After an exciting weekend that consisted of going to a J. Lo concert (props to Heniffer for playing all her old bangers), visiting a friend’s beach house, and going out in Panama City, it was time to get back to work both at Casa Llena, the school, and on my personal project. On Monday, Conleigh, Julie, Ellie, Jamie and I set up a coop for the baby chickens with extra unused supplies we had laying around the yard- doors, window screens, a poker table, roof shingles, and grill screens. Unfortunately, those little suckers keep finding ways to get out!
On Wednesday we spent all day in the school for our second week of teaching. The classroom is full of energy, smiley faces, and lots of kids trying to get your attention by screaming “teacha!” or “teachere!”. The classroom is emotional, mostly in a good way. I smile when I hear one of the older boys politely ask, in English, “Hello, how are you?” or when they ask with such excitement “Teachere! Teachere! Que es mariposa en ingles?! Booterfly?!” Most of the students are eager to learn, excited, and highly motivated. But there are also moments that are emotionally harder. For example, trying to work with a down syndrome child in a general education classroom and seeing the struggle she endures and probably will endure throughout her schooling in San Miguel. Individual attention is hard to give to each student, especially when students are at such different levels of learning. After an exciting day at school, it was time to dedicate some time to projects.
As far as my personal project goes, I initially wanted to create a crop- based community garden. This works well in an urban setting where there is a greater gap between the rich and the poor because the garden helps with concerns of equity and nutrition by securing the community food availability. However, in a rural setting such as San Miguel, where people are relatively making the same amount of money, a food-based community garden can play with the social structure of the community in a negative way by potentially taking away business from the local economy. Because of this, my project has turned into more of a beautification, flower-based project than a community-garden project. A flower garden still has the potential to promote ecosystem health, the demonstration of sustainable gardening, and issues of food security. This week I started the flower seeds for the garden! I reused part of our collection of water bottles by cutting about twenty of them and then planting seeds in them. With help from Jamie and Jamie, we collected some of the compost soil, mixed it with potting soil, and then planted our seeds in the soil blend. We labeled them and set them in various locations around Casa Llena to experiment which seeds will grow best. Now it’s time to cross our fingers and hope for some lil’ sprouts! Cannot wait to observe the upcoming growth in San Miguel- watching the baby chicks get older, the students get wiser, and the seeds grow bigger.