while, I am really enjoying the teaching here.

Animals & Habitats

All finished!

Making a letter “Hh” book!

An itsy bitsy book!

Friday was parent-teacher interviews which if I could describe in one word, it would be: hilarious. I didn’t say much, because I can’t speak the language, and because Hannah has been with the kids a lot longer. But I watched as one mother swung her hand back and forth while talking to Hannah. After she left, Hannah said, “she said if her kid is misbehaving, just hit him. She won’t be mad and she won’t tell anyone.” Another mom told Hannah if her little girl wasn’t listening, just pull really hard on her ear. I wonder how well that would go over in Canada…

Our last starbucks run into the city!

Also, it is Hannah’s last weekend here before returning to America! It is sad in a few ways! She has become a good friend, and I have enjoyed spending time with her outside of the classroom! BUT, she is also a HUGE help in the classroom, and she has the Spanish skills that I don’t have to communicate with the kids! So I think next week will be very … interesting. I have the classes for 4 weeks before she returns! I told her if the grade twos tell her I just let them do play dough every day that she shouldn’t believe them. But, I feel like it’s a good option.

XO – kb.

Fat, Beautiful, and Full of Life.

We have come to the end of Mother’s Week. I am not kidding, it is a holiday that rivals Christmas here in Ferrenafe. The Peruvians love a good celebration.

With the kids this week, we worked on Mother’s Day songs and crafts. I am a terrible singer, but Hannah likes singing even less, so I led the kids in very off key Mother’s Day songs to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down and Oh Christmas Tree (which has a very high part in the middle that I would mouth rather than sing…I don’t think they noticed)

Our crafts turned out great. The kindergarten through grade 2 classes made these flowers for their moms with their pictures in the middle. While the end product was really cute, crafts take so much time to prepare and so much time to clean up, and yet only minutes to complete – I have a great deal of respect for elementary school teachers! We also had a minor breeze problem in our class, blowing tissue paper throughout the room. However, the kids were pretty excited to take their masterpieces home!

Pedro!

Then, Friday was the BIG DAY – the Mother’s Day program for the families to attend. The place was packed! The kids were decked out in their finest with 5 year olds looking like they were going to prom.

Hannah tried to explain to me what a big deal this was, but I had no idea until I saw it myself! Each of the classes performed a song and/or dance with their homeroom classes in Spanish. These were elaborate! Costumes, gloves, hair nets, and banners all included!

The grade ones were even dressed in different career costumes. I honestly couldn’t tell you what their song was about, but they were definitely the best dressed!

Ice Cream Seller

Our English classes performed in between. I can’t say they sang all the words… but they were sure cute! The grade fours were super excited to hold up their signs that said, “I L-O-V-E Y-O-U.” As you can see, in spite of multiple practices during the week, Martin still forgot which way an “E” goes…

I was especially proud of my little roommate, Perla. She has been living in the children’s home for about year, since her mother died of cancer. As you might guess, Mother’s Day is an especially sensitive holiday for her. She cried several times this week during practices, sitting on my knee as I cried too. My heart broke for her. But, she is a strong and courageous little girl, and on Friday she got up and sang her heart out. She told me she knew her mom heard her.  I have no doubt that she did.

We also got two new kids at the children’s home! Both went to the bottom house. Rita is nine and she arrived on Thursday evening. We also received a new baby boy on Saturday! He was abandoned on a bridge, and that’s all I know. He’s about 6 months old, and Carol named him Solomon. He is the absolute cutest thing!

