Monday, September 24, 2012

Joy in this Place

I am feeling much better and we had a great day at school. (we being me and my second graders). Unfortunately my sickness spread to my roommates and Molly stayed at home sick today. All of us chipped in to cover her classes for her. Faye and I collectively decided as well that Molly's 3rd Grade class A is the worst. She was very surprised by this, but we assured her that those lovely little third graders act as though you do not exist and carry on with whatever they are doing at their desks without paying any attention to the teacher. Selfishly we are glad that Molly is coming back to school tomorrow. (PS Molly you know that we love your kids anyway :))

My kids, my second graders were very good today. (Fingers crossed we are on the right track). I am getting the hang of things, feeling like we can get in a groove. I am learning every day of the large gaps in the level of the children and their ability to complete basic things. For example numbers, days of the week, months etc. These are all things these children should come to 2nd grade knowing and they do not. So I have taken a few steps back and want to make sure my kids have a good solid foundation to then dive more deeply into our books. Our books are US books published so they often do not best suit the children or their learning level. All of us are learning to be both creative and flexible. 

My kids as well today made their Healthy Habits books in Science. I have decided that not only do I hope to teach these kids the core subjects and make them the smartest kids in school :) (Kidding, but seriously) I want to make sure they learn important habits and establish some core values. Today we talked about nutrition and what are healthy things to eat. Living in this country you will see that the diet and lifestyle does not support health. This country being one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest in Central America, means that any food is a life living and the resources to practice eating well are not as readily available. If I do anything this year, I hope to love the kids well, set an example for them, teach them to respect themselves and others, and take care of the bodies they have been given. Kids can learn their numbers anytime or how to spell from anyone, but I hope they leave each day knowing they matter, that they are important and that although they test my patience I love them dearly. These children live and are raised in a world unfathomable to me......

For example in In 2011 there were 86.5 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants, according to figures of the state Human Rights Commission, making this country one of the most violent in the Americas. 
Or even more shocking, 19.4 homicides per day, during 2011. 

I say all of this not to make you scared for me, (mom yes you can sleep tonight, my moms friends and family and all my second moms reading you can sleep soundly too). I feel safe. I feel at home here, which is strange and good all at the same time. This country suffers from some of the worst poverty, worst violence, a history of natural disasters (hurricanes causing long term damage to the economy) and AIDS. However this country has also become my home, it will be the 3rd longest place I have ever lived, 3rd behind Colorado and Kentucky. This place has beauty in the midst of the poor, the hungry, the children, the elderly.....

Faye and I were talking tonight about how for the first time at school today we feel like we are starting to enjoy it. We feel like we are getting the hang of our kids, our classrooms, where we are heading with them. Life here has also become more of a reality. We are familiar with how things work, the grocery store, buying fruit and vegetables at the stands, our house, the school.....You get used to the thunderstorms in the afternoon, the lightening that lights up your bedroom, bugs everywhere, flies in the kitchen, screaming/ crying children next door, the roosters crowing in the morning, the stray dogs, our friendly neighborhood drunks who hang outside our house, the unorganized school, fried chicken served for every meal, our hot classrooms with one small fan, our ugly yellow polos we must wear to school each day, the blistering heat, the trash everywhere in the streets, in the homes, the faces of our kids, the adorable blue uniforms.... you get used to it all.. its the beauty in this place really. This is what makes us feel so at home. 

So from my new home to yours, feeling very very full of joy to be here.. To be the one loving on these kids in the midst of a country and world that is so broken I hope you find comfort knowing that even in the midst of this place, God is still so good. So so good. We often hear the singing from the church on Sunday at our house, it is the most beautiful sound, distant and faint but so honest and yet still praising God for his goodness.. I hope you may do the same.

I think my kids deserve the world and if I cannot give it to them, I sure as hell will try to make them feel like the most special kids in the world.

With love

Me on our way to the beach two weeks ago. Looking out the window at the sun coming up.

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