Sr. Pamela Marie Buganski
“God is always talking to me when I am in Guatemala.”
I asked the telesecondary students what they wanted to study next in mathematics. They chose algebra. It seemed like a good topic to follow integers. I was able to introduce algebra the same way I did in USA because of the computers. Basically, I use a game of moving blocks so that the original stack is rebuilt in a different space. It has always seemed to make algebra easy for the kids because the same ideas are used in the game as in algebra: there is a goal and there are rules to get there. Once the kids master the game, they find the simple rules of algebra easy. Both games must play with the same part of the brain!. So first the kids mastered the game. Then I decided to start with two-step equations. The kids caught on pretty quickly and enjoyed the challenge. Today we introduced variables on both sides of the equation as well as using negative numbers in the problems. I am very proud of their achievements, and more importantly, they are proud of themselves!
By setting up various electrical devices, we are able to use the video of Monster's Inc for English class! I have typed the script in English for the first part of the movie and we practice from that. We have also watched the beginning of the movie in Spanish. Now we are focusing on the the speed of the use of the English words in the movie! On Fridays we are generally able to use an indoor classroom for class, so we save the electronic devices for then.
The Monja River. Lisa and Louie as well as Jesse and Franklin arrived from USA on Friday evening. Ismael and Orfe gathered us all, including Hanssel who was able to get one day off of school to join us, for a trip to the Monja River. Though it was a rainy and dreary day, and though some of us got held up because of a broken down vehicle, it was a lovely and relaxing space none-the-less. There are several covered areas with cement floors where families can gather for cook outs and swimming seems like it would be really fun in this spot! The river is located near Poptun where Hanssel attends school.
I spent about 30 minutes one morning observing in one of the 5th grade classrooms. I found the teacher to be well prepared and the students to be very attentive during my surprise visit. The topic was community and personal health. The teacher outlined the basic ideas on the board and the students copied these into their notebooks. Then the teacher took time to elaborate on each of the topics and asked for student questions and participation. When it came to talking about physical health, she had everyone out of their seats doing exercises. It was fun! Once the new computers are in place in this school, I hope that we can get enough downloaded that the teachers will be able to supplement their lessons with pictures and additional material.
Brenda is 15 and is in the second grade. She goes to school on the weekends. During the week she helps Orfe around the house and helps to keep Anita occupied when Orfe is working with the kids and classes. She is delightful. I do not know much about her background and why she started school so late, but I hope to one day fit her into my teaching schedule. She has two brothers and her family lives very close to the house in Santa Ana. Brenda has accompanied groups of SewHope to various places and has had wonderful experiences that many will never have. She was with the clinic groups in La Libertad and in Sayaxche, she was with us when we were in the hospital and at the nutrition center in San Benito and in Dolores with baby Esmeralda. She has been to Flores and San Benito on various trips for all sorts of missions. My hope is that these experiences will spark something in her that makes her education worthwhile and her dreams grand!
Well, on our outing to the Monja River, we had car problems. Here Ismael is connecting with a tow rope the rental car with our red truck. Of course, this is happening in the rain and mud. Ismael put the truck in neutral and used the brakes as he was towed backwards along a dirt road until we could get to a place to turn around. The same road was occupied by BIG cows! Ismael, as always, took this in stride. We had to leave the car in Poptun. On Monday, Ismael took the chicken bus ride of 1.5 hours to pick it up. We were happy that everyone was safe and that the problem occured when there was a group of us together. Just one more Guatemalan adventure!
Rudy joined us once again to work with Peter on a health project involving 10 families in Purushila. In the truck are 10 stoves that are being installed in the homes. In addition, the families will receive a water filter, a garden, and health classes. The cost is Q720. We are hoping to get a strong start on this program. The stoves are purchased and trucked in from Antigua. Rudy has a similar program up and running in San Cristobal.
Lisa (center), her son Louie (left, 8th grader at St. John Jesuit in Toledo, OH), and Jesse (second son of Ismael and Orfe, junior at St. John Jesuit in Toledo, OH) are introduced to the computer program used with the six-year olds in the kindergarten in Purushila. On his summer vacation last year, Jesse helped the students with the computers. Perhaps he will assit this summer as well. Lisa is the co-founder and board chairperson of Kids Unlimited Academy, a charter school in Toledo. We are noticing that similar things are encountered among the poor children of Toledo and the children in Purushila. We will learn much with our collaboration. Jesse and his brother Franklin (freshman at St. Johns Jesuit in Toledo, OH) live with Lisa and her family during the school year.
And as always, if there is anything nearby that has two or four feet, and I can catch it, it is in my arms! These were two tiny and very mangey kittens. The children to whom they belonged were visibly worried that I was going to take them with me. They must have heard about me!
This is the mechanic's house. We dropped off the truck and returned about an hour later. In that time span, a horde of flying ants had covered the location. They were pesky and everywhere including up your nose and in your ears! As Lisa said, "At least they don't bite!". She had a good point! We thought they might be like the mayflies in our area in the springtime. I am not interested in things that fly.
Things that sting are also not on my list of favorites. This would include the scorpion that found its way into the computer classroom at the primary school last Thursday. The children noticed it and signaled their teacher. They kept one eye on it and one eye on their computers. While the teacher went out to get a big leaf to transfer the creature to another location, the scorpion did one of those famous disappearing acts. We never found him again in the classroom! However, in looking for him at any chance I got, I found his friend the big spider, who also crawled around freely and took in a computer tip or two!
I am grateful (and knocking on wood) that the only creature that I have found in my room is a gecko...and they are cute and very fast!
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012