Thursday, November 30, 2006

Visit to possible new kids at the home, etc.

Back in October a social worker from on of the health centers called to talk to the director about a family that cannot send its girls to school. I was immediately interested as they are 5, 7 and 9 and have never been to school. This is just the kind of challenge I love and if we accept them I look forward to start preparing them to enter kinder and first grade. Today we went to visit them.
We took the car with the driver (a good thing - I would have been lost in about 2 minutes and the hills and the roads are challenging). After first meeting with the Social Worker, Yadira, she joined us and directed us near the house. She had to ask a number of time but we found a young teen carrying his baby brother who knew where they lived and guided us there. I had on my well treadeed river walking shoes (not that we walked in rivers but they are good in mud and it is still the rainy season) and one cane. Since my knees are a bit unhappy most of the time (they hurt) using a cane is a big help. We went down a steep muddy path and then were on the flat until we arrived at the house. The family are indiginas in the Embera tribe and everyone was home (no one was working and no one was in school). My job on these adventures is to get some idea of where the kids are academically - which I do very informally. My tools today were a notbook, a pencil and a box of memory game cards that visitors from the Doicese of Newark had brought when they visited a few weeks ago. I had a nice bucket to sit on and after smiling at the girls for a while I got out the cards and picked one (a green frog) held it up and asked what it was. The older one whispered rana - the right answer. I handed her the card and they all got more interested. Eventually the tree of them each had a number of cards and they had answered what they were and what color they were. It is possible they haven't seen pictures before but I imagine they have seen newspaper pages at some time. Then I held up the matching card and they started sorting through their cards to find a match. I also asked a question - for example - who has a turtle? After all the cards were out I took four pairs and spread them on my lap and showed them how to play memory. They kept the cards. As far as plaything went I saw a ball and the older girl had a small brown bear she was hugging. After that I invited each on to draw something in the notebook. (None could write - I think the family is completely without formal schooling. I don't know if their father could read or write because he was talking to the social worker and the director and showing them the girls health cards.) They are in a program that provided some hight calorie and high nutrition food but they all looked thin and malnourished.

The older girl drew a face with a smile and two eyes and two eyebrows. She needed gentle prompting to add a nose, ears and hair. The younger sister may never have held a pencil but after I took her hand and started a circle she drew one and then at the suggestion of her sister drew some curved lines to make it a ball. The youngest drew a circle two eyes and two legs.

Their oldest sister, who is 20, has never been to school.She told us that she would support having the girls come to the home. She also has an 8 year old daughter who she would like us to admit as well. Please pray that God will help them and us (the junta directiva) make the right decision.

In the after noon my friend Armando was here helping me with my book project and improving his English. He communicates well in English and I had him make sentences in the past tense (to improve pronunciation and review irregular verbs) using pictures in a pile and a pile of basic words. It makes him think hard. We also worked on reported speech - where some on says ¨The teacher said that we would have a test tomorrow.¨

School is winding down. One school had no classes today and two on Junior High has such good grades that they didn't have to take their exams!!! The kids played together well all afternoon - using the rollerblades we have and bicycles. They are good at finding ways to use the toys and things we have. Rosa Mari can now ride a bike!!!!!!! She is 10 this year and has learned to wash her clothes, the dishes, mop the floor, and iron her school uniform. Reading is a big challenge for her (she can read a few words this year).

Well, that is all for tonight.

The Christmas fiesta that was planned for tomorrow will now be on Sunday!

Tia Sue

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Today we have wonderful news about Yasuri! She passed algebra and so she will graduate from 9th grade on the 19 of December. I will be there with bells on. !!! School is basically over for the year for her. The others will continue to around the 15 of December.

We will have our first Christmas Fiesta on Friday around 6PM after school. Stay tuned for a first hand report on the festivities.