Today you get to read my (Sheila's) ruminations of the day...
This was our initiation into teaching English. Arriving at Acoinprev at 8:30 seemed pretty early for us, but they had already been in school for over an hour by that time. We divided everyone up into their teaching groups and sent them off - like deer in the headlights - into the world of education as a teacher. They did great! The first few lessons were a little tentative, but walking around about an hour in they were turning into real pros. We were all given celebrity status during every break as hundreds of beautiful ninos swarmed around us asking for our autographs in their little notebooks. Fun times!
We older folk wanted to be sure that the teaching teams were able to do their thing without thinking that we were looking over their shoulders - so we found a quiet space in the school chaplain's office. Pastor Giovanni took time out of his busy day to answer questions about the school and the neighbourhood where the school is located. We wanted to know what ACOINPREV meant. He told us that it was an acronym that basically translated that they were a school that was there to prevent drugs. Pretty specific name I would say. This is a small school - in square footage only. The classrooms are about half of the size of one of our portable classrooms, and twice as stuffy. The classrooms face into a central courtyard and extend 4 stories high. Imagine a big chimney. Now imagine the incredible noise that chimney sends straight up. Into this put in 845 students. Yes...845! There are 40-45 students in every one of these classes....barely enough room to turn in a circle let alone move around. The staff earn about $360/month. The tuition is $64/month and that is without ANY government funding.
But the part of his story that hit me the hardest was that he was telling us about the ministry opportunities that the students of this anything but affluent school were doing. They were collecting toys, food and clothing to give away to "poor" people. Seriously. These people have NOTHING and they are doing more than most of us that have EVERYTHING. Their classes have no technology. The library is non-existant. Supplies are minimal - like notebooks and pencils. You would think that they would be a pretty grumpy bunch, but no. They have a spirit of joy like no one I have seen. They love these children and daily give their all to educating and positively impacting them.
I hung my head in shame at my own selfishness. I think I'm pretty great stuff coming to Colombia, giving my bit in the offering plate, supporting a Compassion child, or donating a few dollars to a missions project. I know nothing of giving.
This is my 10th year in Colombia and every year there is something new that I learn...something that I need to change. This is lesson number one.
Thanks for your interest in what we are doing and for praying for us. So far we are illness and injury free and loving every minute of this place and these people.