Sunday back at the dorm was the start of a great week. We spent the afternoon watching all the videos I took at the school on Thursday. The girls
all crowded around my computer and wanted to watch them over and over. We did work on a little math homework and ate dinner together as well. The girls also got to meet our new volunteers from Connecticut. It is a mother and a daughter team who are going to live and volunteer here for nine months! They brought a ton of technology and have some really good ideas.
Monday I headed over early to help Maria put up the volleyball net I bought over the weekend. My mom donated some money to buy the girls things that they needed or wanted, and that was at the top of my list. Girls in Peru LOVE volleyball. If you remember, the junior team beat the U.S. earlier in the year, and is ranked second in the world. So yeah, the girls were so happy and have been playing ever since. It was a great donation! That night I wanted to catch a little Monday night football, but I spent the evening on the phone trying to set up a two week volunteer trip next June for a Spanish club from Chicago. Now that I am in a routine, I have started to organize student clubs around the country to spread word and put together fundraisers. I hope we are able to raise some money and finally build our own dorm. It is frustrating having to constantly worry about where the girls are going to live next year. I suppose a long term goal would be to create a string of self-sustaining dorms dotting the landscape of the Sacred Valley. How cool would that be to have a generation of educated, independent, healthy young women in the valley? But we are definitely a ways away from that.
Tuesday was more tutoring and time spent making flash cards. Considering how much math is done without calculators, I think that memorizing basic multiplication, division, powers, and roots is very important. I made a huge poster with everyone’s name on it, so we can time them and watch improvement.
Helping Nohemi multiply binomials
Dina and Lisa (volunteer from Texas) working on English
Wednesday was the big day for the diagnostic test. I created a 20 question test using their trimester tests and what I thought they should know, in Spanish. Not only will we get an idea of where they are at, but we will give another one at the end of the year to track improvement. The first years took it first. They did alright, but we definitely have a few things to work on. It turns out they all got a monster homework assignment that day as well. It was 15 extremely difficult fraction story problems, luckily due the following Tuesday. At least we have a week to work on it. Helping these girls makes me appreciate my teacher training back in the states. They seem to get random assignments all the time with no rhyme or reason. And they have not been taught how to do them or even steps on how to get the answers! We started from the beginning of how to work with fractions, and they learned very quickly. It reminded me of volunteering in Harlem way back in college. I taught fractions to a woman there who was trying to pass the NYC bus driver test. So I guess people all over the world struggle with fractions. Haha.
Thursday we gave the test to the second years, played more volleyball, and of course worked on a few more problems on the fraction homework. During dinner I pulled out the guitar. The girls had been asking me to play for a week, so why not. I played my go to song in Peru, “The First Semester of Spanish Love Song”. I think I need to learn something else in Spanish.
I did get a very nice, encouraging email from Marcy Grayson, a math teacher at my high school. And yes, finally someone solved my problem from earlier. (1,-2,3) Nice.
Also, I finished a book written by my friend D. Miles Martin. It is his first novel, a horror story written with a Stephen King type of feel. Even though horror hasn’t been my style since high school, I enjoyed it. It is a good book, and it takes place in Grand Haven. It is the type where you really get involved with the characters and can’t put it down because you want to find out what happens. So, why not read a good book and support his work? It is easy. I downloaded the Kindle app (free) on my iPhone, and went to Amazon to purchase it ($1.99). Buy it here.