During my travels through Guate, my goals were simply to practice the Spanish I was learning and find a feasible way to stay in Guatemala for the near future. Then, a friend of mine gave me a lead with Manna Project in Guatemala and the timing couldn't have been better to help run their 5 week summer camp program. Now I'm living with 3 fantastic people that make up the heart and soul of MPI Guatemala. It has felt like I joined the family for a month to get a taste of the good life. Since living in Sololá, I've been able to use my Spanish in the daily routines here from navigating the market to preparing lesson plans for the week.
As for the summer camp, I've rediscovered my youthful days, though only half the energy I used to have. Soccer, basketball, and the all-time-favorite cat and mouse game (Gato y Ratones!) have brought me back to the treasured days of after-school programs. We have pick-up soccer or basketball before camp begins in the mornings, then class begins. I specifically help with Science and English. The purpose of science is learning through experiments. Lots of experiments. All planned around the ecosystem of the week, we've had a test of floatation in freshwater vs. salt water, smell tests of foods found in the rainforest, and even a semi-realistic version of quicksand (no kids were lost in the quicksand). This week we're in the Urban Ecosystem and decided to design a city made of paper.
The strategy of providing the hands on activities for the kids applies to English as well, however, with Roberto as the lead teacher I play more of a supporting role through lesson planning and assisting in the classroom. All of the kids have had 1 or 2 classes of English in the past, so after reviewing fruits and numbers through games of papa caliente (hot potato), Roberto and I decided to create a market in the classroom with fake money and real fruit. Turned out to be a huge success, and reminded me a little of what I felt like the first time in a Guatemalan market.
The past four weeks have flown by, and I'm sure the last one will too. Camp has been great, and I've had the bonus of attempting Kaqchikel at the same time as Spanish. In a couple weeks, I'm onto see more of the country before heading home, but I consider myself lucky to have found this group for the short-term.
All the best,