Sunday, September 12, 2010

Teaching English and Making Bread

Yesterday I went to a school in Sant Elena to teach English. I left at 7 am with Cecillia, the schools teacher, from LT. The school has 18 kids, but its pretty nice (for here of course). Its got 3  rooms, and is of ourse nestled in the most beautiful mountains you've ever seen. After roll call and a quick stretch Cecillia put me into a classroom, and told me to teach English. I started out with the younger kids (they range from 4 to about 9 I think), a group of 5. This was tough as I had no idea what I was doing and don't really speak any Spanish, and they spoke absolutely 0 english, but I managed to do ok. The younger kids were tough. I basically got through how to say hello and how are you (ow har oo) with the little ones.
The older kids were much easier. They knew hello, some of the numbers, and some colors, so I reviewed greetings, then we did numbers. We did colors by walking around and pointing at various things, and then body parts with Eyes, fingers, knees, and toes (The kids loved that, except I forgot the ears mouth head and nose part, or whatever it is). Afterwards I tought them about commons animals. What animals do you guys like to eat? First two answers were Pig and Guinea Pig. I explained that Guinea pigs were only for pets in the US, and everyone laughed (I don't think they believed me).
The kids kept giving me oranges and mandarins all day. I ate at least five and I left with a bag of 20 or so. (that might just be how they pay the teachers however, as Cecillia left with at least fifty). Friday is Phys Ed day, so after lunch, which is communal, and was pork rice and cucumbers, the kids played ball for a bit and then we walked down to the river. Its a fifteen minute walk through cane fields, and the spot for playing is no more then 2 feet deep, and most of its only a few inches. Everybody swims in their undies, and the kids built little dams with rocks to make deeper pools. We went back to the school, got our stuff, and I went back to LT (15 mins in the back of a pickup truck).

Today I went with Elvirea to learn to make bread. Apparantly no one in the village knows how to make bread, so they had a special teacher come and about 12 women, an elderly man, and me, listened as he taught us to make bread, ecuador-style. This involves making a small mountain of flour, pouring sugar and salt on top, making a hole thus turning it into a volcano, and then adding yeast to the hole. Then one adds water and lets the volcano settle for five minutes, before kneading voraciously for as long as you can. We went to have lunch while it levened, and then came back for the baking. This was alot of fun. We brought the only two ovens in LT (both are Gas, I carried one a quarter mile by myself to give you an idea of their size, and they use rocks to stabilize temperature) into the place where we were learning. We made hundreds of little rolls with cheese and all the village children were running in and out, eating bread and having a jolly old time. It was great. On the walk back we gave bread to everyone we passed, and there is still a big bowl of buns for dinner. 

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