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Daniel: VAMOS Service Learning

January 29, 2010

While there was quite a bit of cloud cover today and what looked like a chance of rain, my mood remained steadily content with a 90% chance of life is awesome because I’m in Cuernavaca. We had our first day at VAMOS today, the service learning project where we go to small school for K-6th graders in a colonia on the outskirts of the town. It reminded me quite a bit of the orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, almost as profound as déjà vu but not quite the same. The area was in noticeably better shape than that of Nuevo Lardeo, though still certainly no walk in Central Park.

I had, and will have, the chance to work with the 5th and 6th graders at the school which should be good for me since I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with the real youngins’. It was really tough at first simply because all the kids were talking loud and fast and Spanish and the teacher was doing about the same. I sat there speechless just smiling for about 15 minutes before I actually had a chance to interact with anyone. It was a little awkward, a lot of noise, and a carpet bombing of Spanish to my somewhat-still-used-to-English ears.

After doing a little cleaning when a meal was served, I chatted a bit with the kids who thought it was hilarious to confuse me (seems to be the general consensus amongst those who have managed to do so on this trip so far, really isn’t a bother though) and ended up working the David. David is a 5th grader who was having a serious amount of difficulty with some pretty rudimentary addition, and we were working at a multiplication table with ~40 problems. I managed to show him the way I learned to do it, and we actually got through a solid portion of it before our time was up. It felt fantastic. Perhaps he’ll forget it tomorrow, but for about a half hour, I had him doing problems he otherwise wouldn’t have had a clue how to do before that class period. He actually seemed interested and focused, counting on his fingers and concentrating on how to make 6, 8 times larger.

I took some film today but no digital. I actually have a reason to now that I’ve discovered a one-hour photo in El Centro. I’ll try and take some digital tomorrow if I have time. School is tough, still kicking me in the face but I’m certainly getting by. I’ll post pictures this weekend, I’m trying to get some people in there as they are often times my favorite subjects, but it’s not an easy task here. I hate being ‘that guy’. You know who I’m talking about. Stayed tuned folks, it’s only been 6 days.

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