Volunteer Notes


First, I just want to tell you that I am really happy to be here. From stepping outside each morning to be greeted by pine trees and chirping birds to talking with doña Cándida as we wash clothes…sharing my  joy of dancing with the students and Seyda and Juan Carlos during Thursday night dance class…the all-powerful thunderstorms… the simple and yummy food…I feel a lot of peace here. Even with the changes in the past week, the students have been patient, and it has been a good time to practice the art of adapting and embracing new challenges.

Day trip ~ We made a trip to Zambrano for an outdoor concert. We packed 25 people into the van and headed to “civilization” as the students call Zambrano. This was my first time seeing the full road between here and Zambrano during daylight. During the eight mile trip, I enjoyed soaking in the countryside sprinkled here and there with colorful houses and wondering every time we approached a river if we would make it to the other side : ).

The rain ~ From the cafeteria, you can see outside because it is basically a slab of cement surrounded by half a wall of bricks and then something like chicken wire up to the ceiling. Within an instant, the tin roof becomes a percussive echo of the pounding rain and booming thunder when the clouds unleash their torrent (a near-daily occurrence). Conversations become strained to be heard, or, more often the case, they are postponed until the skies rest from their downpour. The translucent jelly fish tentacles of streaming rain surround us as they fall steadily from the roof.

Dance class ~ The current cafeteria will be too small when more students arrive, so the workers built a second one, right beside the first. They’re calling the new building a cafeteria, but really, it’s a dance studio (flat surface? check. source of light? check.). On Thursday night I started what I hope will be a weekly tradition in this new space…dance class! Bass booming and bodies grooving, we worked up a sweat Zumba-style to songs like “Rock this Party” and “Hasta que salga el sol”. I was hoping to have more time earlier in the week to actually choreograph some routines, but between classes, preparing for classes, and working one-on-one with the students, there wasn’t really time. So I basically just free styled and pretended I knew what the heck I was doing, and we had a blast.

The coyote ~ Campus is littered with coyote bait on legs, aka chickens galore. In the past few days, there have been rumors about coyotes being around campus, but until yesterday morning, it seemed that no one had actually seen one except Doña Cándida, the cook, whose face, gently creased with time, will light up as she tells you that she never missed a party when she was younger. But if you weren´t sure whether there really was a coyote around, seeing his foxlike body trapped inside a cage that the workers were carrying this morning would set your doubts at ease. As the workers set out to trap him, many of the students followed along, disappearing into the vegetation in the distance. When they all returned, they processed toward campus triumphantly, coyote in hand. Everyone gathered around the cage to get a better look at him and snap some photos for the budding school newspaper before the workers carried him down the road to Zambrano, where he´ll be put in the zoo.

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