2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
This past week has been especially emotionally tolling. I've been stressed with moving into my new apartment, starting English classes at the church, and most importantly with how to best help the kids in need at the Joe Hartman School. Being here this past month and a half has opened my eyes to the gravity of the problems that the education system faces in the Dominican Republic. In reality, I can't generalize to all schools here but, having talked with many people about the system including teachers, high school students, university students, and most of all from my experience with elementary kids, there are so many issues that are seldom addressed by administration or the government. For example, there are 4th graders who can't read, 2nd graders who can't recognize the letters of the alphabet, others who don't know their full legal name or their birthdate. A comment made to me by a 6th grader this week talking about a Magic Tree House book was " This book has chapters, can't I read an easier one?" I was left shocked, saddened, frustrated, and angry, not against her but rather towards the system that doesn't teach kids to love to read.
Every week, something new is brought to light and in true Gaby fashion I think, "That's such an easy thing to fix, or why isn't anyone doing anything about it?" I tend to become passionate very quickly, especially with matters concerning education and children's futures. I often become frustrated when people see the same problems I do but aren't necessarily as passionate about actively changing the situation. This week especially has shown me why so many are more comfortable going with the flow and talking about the problems rather than trying to essentially revolutionize the way things are done; it’s just easier that way. There are so many overlapping factors that impact the functioning of the school and solving one problem, will not alleviate the others. Because they overlap, a plan to help the school grow would have to be multifaceted and include efforts from the community, the kids, and the teachers which is not easily attainable in Kilometer 6. But, nothing worthwhile is ever easy and though I often feel overwhelmed by all the projects I want to start and take on at the school, I know I must persevere. Yes, it’s difficult. Especially when fellow coworkers, who know more about the culture and how to get things done, aren’t fully invested in starting the projects with you. Especially when not all teachers are on the same page regarding schedules. But, for every trial, there is a redeeming act. And with every redeeming act, my faith and hope in the potential of the school is renewed. I know that with the prayers, and the support of the people back home anything is possible. I want to thank you for that. To all the people who read, share, and pray for the school and for me, THANK YOU!