You guys may be wondering how do I clean? Cook? Shower? Wash clothes?
It’s totally understandable! I had a friend ask me if I was staying at a hotel, which I wouldn’t mind, BUT I am actually staying in the roof of UPAVIM!
The building in which we are staying has at least 5 floors, and each floor has a different purpose! For example, the first floor is the nursery and kindergartners classrooms, the second floor is a pharmacy and doctor’s office, the third is where the women make crafts, the fourth floor is the location for the classrooms for the grades 1st through 6th, and finally it’s the roof floor!
The roof, or my home for the six weeks, has four rooms, along with a kitchen, bathroom, and a pila! The pila is where all of the dishes and clothes get washed! NO, we do not have an official sink in the kitchen nor do we have washing machines! We all have to handwash our clothes, which is terrible because in the morning there is always the older women washing their clothes and they are PROFESSIONALS! One said that we [volunteers] didn’t wash our clothes, we just soaked them in water and hung them up…. [I AM GUILTY]!!
We are all assigned a day to cook and clean! My day to cook is on Wednesdays, and I must say that people really loved my “half-cookings” yesterday! I guess when you only have a limited amount of food and meals per day, you’ll literally eat anything!
Yesterday the shower stopped working! Now we all have to shower with “buckets!” The water, I must admit, has been the coldest water that I’ve showered in since I don’t know when! But usually we do have hot water! And In order to turn on the hot water, we literally have to turn on a switch!
Even though, we lack basic commodities, I have learned to look pass those things and really enjoy the simple basic things! I love the simple life that I am living!
Tomorrow seven interns of NourishUTK will leave for Guatemala City, Guatemala, for their humanitarian project. This summer, NourishUTK will be partnering with UPAVIM to help teach English and science classes in the impoverished community of La Esperanza. Being able to speak English provides access to better opportunities in the Latin American job market. UPAVIM’s English program, along with their sponsored extracurricular activities, helps keep children off the streets away from gang violence by placing them in safe nurturing environment. Our goal is for our interns to return having created a curriculum that can be successfully implemented long after the project is completed. Stayed tuned for weekly blog post and updates from our interns as they document their stay in Guatemala. Hasta proxima vez!
Final blog post! We’ve been back from Guatemala for quite some time now, but the memories and experiences still seem so fresh! We set out to provide supplemental education to country who desperately needs a way out of their unfortunately rough economical situation. Obviously we didn’t single handedly accomplish this but I definitely think we had a positive impact on it.
The IU chapter along with UTK integrated ourselves into the UPAVIM school alongside the other volunteers down there and really got an educational movement stirring. Even at the end of six weeks these kids were transformed tremendously and we have confidence that even though we’re no longer down there they will continue to grow and hopefully be able to shed some light on what seemed to be a pretty dark community.
The poverty definitely shows through their tough exteriors. Crime and violence was definitely eye-opening and we envision a place where these children grow up and bring money back to their community and this abomination of injustice will no longer prevail.
Aside from teaching we really got close with the team of volunteers, Guatemalan teachers, as well as people from the community. It was definitely hard leaving them all behind. We’ve stayed in contact pretty well and always look forward to any news they can give us about the school or the kids.
Well that’s all for this project! We are all looking forward to what Nourish has in store for us next year.
Well the two chapters (Indiana University and University of Tennessee) have finally merged as one supporting unit for these Guatemalan children. Our first week together was spent acclimating and getting into the groove of things. We have decided to divide and conquer this project by placing ourselves in different environments and areas based off of the skill sets we have as individuals. We are thrilled to get the opportunity to enhance the education of these children, but at the same time create these relationships simultaneously to build better connection and trust so they can understand our purpose for being there as well as grasp what we are trying to achieve together. The challenge we’ve come to face is understanding that the Guatemalan lifestyle isn’t exactly that which we live. More specifically we’ve noticed that their perception on education and other things differ from what we originally thought. However we’ve overcome this cultural barrier and believe we can better understand their mindset which allows us to provide a more enjoyable experience. We’ll keep posted on the progress.
IU and UTK
It is the night before our flight to Guatemala, and we could not be more excited! After weeks of planning and discussing our goals for this trip, the time has finally come! Although it might be difficult to leave our home, family, and friends behind, we cannot wait to experience the amazing moments we will spend there. We will have the opportunity to immerse ourselves within the culture and grow throughout the process, so hopefully we can bring back some valuable knowledge when we return. We are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity!
Time to make a positive impact in some people’s lives!
-The UTK Family
We survived our first week of classes! This week was not a normal week. They spent majority of the week getting ready for their Mother’s Day celebration! Mother’s day here is like Christmas. Actually every holiday is like Christmas here, including birthdays. They go all out for every single event. Both the English and Guatemalan teachers taught their kids songs and dances for them to perform for their mothers today. The kids dressed to the nines and gave their moms gifts that they had made by hand. Because of the holiday the kids do not have school tomorrow and will get to hang out with their moms all day!
We decided that the best way for you to understand what we are doing is for each of us to share a personal experience that we had this week.
Carli- I have already learned a ton in these first three days! The classrooms here, in Guat, are nothing like the classrooms in the US. The structure is different entirely and the kids are at different levels. Here it is not rude to interrupt and it is just loud in general. I went in expecting the kids to listen to me and do the worksheets we gave them, but this is not what happened. I realized the kids need one-on-one attention and when I would give it to them they actually were learning how to write in English. I try to speak to them only in English so that they become familiar with the language. I also have a new respect for all teachers! I am completely wore out by the end of the day! After this week I know how the classroom is structured and how the kids respond to certain styles of teaching. I am hoping to brain storms some new ways of teaching for next week and see how the kids respond!
Colt- Well..to get started I’m working with children not in the UPAVIM school kindergarten to 6th grade. These children only speak Spanish which has definitely enhanced my Spanish speaking abilities. I am currently teaching topics ranging from language to mathematics at every grade level. This was a lot easier said than done, because I had to learn the topics myself in Spanish from my co-instructor Raquel the morning of each lesson and all of the corresponding vocabulary. Examples being like finding area and perimeter of shapes like parallelograms, rhombus, and trapezoids , exponents and factorization, or even easy concepts such as subject and predicates! I could obviously teach these in English, but Spanish was a whole new experience; a positive one though. The kids are really responsive to our teaching and definitely benefit from it, so it makes it all worth it. I cannot wait to actually be apart of helping Raquel build the curriculum for the upcoming weeks. I’ll keep you guys posted on future successes and challenges.
Me (Mykala)- I have the absolute best job ever! I work with the Preschoolers and the Kindergartners teaching them English. In the morning we go to the two Preschool classrooms for a half hour each and sing songs that teach kids words that have to do with family and emotions. The kids absolutely adore us! Then in the afternoon we are in the Kindergarten class for three hours straight. We do a variety of English things that include stations, like math, library and house, singing songs and coloring. These kids are sooo smart!! I speak English the whole time and they understand majority of what I am saying, it is amazing!! They love the attention that they get when they get it right too. These kids seriously make my day everyday! They are so sweet! Also a thing with these kids is that they are sooo affectionate. When they leave they give you kisses on the cheek and hugs! Sweetest things in the world! Next week I know what to expect so I can go in more prepared and ready to teach!!
To all our mothers back in the states, we want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and we miss you!!