Day 3 Monday April 11th, 2016
Another beautiful day in Parramos, Guatemala. We have had lots of adventures today to tell you about. Even though the villages are not expecting rain for another two months we heard thunder in the distance. After inquiring we realized the live volcano 45km away, is letting off impressive plumes of gases. It has just become active over the past month. It is a spectacular sight!
After our team breakfast we loaded the van and travelled to Corrales School for a morning of fun with 110 students and 3 teachers. School begins at 8:00 and finished at noon with a warm protein snack served at 10:00 am consisting of a warm liquid porridge drink and a hard-boiled egg. For some children this food was the only meal of the day. Some the children worked in the field before school and will return to the field after school to help their parents with the crops. It was a pleasure to see our build a home mom from 3 years ago is now cooking at the school. Doug also got to spend some time with Alba, his adopted child – this was so rewarding.
We divided our team into four centres and rotated the students through each experience.
Station 1 Science Lessons on Dinosaurs (Cathy, Juli, Diane & Lauren)
Station 2 Recycled necklace craft (Suzanne & Dianne)
Station 3 Parachute games (Doug & Brian)
Station 4 Soccer game (Tim & Kelly)
Station 1: The science lessons were novel because science is not part of this school’s curriculum. We talked in detail about different types of dinosaurs (with a translator). We showed them pictures of dinosaurs and 3D examples of the creatures. From there the students moved to the dinosaur rub Centre where they placed a blank piece of paper and rubbed a crayon over a dinosaur skeleton to create a skeleton print. The students moved onto the dinosaur fossil station where they used plasticine, a dinosaur skeleton head and plaster of paris to create an imprint of the skeleton head. This became their keepsake. After completing their imprint the students rotated to the dinosaur match and fossil centre. Here they matched a full dinosaur figure with its skeleton. The students also learned about fossils, how they were created, what they looked like and how to use a magnifying glass. The students’ favorite fossil was coprolites (fossilized dinosaur poop).
Station 2: At the recycled necklace craft the students gathered in groups of 10 at a time. They were told with the interpreters help that the beads were created by “First Port Perry’s Boy Scouts” with recycled plastic and wallpaper. The beads were strung by each student and were worn when completed. It was stressed that they were made by Canadian children and given with love.
Station 3: The students were excited when we pulled the parachute out because they remembered the activity from 2013. During the parachute educational games the students cooperated. They created poco waves and grande waves, used balls as popcorn to bounce ,which sometimes the balls were bounced over the school wall. Any runaway balls were quickly retrieved by a half a dozen students. We also played colour recognition games in both English and Spanish. Once the students had completed the parachute games the students used sidewalk chalk to draw their own creation. We learned our lesson with the second group of students and demonstrated what the chalk was for prior to passing the pieces to students. Because some thought the chalk were stick candy and didn’t taste very good.
Station 4: Soccer station. We set up two nets that we borrowed from “Centre of Hope” and we invited the first group out to play soccer. The first group consisted of the older boys from the school and were about 16 in total. We equipped one half with blue jerseys and the other half with white jerseys. Each goalie had a separate colour (donated from the Woodbridge Soccer Club). We quickly same across a dilemma when the boys kicked the ball out of play which meant it landed in a neighboring yard. The rule in this village is when anything lands in your yard, you become the owner of that item. This presented a problem, as we could not get our balls back. To address this the kids ran home to get more balls. This allowed the game to continue. In total we lost five balls, including the brand new one that GMT donated to the school. This game ended in a score of 2-0. Next the older girls played and their teams consisted of 6 girls per team. Here we lost another ball and the final score was 0-0. Next we had half of the younger portion of the school. This was another 25 kids split in half. We lost two more balls in this game. Final score 2-0. The last game brought on another 35 kids which we divided in half, yet the blue team had far more skill than the white team. Therefore, Tim and two teachers joined the white team. We lost another ball, during this game. All of these games took place on the street which had a steeply graded slope. In some cases the jerseys were way too big and came down to the kids ankles. We then tucked the shirts into their pants and in some cases you could only see the collar of the shirts. The kids absolutely enjoyed soccer and some the girls even played barefoot to prevent damaging their shoes. In the closing ceremonies, we donated all jerseys to the school and unfortunately there was no ball to donate. The principal of the school was overwhelmed by our generous donations.
Once all the stations were completed, the 110 students lined up to receive their own goodie bag. They were delighted to receive their treats. After saying our goodbyes with hugs and waves we traveled back to the guest house for lunch and afternoon instructions.
We were divided into two group for the PM:
Sewing Tasks (Pillow shams): Diane, Lauren, Juli, Cathy, & Suzanne
Build a Home Wall Construction: Kelly, Brian, Dianne, Doug & Tim
At the “Centre of Hope” the Sewing Coop consisted of 8 women from the local village of Parramos. This will be a new COOP group that will create pillow shams. The material used for the shams are tradition woven fabrics that are brightly coloured with intricate patterns. Many of the patterns featured birds or flowers. The ladies were shown how to cut 6 inch squares of two coordinating fabrics to create the top of the shams. The ladies were shown how to use the sewing machines to piece the squares together. Each sham has 15 squares. The group learned quickly how important it was to be precise when cutting and sewing the pieces together. In two and a half hours more than half of the ladies had a completed sham. They were very grateful to learn this new craft.
Some of the “Build a Home” walls were built this afternoon. Two were walls and two were walls with a door and window. We didn’t realize that “medir dos veces y corte una vez” meant “measure twice and cut once”. Therefore, our first wall ended up 10 cm too short. We proceeded to measure twice and cut once on the following walls. We framed the walls and while nailing them all together we realized that the nails must have come from a “dollar store”. We managed to ruin 50% of them because they would not go in straight. We then observed our local mason/carpenter named Angel and noticed that he licked every nail before pounding it into the wood. We noticed that this was the only thing he was doing different to what we were doing, so we started licking our nails. Dianne perfected the nailing process like a BOSS by going 12 consecutive nails. Tim was 4 consecutive nails, Brian was 6 consecutive nails, Doug was 2 consecutive nails and Kelly was 4 consecutive nails. We noticed Dianne’s cheating technique that she had a magical orange hammer, that the carpenter had loaned her. The walls were completed after three hours of frustration.
At 4:00 Brian and Tim ventured into Parramos with our driver/translator Mynor to run errands. The first stop was to enter the bank to exchange American funds for Q’s. This was a fun process as we had to proceed past two armed guards with shot guns. We went up to the teller and exchanged $450 USD for our team members, which gave us Q3,429. We bought a 400gram bag of salt for 15 cents and 30 eggs for $4. We quickly learned that limon is not lemon and is instead lime. After searching several markets we could find no lemons and settled for limes. We also went to fill up our drink water jugs and to our surprise they were only filled up at the volunteer fire station.
We had a delicious dinner of chicken, local grown carrots and potatos – Carmen is an amazing local cook - and prepped for tomorrow’s adventures. Night. Night.