For the first two weeks of my senior project, I will be working in Nicaragua at a learning center associated with a company known as “La Esperanza Granada.” At the learning center, volunteers work in different areas of education and help kids with homework and school topics. I’ll give you a little summary about how my trip here has been over the past few days.
So I landed in Managua on Sunday at about 8:00 pm and drove with my mom and grandfather for about an hour to our hostal, El Arca de Noe, in Granda. The next morning I woke up and headed to an orientation, where the volunteer coordinator told us all about the program and gave us tours at each of the fours schools associated with the company. I have five new friends now: 3 chicana girls around my age from Chicago- Paola (22), Adrianna (21), and Karla (18), a girl named Nina from Finland (30), and a guy from Australia named Jonathan or Jonno (24). It is so amazing seeing that we all came from different places of the world to teach something we love in a place that truly needs it.
The kids had class in very cramped rooms with up to 50 kids (maximum). During my visit at the last school, I was walking with my friend, Paola, and right as we were about to leave, we noticed a kid rubbing a rock on his arm. It turned out that he was trying to carve his name into his arm with the rock, and I saw that he had other marks and scars there too. We told him to stop; I asked him to give me the rock and he gave it to me, then Paola told him “Tu cuerpa es tu iglesia,” essentially meaning your body is your temple (church). Years ago when I came to Nicaragua, I saw a kid sniffing on a bottle of Elmer’s glue. Because this is a third world country, it’s really common to see kids asking for attention in ways like this.
*Sidenote: there are 4 schools and 2 learning centers- at the learning centers, we mainly review material covered earlier in the day and work on homework.*
Today, I attended a more in depth orientation, also about an hour long, where the volunteer director told us which learning center we will be working at and gave us the choice to pick what area or station we want to teach in: Spanish, Reading, Art, and Math; I chose math. After the orientation today, two boys named Enok and Carlos, led us to the learning center. This walk was actual death; the walk to the school is 30-35 minutes away and the temperature since I’ve been here hasn’t gone below 80 degrees. Plus it is always humid here in Nicaragua, even when it rains, which is sooo good for your skin but bad for your hair and caused us to sweat a lot.
I worked with kids from ages 5 to 10 in math, teaching them addition, subtraction, and how to write numbers. Every hour, the kids rotated to a different station and I continued to meet more of them! There were only a few kids that were hard to manage, whether they didn’t want to listen to me, gave up on their work and told me they couldn’t do it, or messed with their fellow classmates. I got them under control for the most part and worked individually with each kid who was having trouble understanding the material. I wanted to keep them included and make them feel good and smart around their peers. In general, these kids honestly have so much potential to succeed!! When I was working with them, a lot of them would finish the worksheets I gave them and say like “More, more! I need something harder, Profe!” It’s just crazy to see the ambition these kids possess and how eager they are to learn in such a poor country.
I have eaten so much since I’ve been here, but don’t actually feel too bad about it because I am constantly perspiring due to the humidity and walking at least for an hour and a half everyday. Below I attached some pictures of my time here so far. Sorry for posting so late, it’s taking me forever to download and upload all of these videos, so most of them are from yesterday. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my first post, thanks for reading!!