Friday, September 28, 2007

second week thoughts

It seems that I always have a story once each day has come to a close, though time permits me in getting something posted every evening. Below is one highlight from the week.

Each child is required to pay 50 pesos for registration. This is the equivalent of $1.50, and is really just to show us that the parents are willing to give to help in the education of their children and show that they are generally interested and will make the effort. The finances in which we use to purchase supplies and school materials comes from you people who make donations from the states.

Our preschool children have already received a backpack and school uniform (which includes Makarios shirt, khaki pants, and underwear). Every child in our programs will also receive a tooth brush and notebook, in addition to a snack each day. As of right now, we do not have enough funds to run each of our programs so we are using the dollar fifty from each child.

On Wednesday two of my older students, Francia and Yoslena, approached me while we were crossing the river to go to class. I had warned them the other day that if their parents do not pay the 50 pesos that they could not continue coming to the school (trying to teach responsibility is such a pain). Francia told me that she and Yoslena had collected bottles and turned them in for change, and she handed me some coins and some small bills that amounted to 50 pesos, 25 pesos per girl, that they had made so they could come to school. I was so touched.

I was perfectly content with allowing that to be sufficient, but on Thursday the girls turned in the other 50 pesos. There are 6 children in Yoslena's family, and not all have paid. It has been two weeks into the program, and we are not wanting to cut kids from the list, but there are a few parents who have not completed their children's registration by paying the fee. We will see what happens come Monday.

Monday, September 24, 2007

first week thoughts

Thought Number 1- PE classes taught in English

One day last week when my class was outside with Weston during P.E., he was teaching them how to play "Red light, green light." One way that we are implementing English into the school is teaching classes in English, as opposed to having classes that teach English. Physical Education is one class that we decided would be appropriate to teach in English.

After using colored construction paper to show the colors red and green and what each color signified, he had them line up and yelled out in English if they were ready. Most at the kids starred back at him not having a clue what he was saying. However, one of my students, Sili, who knew a little English, and coincidentally the phrase "I am ready," stood in a position ready to run with a big smile on his face and yelled out the English phrase, "I am ready!"

Weston had to explain to the rest of the class that "ready" meant "listos." All the kids yelled out "Si!!" and he corrected them by saying "Yes!" While the class yelled this out, which sounded more like "jes," Sili yelled out the phrase, "I am ready!" again with a big smile plastered on his face.

As the game continued and each new round started, when Weston yelled out, "Ready? Are you guys ready?," Sili responded "I am ready" as he stood in the ready position with a huge smile on his face. Each time Weston asked, Sili replied the same three words over and over again. Are you picturing this?

It became a sort of constant (and humorous) beat:

Weston: Ready?
Sili: I am ready!
Class: Jes.

Weston: Ready?
Sili: I am ready!
Class: Jes.

Weston: Ready?
Sili: I am ready!
Class: Jes.

We should write a song.

Thought Number 2- Why the Dominican Republic still reminds me of "Little House on the Prairie"

Each day for each class, we walk from the school to Pancho Mateo to pick up the kids. We have not gotten enough sponsorship for each child, nor funds in our budget to pick up and drop off the kids for class. A river separates Pancho Mateo from our school house, so six times a day we hike up our pants and skirts and cross the river round up the kids, then walk them to the river. Once we get to the river, one of two things happens. One, we form an assembly line across the river and pass off each child one after the other until reaching the other side. Two, we put one or two kids on our backs and cross the river carrying them, drop them off, then return to carry more. If only we had a wagon to ford so we could all cross in one trip!

Speaking of wagons, the transportation of Chichigua kids is just as humorous. Chichigua is not walking distance to the school, and therefore we were concerned about how to get the students there. Chichigua sits about a mile off the main road down a small rocky road that puts a lot of wear and tear on our guagua (van). This also costs a lot of valuable time and money (on gas) to make three round trips. For a little while we did not think that we would be able to bring the Chichigua kids because of this financial reason. My heart was sad because I knew how excited all the kids were to start class. We collectively decided to bring the Chichigua kids and trust that finances would come. Here comes the funny part. Since the guagua is not in the best condition and since gas is expensive, we jokingly talked about having a horse drawn buggy of some sort cart the kids to the main road so picking them up would be a lot more convenient! This joke soon began to sound not so silly and we mentioned the idea to the parents. It is a project in the works!

