Happy Monday, friends! After a fabulous weekend with my fellow volunteers, we returned to our usual training schedule…boo. While we were waiting for class to start, we chatted about our weekend, particularly the super fun house party that one of us threw on Friday night. There are ton of pictures floating around from that night and if we are Facebook friends, I’m sure you’ve seen them. We all kind of realized that the majority of pictures we’ve been sharing with our friends and family have been of us hanging out, chilling at the beach or dancing. One of my pals said his mom asked him if he joined the Peace Corps or the Party Corps (I obviously loved the pun and stole it for my title. Thanks, Derek’s mom!)
The truth is, right now it can seem more like the Party Corps because we haven’t been doing a ton of work. All of our time is spent in training so that we can be even better volunteers once we finally start working. November 14 is the day of our swear-in and after that, everyone will move to their new sites. Even some of us in Barranquilla will be moving to different parts of the city to be closer to our schools.
Last week, we were FINALLY able to visit our new schools and meet our “counterparts” (PC term meaning Colombian coworker). On Monday, we all met up at a hotel where they fed us a bomb.com lunch, sans beans, and we met a representative from our schools. The woman who was there for me is the definition of fabulous. Her English is near perfection and I can already tell she is going to be extremely hard-working and will push me to be better and make our school the best it can be. We spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning in sessions about teamwork, the PC mission and whatnot and then, after another stellar lunch (mashed potatoes!!!!) we were handed over to our counterparts and taken to visit our new schools.
As most schools are, mine is broken up into two “jornadas” or shifts, with grades 6-11 in the morning and k-5 in the afternoon. My counterpart and the other English teachers all work the morning shift. However, those little sweethearts stayed late to give me a warm welcome to my colegio. The students even prepared an AMAZING dance showcase for me. Seriously, I’ve never been so intimidated by the talent of 15 year olds. It was incredible. Others performed English songs and we had some deditios (cheese filled pasteries) and pastelitos (meat filled pastry) to snack on. I met the principal and several other teachers from different content areas. Everyone was so friendly and made me feel welcome.
It was creativity week at my school and on Wednesday it was science and math day. I was able to spend all morning attending a science fair that the kids had worked really hard on. They are so smart! It was a blast. The next two days were Spanish and English and as all of my counterparts teach both subjects, they were busy planning. Thursday was Spanish day and they had several classrooms set up to represent various parts of Spanish history and culture such as the Middle Ages, Spanish literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, cinema and one more that I am forgetting. A group of seventh graders put on a short reenactment of Snow White. It was just precious. Aren’t they adorable?! On Friday they were having an English song competition, which I was asked to judged but had to decline because we returned to training. What a bummer. But that’s ok because I have two years to make my mark and help improve the English program! I even jokingly gave them idea for a new club where the students teach me to dance but before they do, I give them the vocabulary to teach me in English. Seriously I was 100% kidding but the “coordinadora” (basically asst. principal) loved the idea! Which is great for me because I want to be able to be a dance coach on DWTS after this experience 😉
In addition to working at my school, I plan on staying at CEDESOCIAL. It worked out wonderfully because the other two ladies volunteering with me are also staying in Barranquilla so we are keeping the dream team alive! We had our second workshop on Friday with a group of teenage girls who, because of abuse, have dropped out of school. Some are working the streets and some have children or are pregnant. The fact that anyone would want to hurt these sweet little girls is sickening. They are so respectful, sweet, fun and child like. In PC we get a lot of resiliency training to help us cope with the struggles of living overseas for two years. These girls are the absolute definition of resilience. I am awed and inspired by their pure hearts and tough attitudes. We did a song analysis of Marc Anthony’s “Vivir mi Vida” which all about living life to the fullest and letting go of pain. Then, we had the girls write about their dreams and how they plan on achieving these dreams. One 13-year old wrote she wants to help vulnerable children have better lives and move her family to a better neighborhood, others want to be doctors or teachers while others just want to create a better life for their family. It was an amazing session and according the director, the girls really enjoyed it.
Here are some pics of us working and then relaxing at the park.
I started this blog with so much more to say but now I’ve found an avocado to eat and I’m distracted 🙂 I promise to have more pics of me working soon, because after all, I’m not in the Party Corps! The truth is, we are trying to spend as much time together because training is rapidly coming to a close and some of us are leaving. I love this group and am so happy and excited to see what we all accomplish in the next 28 months. I love you all! Happy Halloween!!! 🎃👻