Thursday, March 19, 2009

landslide.fleetwood mac

This past week was...awesome! I don't even really know how to explain it fully, and if I tried, this blog would maybe be a bit too long. Being here has been wonderful, and I have known this is definitely where God called me, but it was not until this week that I truly felt it. I felt the passion I have for each of the students in my classroom and for the kids in the villages especially Chigs. I will give you a lil look see of my past week...We had a highschool group of about 35 people from Austin come. Let's just say we were a little cramped in the casa. Not going to lie, I was somewhat dreading the week, not because of the help but because of the small personal space. At the end of the day, we are exhausted, and sometimes all I want to do is hide away and read a book or get on my computer. With 35 extra peeps, this is not possible. On a more positive note, they ended up being an awesome group who were very mature for their age, and them being here allowed me and Katy to do some of the group activities because group members were helping with los tweems. That is where the fun began. Monday and Tuesday after school, we took the preschoolers to the playa. Monday was assigned for Ashley/Katy's class, and Tuesday was for Cristina/my class, but I went for both days. The kids were beyond excited. They sang some beach chants in the car, and right when we got to the beach, they ran straight out to where we were headed. I took as many pictures as I could of them running from the waves, getting buried in the sand, and running around in their lil undies. If you are on facebook, you can see pics of the cuties on there. Otherwise, email me, and I can send you some.
Wednesday was the usual go after school for house visits time so Katy and I went to Chichigua and took four of the group members to Rebeka and Jeson's House. If you have read my previous blogs, you are probably thinking, " visits...shouldn't you be visiting more than their house?" And my response would be yes we do visit other houses, but I cannot help stopping by their casa every time. Their family is so loving. Anyways, their dad Soni talked to the four boys from the group for a bit while I sat with Yesica (she is the one who always tries to teach me Spanish). She brought a children's book in English to me and started to try and read it. I was so impressed and helped her along the way. After some pages, Yesica (who is in one of the pictures toward the end of this blog) and her sister grabbed a spiral and asked me about the English alphabet. I then proceeded to write each letter also saying its sound and a word that starts with it. All that to say, I gave a mini English lesson to these girls who had such a strong desire to learn it. Sometimes, in this culture, people expect things from you without wanting to work for anything. With Yesica's family, I have learned this does not apply to them. It was awesome to see their dad Soni (who knows seven languages) instilling in his children the same desire he has to be educated. After leaving their house, we resorted to finding Ronal to cut down some sugar cane for the group members y Katy and watched the Chigs boys play some futbal. Yes, I am holding a machete in the picture below :).
Friday was my turn to take care of Los Tweems, but I had told Yesica I would try to come to the afternoon Bible class. Thankfully, Sharla did not mind so I showed up only to see that Yesica did not show up because she had to take care of her baby brother. The majority of the afternoon class are some rowdy boys who love to cause "trouble" and beat each other up (do not is always playful). The sad part about all of that is I love these rowdy boys. I do not have a brother but have secretly always wanted one in the Blackwood fam. When I go to Mexico, I love play fighting with some of the boys there I have known for a long time...I know, mature right? So class begins, and the boys will be boys, or I guess I should say the boys were being boys. I talked about Ernesto in my last blog who gave me a ring he made. This time he gave me a gold colored one that had a heart on it. I love it besides the fact that it turns my finger green haha oh well, I am just glad I am becoming buddies with the Friday kids. We ended early and let them play outside with some of the soccer balls. Sili, one of the super sweet older boys from Pancho Mateo who knows English, had his basketball with him and was bouncing it right outside the classroom door. Naturally I had to go up to him and steal it away, which turned into a "dribbling take the ball away from the other person" game inside the classroom...oops. Soon, Ronal and Ernesto joined in, and we started a game of keep away. At one point. Sili jumped on the table pretending to dunk the ball, which I thought we would for sure get in trouble for if anyone saw. Ya I know, I am supposed to be the responsible teacher who is making sure everyone gets homes safe, pshh how could I resist a game of basketball. It was finally time for them to go home, and I said to Sili, "Some time soon I need to come to Pancho and play you in basketball", which lead him to say, "Today!" I had to get back to taking care of the twins at home, but I will let you readers know when that happens and how it goes.
Yesterday I went with Katy to meet Robin for a birthday partay in Chigs. Katy and I brought Coke, and Robin brought the cookies. For a majority of the time, I chased Memo my cutie valentine around and carried him upside down around the village. I also promised Yesica (pictured above) and Sara that I would take them to the beach sometime soon, which I think will be so fun.
All in all, I have started to see myself more courageous to form relationships with these kids, getting more involved in playing with them or visiting their homes, which has really been great for me to stop and think about. Even though I do not speak their language, the Lord is so much greater than that. By just hanging out or simply saying, "Hola, como estas?" the Lord has continually provided openings for me. I have started to understand more Spanish and speak choppy sentences, but please continue to pray for me in that area.
So sorry this blog is now a novel, but I just could not stop...Love you all soooo much, and I will be seeing some of you in less than two weeks :).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Your Hands Are Cold.Dario Marianelli

