On Thursday I gave my first english lesson to the kids. Trying not to show it I was extremely intimidated and scared. My spanish was intermediate but what if I messed up and the kids didn’t learn anything? These fears soon faded away when I put a big smile on my face and decided to conquer it with confidence. I taught them some simple sentences in the beginning such as, “How are you?”, “What time is it?”, and “Nice to meet you.” I would say the phrase in english, they would repeat after me 3-4 times, and then practice writing the translations. I was shocked as to how unbelievable smart and eager they were to keep learning. Some kids excelled more than others, which is normal, but overall they were excited and motivated to learn. While they were writing each translation I went around individually and helped them with pronunciation. The maestro, Spirito, even sat in on my lesson and I helped him practice how to say “Mucho Gusto” in english. He was an amazing teacher for the kids. He was always willing to help us with our service work, he helped dig, paint, and even on Tuesday after we set up the swing set, we caught Spirito swinging and laughing with the kids. It was a learning experience for all of the people of the community. In the afternoon, we played Raton y Gato, a game similar to Ring Around the Rosie, with the kids.
Friday was our last day at the school. I co-taught another english lesson focused around the environmental care of Ecuador. We taught vocabulary such as tree, river, trash, plants, sun, mountains etc and put together an activity where they did a trash clean up of their school. Much of the population there litters, so it was important for us to teach them the proper ways to dispose of trash and recyclables. To conclude our lesson we taught them sentences such as, “No trash in the river,” and “No trash in the mountains.” After I helped Haleigh sew all the children’s ripped clothing and gave haircuts to the boys.
When it came time to leave the school, the kids put on the cutest dance for us and the parents and community members thanked us for our time and service. It meant a lot to hear them speak to us because you could tell this was a rare occasion to have service done in their small village. The men of the village began playing their instruments and in no time there was a parade for us down the mountain. I danced with the little children who had touched my heart, Erik, Brayan, Evelyn, Rosaline, Jasmine, Dario, Patricio, Luis, and more, and in the moment I was completely happy. I hugged them all a sad goodbye and couldn’t stop turning around to wave adios.