Something that continues to amaze me is how people solve problems. From using chalk to keep ants out of cabinets (must be reapplied generously), to using the momentum from pulling a homemade kite over a telephone wire to get it into the air, to using the outside of a pineapple to make juice, there are some creative and impressive solutions around.
One such example happened when Alyssa, Sam, and I went to visit James in Mompos. Mompos (or Mompox depending who you ask, including someone who lives there) is a beautiful little pueblo about five hours south of me. It’s known for its colonial buildings, wine, and ironwork. It’s a great place to visit!
On the way home, we got on a bus around 6:30am. Not too long after that, the bus stopped for a while. I thought someone said that there was a paro (a strike) but turns out a tree branch (palo) had fallen across the road. In my defense, I heard it in passing and they are quite similar in sound. The bus turned around and headed in a different direction. After a while, we stopped again and were asked to get off the bus. We were standing at the bank of a river. They were going to load us and a bus onto a lancha (boat) and pick up the route on the other side. We climbed on and a small boat pushed us along. It took some digging and setting up the ramp on both banks so the slopes were not too steep for the bus to drive on.
It might have taken a bit more time, but things don’t always go as planned. The good news, we got to the other side!
…but not all sing the same.
Baby shark do do do do do…
That’s right, some students were either really interested in English or really bored with the extended vacation time (almost an extra month off before school officially starts), and so we held a jam-packed English camp two weeks before the start of school! But let’s rewind. This idea came about when I first met Kelibeth, the teacher on the right. She is wonderful and speaks English very well. She has two young children and helps students in her neighborhood with their English homework. I had mentioned to her, probably six months ago, that if she was interested in running an English camp with me, to let me know. Come November, she reminded me! We got to work right after that, planning to run a week-long camp before school began. Julian, the teacher on the left, also works with students after school to support different classes, including English. Both of them are in my community English classes. They were both on board and we met to plan and prepare materials.
Day 1 focused on greetings and then we moved on through family, likes/dislikes, and personality. We met from 2:30pm to 4:30pm each afternoon. The week ended with the students doing interviews and singing the baby shark song. If you don’t know it, look it up. It’s awesome. But very very catchy…so proceed with caution.
We had a bit of a rough start with a few of the students having some “communication issues” with each other. That we worked out as the week progressed. Teaching with Kelibeth and Julian was great. They were a solid team to be on, sharing the facilitation and the behavior management. One of Peace Corps major goals is sustainability. Kelibeth and Julian will definitely continue doing interesting and educational activities in San Jacinto…sustainability in action! I was lucky to have the chance to work with them and some of the students they work with. Now it’s time for school to officially begin. Vamos!