Cutest/Funniest Part of my I got to school Wednesday, and Cristina did not have a lesson plan ready for the morning. La letra K was the new letter of the week, and if you know Spanish, you would know that you are super limited when it comes to teaching children different words to help remember the letter K. She gave me koala and karate, hmm not so helpful when coming up with something in a matter of minutes. With a bit of help from Ashley, I told Cristina that the kids could do some karate moves during carpet time, and then I would do the lesson of my name where Profe Kendall was written at the top of a sheet of paper. I would go over individually with each student that my name starts with la letra K, and after a few times of repeating that, they would have to draw a picture of me. Cristina had me read Dora during carpet time, which I once again butchered and was not ready for at all, and then she asked me to teach them karate. Sometimes I think she thinks I am tricking her and know more Spanish than I say I me on this one, I have no tricks up my sleeves. I laughed inside having no idea what the heck I was going to say. I pointed to la letra K, asked what it was, then said, "La letra K es para karate." Complex, eh? Right then and there, I started doing karate moves and tried to get them to do the moves also. They looked at me like I was crazy. I would punch and kick and say the sound for K at the same time. Finally, Cristina said something to them, and they followed along. They loved it! Yes you are right. This was the cute part. Now the funny part comes with the lesson of drawing a picture of me. Modeling is important for teaching so I did my own drawing of myself to show them (btw my example of my name looks pretty shabby in the pic above. I of course made theirs cuter). Ok the modeling thing was to try to make you all think I know what I am talking about. Really, I drew it so they would not look at me weird when I tried to explain in Spanish what to do. I go through the first table, and apparently I wear no clothes, have huge hair, or have really stick-like long fingers :). Next, Ambiorix comes and sits by me. Everything is going great, well until he is done drawing the basic stick figure of me. Usually, I would have to tell them, "Yo necesito un camisa, pantalones, y zapatos." Before I could even say that, Ambiorix reaches over to my drawn picture and decides to add two details to it as you can see from the pic up above. If you were wondering why I put up such an inappropriate picture on my blog, well now you know why. He immediately looked at me and gave me that cute lil Ambiorix smile that he always gives. I felt like I was Will Ferrell in the movie Anchorman: "I'm not even mad." I started laughing along with him, and then told him to put his paper in his bucket. Awesome.

Best Part of my week...I went to Chichigua like usual Wednesday afternoon with Katy and two people who are visiting the DR. As we were walking them around Chigs, one of the boys from our Bible school on Fridays walked by. I remembered his name from Robin and Cara, but I had never talked to him before. I do not know where the urge came from, but I looked at him and said, "Tu nombre es Ernesto, si?" Ernesto smiled, said yes, and like an embarrassed junior high boy naturally ran away. Now, fast forward past Thursday and Friday during the day. I got really sick those two days so I was kinda down in the dumps...haha no pun intended. I am so mature, and I bet attractive now too. Anyways, we all went to dinner Friday, and when Robin got there, she took a silver ring off her finger and gave it to me. She said it was made by Ernesto! Yesica gave it to Robin to give to me because he was too embarrassed. Let me back it up to say, these rings are no ordinary rings. The boys in Chichigua make them for fun, and they are sold nowhere. They at first used pesos to make them then decided to use pipe metal instead. After they get the metal into a ring, they put star-like designs on it. I have been wanting one for a long time, but since I did not know any of the boys or ever attempt to talk to them, this was not possible. Not only did getting the ring completely make up for the awful past two days, but it reminded me how important our relationships are with these children.

Most interesting Part of my week...Saturday we went to a seminar in Santiago about Islam. It had my attention the whole time, and I learned some pretty crazy facts about the religion, such as:
*Muslims pray five times a day, which most know, but what you probably did not know is if they miss one of those five prayers, they are already sentenced to 40,000 years in Hell.
*Muslims believe in the Trinity: God, Mary, and Jesus. God had relations with Mary, and then Mary had Jesus.
*A majority of Muslims have not even read the Koran/Qu'ran.
*Only 5% of Muslims are extremists that either support or are terrorists.
*Most say that Islam is the fastest growing religion, but that is true only because of family growth. Christianity is the fastest growing by conversion.
...hope you enjoy the facts! The speaker was a man from Closed Door Ministries and was one of the most legit missionaries I have ever seen/heard.

Side note for the blog...I had a dream last night that I was waiting at Burger House for my meal when all of a sudden Michael Jordan walked by and started talking to me. I would like to challenge you all to beat that dream. I do not think it is possible!
ps. I will be visiting home in 4 weeks! kinda crazy to think about.