Yesterday I survived yet another trip into Chiclayo. I am totally serious, I am actually surprised every time I make it back without dying in car accident. Let me explain to you the rules of the road where I am. In the city, there are occasionally lights at intersections. The lights are not like lights in Canada, but they are all placed in a traffic circle that you cut into, honk your horn, pray no one smashes into you, and, if you’re lucky, somehow make it out the other side. But, these traffic lights are few and far between. Stop signs for busy streets? No, just uncontrolled intersections. And this is how you maneuver them: drive, honk your horn and if you’re there first, you go. And if two cars approach the intersection close to the same time at a perpendicular angle (which happens often), it’s really just a game of chicken. You stick your nose out far enough, you honk, and you go. Or, if you’re on the single lane highway, and you want to pass the car in front of you, you just do it. If there’s oncoming traffic, they just move over, and three of you fill the width of the road, sometimes with a moto (motorcycle carriage) on the shoulder. I am honestly still trying to figure out why I haven’t witnessed more accidents.

Hannah, Katie, Me, Lily

Mashed potato cheesy ball

Any way, you have to see it to believe it. Yesterday, Katie, Hannah, and I went into town for lunch with Lily, the kindergarten teacher at school. We arrived at 10 am, accompanied her to the grocery store, came back, peeled potatoes, shelled peas, mashed potatoes, moved from the dining to the living room 5 times, and ate at about 2 pm. Eating dinner is an event! We ate a delicious mashed potato ball thing with some milky cheesy sauce. How’s that for description? They told me the name in Spanish probably 10 times, but I don’t remember.  Then, after this huge mashed potato ball, we were served a heaping plate of rice and a piece of chicken. It was all yummy, but my stomach is only so big. I did my best, I honestly did. When I thought I was going to burst, Lily asked, “Do you only eat a little in Canada too?” And I had eaten at least half of my rice mountain! I can’t keep up! She also said, “We have a saying in Spanish to compliment a woman: ‘fat, beautiful, and full of life!’ If you keep eating like us, soon you will be fat, beautiful, and full of life!” I told her I’d aim for two out of three.

And, on the way home, we stopped for ice cream. So I’ll let you decide which two.

XO – kb

Busy busy busy!

Well, I am currently sweating to the point that I feel like I just did a Jillian Michael’s workout video… Only I don’t have washboard abs to show for it. I spent the afternoon in Chiclayo, which means I have to figure out all my school stuff just now. And it’s dark and cooler, which also means the mosquitoes are vicious. So, in an effort to avoid them, I am wearing a zipped hoodie and jeans and working in the dark. It is definitely not cool enough for that, nor am I coordinated enough to work in the dark. What I’m trying to say is, I will be here a long time tonight!

I love getting to go into the city, but it eats up so much of the day by the time you get back and forth, and everything in between. It also doesn’t help that everyone goes to bed at 8 around here, it makes the day feel so short! We had a busy weekend around here, so I feel like I am still recovering!

On Friday was Claudia’s birthday (my room mate), and she turned 7 years old! We got to have a birthday party, complete with Janet’s homemade chocolate cake! The house downstairs came up, as did the other teachers on the farm. Little Claudia got spoiled, even receiving a Build-A-Bear, that Janet had picked up when she was home in the States. There were lots of giggles and everyone was so wired on pop I’m not sure they slept at all that night!

The Birthday Girl

Saturday, Tom and Carol, the directors of Morning Star, gave the house parents the  day off, and they, along with Katie, Hannah, and I took the kids on the compound on an outing. We first went to see pyramids not far from Chiclayo. While the pictures may look like giant anthills, a closer look reveals the multiple layers, and the adobe that was used to build them. If you get up close to some of the rubble that has eroded, you can find pieces of pottery that was buried in the tombs – very interesting! There was a museum on site as well, but everything was written in Spanish.. So I just took some pictures instead.

Perla & Daphna

After stopping for lunch, we headed to the beach! I was really excited about this part, as I am from the middle of nowhere, Saskatchewan. They warned me that it was nothing spectacular, but being a prairie girl, I am easy to please. Anything better than Buffalo Pound is paradise really. And, I wasn’t disappointed! The beach front was complete with little diners and tables selling all sorts of beachy jewellery. The kids were also excited to play in the waves after a long day in the car. The tide was pretty rough, but it didn’t stop them from chasing the waves in and out.

Little Edwin ready for the waves.

