I continue to feel so alive and whole here in Nicaragua, hence the delay in getting a new blog post up. I have been spending my time in community, at work, and with Nicaraguan friends growing deeper in my relationships. The school where I work, Guadalupe, has been a very positive and affirming environment for me. I am teaching all of primary (elementary) this year which is literally 4 times the number of classes compared to what I taught last year. This year, I have pre-school through 6th grade and at least 2 sections of each grade level. It has provided me with many new challenges and I am trying my best to tap into my creative, childlike side. Many little kids have a strong desire to learn and I am constantly being reminded, “Hoy nos toca con usted” (“Today we have class with you”). I receive numerous hugs and saludos (greetings) everyday from my students. It's pretty different from my interactions with my older students. Time with coworkers is often filled with laughter, jokes, and good conversation. I was recently told that I am not seen as just another volunteer but as a part of the team of teachers... so affirming. When we went on retreat back in the beginning of March, we had an opportunity to take almost half a day for silent reflection. During that time, I wrote the following poem thinking about my students and coworkers.
Running towards me
with arms outstretched,
eager to embrace me and disappear into my arms
Big toothy grins smiling up at me
Heads that find rest on my stomach
Wishing I could tell them, all of them,
how much they mean to me,
to the world
that the littlest things they do
brighten my day
The joy amidst all of the things that just aren't fair
trash everywhere on the streets
lack of resources
being told that they have to accept things as they are
And yet, listening to them as they allow themselves
to dream, to wonder, to imagine
Being surprised how deeply connected I can feel to people who come from
a completely different culture, background
who live such a different reality than I will
ever understand or even see
But despite all the differences there is a mutuality
a give and take
sharing in daily experiences and core beliefs
laughing at jokes
and when words fail to capture it all,
there is the hope that my gratefulness is understood through
exchanged handshakes, fist pounds and hugs
I also had a great birthday, complete with our dog Muneco jumping on me to wake me up accompanied by my community mates, birthday dinner, carrot cake, phone calls, cards, and visitors. Thank you all for all the calls and cards! A couple of my coworkers came over and gave me fruit, which was so generous.
Just a couple weekends ago, I went with coworkers and students to a special mass where one of the nuns who is the vice principal at my school made her perpetual vows. It was a beautiful mass with so many people. Afterwords, we were able to briefly visit the Mirador Katarina which is an impressive lookout over the Laguna de Apoyo, a volcanic crater lake. This is a picture of a few students and I looking out at the incredible natural beauty.
Thank you all for your love and support.
Until next time.