April 6, 2013

A TRUCKLOAD OF TRASH! - A Community Service Project: Day #6

Gateway 2013 HANDS Team:

 We were up and ready for another full day this morning!  We headed to the school for a variety of activities with the students and staff there for the morning part of our day.


We started out by working with the Grade 10 class to help make multiplication table study sheets for the primary students.  The study page had many boxes that you could flip open to see the answers revealed, as well as many different colours in each box.  This was definitely a tedious task that required  a lot of attention using rulers, exacto knives and neat handwork.  The students did a great job and worked hard together, while also building friendships with one another.

Our activity planned for the morning was leading a craft with the Grade 5 class.  We taught them a bit of the history of the RCMP and told them about their uniform.  Then we worked with them at making a paper puppet of an RCMP.  The activity required a great deal of cutting and gluing.  The students worked diligently and were determined to a good job!  Our team helped the kids and mingled with all of the kids throughout the activity.  There was a lot of laughter and many attempts to cross the language barrier with each other.  We also presented their teacher with a class photo of Mrs. DeKoning’s Class (they are partnering with this Grade 5 class), as well as letters and pictures the class had sent to give to them.

Then we spent time with the Grade 11 students, divided into 3 different groups.  We discussed 3 topics that had been given to us in advance of our arrival:  bullying, part-time jobs, and the use of water.  Students were given individual jobs within each group (to be the reporter, the person who writes everything down, etc) and they were told whether or not they had to do everything in English or everything in Spanish within their groups.  They discussed their topics, answered specific questions about each topic and researched what the word of God had to say about each topic.  This was more of a challenge if you had been chosen to be the reporter or the recorder, and were then told that you had to do it all in Spanish!  It was a great activity and the kids worked well together.

We had lunch with their teachers and they shared a video about their staff with us.  Then they asked questions from both our teachers and our students and we discussed the similarities and the differences in our approach to many things within our schools.  It was very interesting!

In the afternoon we had a community service project planned to do along with the Grade 11 students.  It was decided that we would go to a nearby local park and work together to clean it up and beautify it.  This was a great idea, but definitely a challenge!  You need to understand that trash is a very common sight here and, while people take very good care to keep the inside of their own houses clean, they do not work to keep the rest of the city clean.  The winds pick up plastic bags and trash and throw them everywhere throughout the city.  And it accumulates and accumulates, until the rainy season comes and washes everything away (into the nearby bodies of water).  The park was overgrown with weeds, and had layers upon layers upon layers of trash.  No matter how much we raked and shoveled, it seemed that we came upon more trash.  It was VERY VERY hot and dusty while we worked, but the we kept on working!  We also painted new lines on the court, painted the basketball backboards, and students worked to paint a mural together that reflected the partnership of our two schools.  Many people from the neighborhood came and watched us work, and were very interested in what we were doing.   It was hard work that afternoon …. But SO gratifying to see the end result!  What a great thing!  I was very proud of the kids and how hard they worked throughout the heat, dust and wind! 

Our trip back to the Nehemiah Center was slow going, as we were stuck in typical Nicaraguan traffic … It is quite something to see vehicles pull in front of each other, motorcycles weave in and out, and pedestrians walk out in front of traffic boldly.  Drivers here tend to drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the horn all of the time! 

After supper we had our usual time of team devotions together.  These times are very special where we read God’s word, discuss it together, spend time in prayer together, and where we  talk about the highlights of the day.   Students have mentioned how important the letters from their Prayer Partners and their family have become to them … we all look forward to them and they are definitely a highlight to every day!  Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to thoughtfully write them and send them with us!  Today we also received small care packages and treats from home … it was as if we had Christmas  in Nicaragua!    What a full and rewarding day we had! 


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