The kids were also bizarrely excited to find a dead dolphin washed up on shore. Apparently, dolphins and pelicans have been dying along the northern coast of Peru, and they are still looking into why that is.

Then, we were back to school today after a very busy weekend! I am growing more confident in the classroom, and it has helped learning the kids’ names. I don’t have them all down yet, but I’m getting there! The pre-Ks and kindergarten are learning about animals this week, and today we played the best game (in my opinion). We were outside, and I would hold up the picture of an animal, and the students had to reach the other wall, acting like that animal. While this isn’t actually a “game,” the little kids loved it, and it was highly entertaining for both Hannah and myself. Bryan took this so seriously that he took ages getting to other side as he shuffled and flapped his wings like a bird, or kicked his feet like a horse. I should have taken a video – it was hilarious.

Bryan… the bird.

All the other birds. He’s an original….

Well, I have few more things to photocopy before tomorrow, which will come way too early! Keep you posted!

XO – kb

Zancudos!

“Zancudos” – what the Peruvians call mosquitoes. They are constantly pointing at my legs and shaking their heads: “Oh! Zancudos!” My mosquito bites now blister when I get them. I have heard that there are two kinds of mosquitoes here and one makes you blister. I’m not sure if that’s true, but if not, I’m having some sort of allergic reaction instead and now have blistery mosquito bites. Apparently making me itch wasn’t enough for them!

I am coming to the end of my first week teaching! It has been awesome, but challenging. I have spent hours planning things this week, but it gets easier and faster every time. Some of things they like to do, I wouldn’t have expected and other things I expect them to like, they’re not interested in! It’s been a bit of trial and error, but I feel like I am getting to know the students, and I’m beginning to feel comfortable in the classroom. The names are still a struggle, but I learn a few more every day. And, the ones that misbehave were the easiest to learn. Funny how that happens… 🙂

The 4 and 5 year olds worked on colours and foods this week. The highlight was painting with apples, which we did today. We used both red and green apples, using red and green paint. There is a lot of teacher-talk in the Peruvian classroom, even at ages 4 and 5, so it was cool to see them get to do this activity fairly autonomously and with a high level of engagement.

Apple Prints!

Jorge (Hor-hey) takes this task prrrrretty seriously.

All finished!

As far as my home life here, I have been living with an American couple in the upper level of the children’s home. However, the wife was back visiting in America until last night, so we just met! She is a lovely lady, making popcorn for breakfast and peanut butter cookies (my favorite) in the afternoon. Remember when I went to Africa and came back a little chubby? Well… Let’s just say, I’m not getting any smaller here.

Here, being my house. I live on the second floor of this duplex with a couple, a teenager, two little girls, and two babies! FULL house.

Having her home also means the babies in this house are a lot happier. Below are my two house mates, Daniel (two and a half) and Andrew (one and a half). Since I have arrived, they have been two teary eyed little boys, but they are changed men today! They are sure happy to have their foster mom back home again.

Daniel

Andrew

The boys aren’t the only ones around here missing their mom. Yesterday was the first day I felt a little homesick. I’ve been loving every minute here, but I’ve felt the first pangs of homesickness. I miss my mom today most of all. Most of us go through a phase in our lives when we think, “gosh, if I turn out like my mom, I think I might die.” And maybe some of you still feel that way! I, too, have felt that way in the past. But, as I grow older, I realize what an incredible, talented, strong woman my mom is. She does not apologize for the person that she is, and she can even seem intimidating with her strong front. But beneath the surface is a compassionate woman who has taught me how to love people, not with words, but with actions. She is inspiring in her continual commitment to putting others first. Her unspoken dedication to living generously, in every sense of the word, with people is something I always admire. While she is not quick to praise or express herself in words, she is the woman buying socks for Christmas for all of her refugee babies at work. She is loved by more people, and has touched more lives, than she will truly ever know. Gosh, if I turn out like my mom, I will be forever grateful. Mom, I miss you.

XO kb.