It's been more than a week since I last wrote and I think it's because the days have all begun to merge into one and maybe, just maybe, I'm started to become lazy (as I'd predicted). Nonetheless, I feel I owe it to the people who do read (I hope I have readers :) ), to keep them up to date. This post might be disorganized and a little all over the place but that would be an accurate description of my life (yes I like my life like this, it never gets boring).
Third week in and classes are settling in. I finally have my schedule arranged with all the teachers (there was a little mixup on the principle's part) and the students are behaving better and better each week!! There are obviously the troublemakers and those who, in kindergarten, will tell you "no" after you tell them to do something. I'm told this is normal since in most households, children do mostly as they please. I imagine it has to do with the number of hours parents work and are out of the house but I shouldn't make assumptions. Last week, and this week, the kids learned about family; mostly vocabulary words but also how to say how many siblings they have, how old they are, and their parents' names. Since I only see them once per week, many don't remember the meaning of words from one week to the next and to add to it, many forget their english notebooks for class. I'm still deciding how to best deal with this situation but I'm sure I'll come up with something.
What I really want to talk about is the staff I work with. They are really incredible people, involved in so many other things and still showing up to class everyday. One teacher travels an hour to get to school, taking 3 modes of transportation; another teaches at Joe Hartman in the morning, a high school in the afternoon, and goes to the university at night; and another owns her own hair salon, located on the first floor of her multi-family home, which she runs in the afternoons. I actually went to get my haircut at her salon
last week and ended up in huge rollers; it was like a scene out of Hairspray where the women are getting their hair curled and sitting under the heat for 30-45 minutes...it was awesome. I felt like Beyonce in her "If I were a boy" video when she has her hair in rollers. As you can tell, I'm just as cool as her.
Anyways, back to the teachers. They act more like family than colleagues and I guess I can start to include myself in that. We all know about each other's lives, sure, but it's also the little things. For example, taking Anna's daughter or Altagracia's son on my lap in the teacher's guagua, and sharing our food with each other and having a good discussion over it. Luz Maria, one of the teachers, brought me a container of pineapple this morning because she knows I like it, without even thinking twice about it. There is such kindness and humility in these teacher's hearts because while they don't get paid very well, they still give to others without hesitation; it's normal for them. I love that. This sentiment is one I feel even outside of the school. I feel like all the people I've met are more like family than acquaintances (we even argue and debate like family would). Don't get me wrong, I've had the feeling of community and family in the states, but not to this extent. Even the way complete strangers talk to each other, is more familial than anything I've witnessed. The teachers and everyone employed by the school works so hard and their stories should be heard so look out for blogs spotlighting the wonderful people who are involved in realizing Joe Hartman's mission here in La Romana.
Here's a picture of the guagua we take to school...yes it still runs...barely...