Hey, this is Emily!
We spent the day today at a school called Golden Rule. It is situated in a rather dangerous area of Bogota, though we were well taken care of. The school was quite nice, and there were around 400 students. When we arrived, there was a sign hanging in front that said "welcome" in English. When we stepped inside, there were Canadian streamers and other welcome signs for us hanging throughout the school. The staff was very friendly, and it was noticeable that a lot of energy had been put into making us feel appreciated and welcome.
The first class that my group taught was kindergarten. The little children were so cute! Although they could not speak much English, most of them tried very hard to learn what we were teaching them. The next class that we taught was grade 2. This class was quite difficult to teach, because there were so many of them and they did not seem to want to stay quiet for very long. They were super cute, though, so that made it much easier to have patience with them. Next we went outside for a break. I sat outside with three girls that were 7 and 8 years old. They too, could not speak much English, but I was really encouraged to see how hard they tried to communicate with us, and how much they wanted me to understand what they were saying.
Later in the day, we went upstairs to do some activities and talked with the grade 7 students. When we stepped into the classroom, the teacher informed us that they had prepared something for us. One of the students had memorized a little speech in English for us, and another had created a poster with a Bible verse on it that she read for us. Then they gave us each two handfuls of candy. It was amazing to see their generosity, though they come from poor backgrounds. They were so much fun to hang out with! We played some word games with them, and after a little while we split up into groups with a Canadian in each group, so the students could practice English conversations. Then the school day was over, and we left for the bus.
Throughout the day, the students were constantly coming over to us in groups to talk with us. They were so polite, and very friendly. It was amazing to see how generous they were (all of us came back to the house with handwritten notes, candy, stickers, etc from the students), and how friendly they were, even though we were strangers from basically another world. It was inspiring to see how they can be so happy and loving, even though they come from such difficult circumstances. I am definitely excited to be going back there tomorrow to see those kids again!
Hola, this is Denise.
Today is always one of my favorite days! Why? Because it is one of the two days that we get to spend at my favorite school - Golden Rule! This school is one of the National Christian Schools here in Bogota. Over the years a close relationship has developed between our school and theirs. Shortly after we arrived this morning, word quickly spread throughout the school that the Canadians had arrived and staff and students came running over to greet us with hugs and kisses. :) I love the Latin culture. Scattered over the walls of all three floors of the school were posters "welcoming the Canadians". It was so obvious that everyone was excited to have us there.
Many of them are motivated to learn English and they try their very best to practice on us both in and outside of the classroom. It was fun to see our students scattered throughout the playground at recess time talking and playing with the students. Every so often during that time, Colombians would run over to me and ask me how to say something in English. They would then run back and say it to whichever one of the Canadians that they were talking to. Learning English does not just take place in the classroom!
I personally enjoy this school because of the many people there who have become dear friends of mine. I am always humbled by their genuine interest in my life, how Martha brings coffee to me without sugar because she remembers that I don't use any even though it has been a whole year, and how they take the time to talk with me whenever they have time. Knowing Spanish definitely is an advantage when it comes to talking with them. I think that it is safe to say that everyone of us enjoyed our time at Golden Rule today. We all felt very loved and it was great to be able to say to the Golden Rule students when they asked if we were coming back tomorrow that yes we were. I look forward to another great day there tomorrow.