Monday, September 17, 2007

grandma is off her rocker

because classes have begun!

los dientes de un cerdo

While picking up trash and tree branches in the back of the school property to clear a space to have PE classes, I found this on the ground. They are teeth from a pig. Yeah, that's right.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Here are some pictures of the progress of our school and the people helping to build it. Classes were tentatively supposed to start on Monday, we are hoping though to open a week from the 10th if not the following week.

Monday, September 03, 2007

lil' abner

As many of you know through your experience here or because of the stories I have told, our car that we drove this past year was not quite up to par. I don't think that I have ever mentioned much about our Pathfinder on the blog, so I will do that now.

We have given the name Lil' Abner to our wonderful jepeta, not Abner, not Little Abner, Lil' Abner. You see, our land lord is named Abner and he is an interesting character. He gives us some problems on occasion because for a while there he never paid any attention to all the problems we raised about the house, for example awful filtration problems. So, we kept paying rent each month and he would never come and fix the things he was supposed to. Essentially, he gave us problems. Now, our car did too. Alexia and I paid rent on him each month, but things kept going wrong so he was always in the shop. Hence the name, Lil' Abner.

Also, I might add, during the time we chose the name, we were on a musical kick (and maybe still are...) and would often times break out into song throughout the day. For those of you who don't know, Lil' Abner is the name of a musical. The character Lil' Abner is strong and handsome, but is dumb and lacks any sense of emotional ties (particularly love) because of the medicine he takes daily. He can easily be paralleled with our jepeta in that the Pathfinder is a pretty big car and looks pretty, but like the musical's character is completely annoying and frustrating. Lil' Abner, where's the love?

With that being said, I would like to discuss the character traits of our own Lil' Abner. Here are some precautions if you ever want una bola (a ride) en la jepeta:

1. beware of getting bonked in the head, the trunk does not stay open unless you hold it up
2. prepare for a little accapela, the radio does not work
3. like every other place in the country, there is no working AC
4. ten cuidado when you are driving because the horn no sirve, but no worries we have an air horn
5. hope you are flexible because the driver's door doesn't open so you have to climb through the passenger side
6. the driver's side window used to not roll down, then it wouldn't roll up, now it is cracked, being propped up by a stick
7. therefore don't offer to drive because the driver gets no air circulation and when it rains you get a little wet
8. the outside handle of the driver's door broke off, so even if it could open, you wouldn't be able to from the outside
9. know your numbers, we have to count off before unlocking the door, if you're not quick enough the doors will lock back before you can get it opened, so get the rhythm down to a t.
10. the emergency break stopped working, so don't park on a hill
11. going into 1st gear is like arm wrestling with Hercules, pray that you've got strength because it is dang hard to move
12. the gas door sometimes doesn't close, which is fun because it gives the car wings (well, at least one)
13. the gas gage is always on empty, hope you don't run out
14. it is likely you could star in a motion picture if in proximity of the car, remember our rendition of Little Miss Sunshine?
15. basically if you can drive this car, pat yourself on the back because you got skill

people that have learned this skill in country: alexia and camille -> constance -> robin -> weston (sort of)

As you can see, the problems have accrued to such heights that it is really not wise to drive it, not to mention pretty dangerous. This past weekend when most of us were in Santiago, Phillip, Kurt, and Andy were at the house. They planned to go to 27 Waterfalls on Saturday. However, on the way Lil' Abner died and was towed to the mechanics. I think that was the last straw because we are not going to pay to get it fixed, so we have seen the last days of our lil' friend.

So, here is to you Lil' Abner, as we bid you good night.
"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
Goodbye... goodbye... goodbye..."