End of Week 2! This week I spent time volunteering with first graders and then had some Spanish classes in the afternoon. I began the week finding out that I matched which was exciting, but ended up making the week seem very long while I waited to find out were on Friday. With the kids, I was basically a teacher’s aid. Helped with assignments and art projects. The Spanish was pretty basic so I was able to keep up. Playing soccer with them at recess was a good time also. I got a better workout than they did. During one recess I got 6,000 steps! The kids in this school are not really learning much English. Most of the private schools where the wealthier kids go (like the children in my homestay family) have several of their classes completely in English. My homestay sister, Sophia, is 4yo and she’s basically fluent in English and Spanish already! It’s sad that certain opportunities are not available for everyone. The teacher I worked with did not know English at all. My Spanish was significantly better than her English, so she was not able to help the kids learn anything. Each day she had me record English words and phrases into her phone so she could learn them and hopefully teach the kids. We went through numbers, colors and family relatives.
One thing I found exciting was how the children were learning about recycling and caring for the environment. I don’t remember what things we learned in school 22 years ago, but I feel like that was something I learned about later in life. Trash/littering is definitely a problem here and they have beautiful landscapes that should be maintained and protected. Learning this type of information while they’re young will help them better achieve those goals. One thing I found disappointing about the school were their snacks! The kids sometimes packed healthy snacks/lunches from home. But when the school provided snacks it was a large milk and cookies. Several of the kids were overweight and setting the groundwork for future medical problems. Sweets are okay in moderation, but I felt the kids were eating a little too much. I wonder if food industries and lobbyist affect the school meals to the same extent they do in the US…
On Wednesday afternoon we took an excursion with Angel to the Historical district and when through churches and the cultural center. The goal was to communicate in Spanish while touring the historic monuments. It was difficult to formulate complicated questions in Spanish. We learned about the indigenous Ecuadorian revolution with help lead to independence from Spain in the early 1800s and some of the interplay between Peru and Columbia and Ecuador in shaping the region. We were not able to take the tour of the presidential mansion, but that is on the to do list for this week. I truthfully have not had much exposure to South American history and it was interesting to see how this region took shape.
Match Day! On Friday, I found out that I will be doing Family Medicine at The Ohio State University. After a long week, I am glad it ended with some good news!