San Jose weekend 5

By aaron.axvig, 13 November, 2006

Well, this was the last weend of the Mexico Rural program (until next semester when the next group starts I suppose).  I had to miss paint-ball with several of the other guys on my floor to go, and they gave me lots of heck about it, but I had a lot of fun anyway.  I've thrown in lots of pictures this time, and some of them are just randomly interspersed so don't take too long trying to relate them to something.

I think this weekend was the one in which I got the most Spanish practice.  The advisor also said that my ability had improved noticeably since my first weekend there, which I guess I hadn't really noticed because it's such a little by little change.  But now I catch myself sometimes "eves-dropping" on conversations without really thinking about it, and then realizing a few seconds later "Wow, I just understood that without thinking about it."  Don't get any false expectations though: I'm still not that good when they just rattle of sentences haphazardly.

Children playing

Saturday morning we just did some regular activities like flashcards and a game of matching pairs of cards (memory).  I think I must be getting old, because those kids sure showed me up and I was always forgetting things.  Or maybe it was just that there were four of them and only one of me.  The cards were of words that have to do with elections, democracy, and justice.  It was for the civil unit that we do every week.

Tree and front of school

Lunch was some sort of cheesy sandwich that looked suspiciously like I wasn't going to like it (yellow potato salad between two slices of bread was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it).  It ended up being pretty good.

Playing a game

In the afternoon we had a rally for them to celebrate that it was the last day.  We wrote questions covering different topics and for different age groups; I wrote questions for the kindergartners:

  • What color are grapes?  (One kid was smart enough to answer both green and purple, which I hadn't anticipated.)
  • How many fingers do you have on two hands?
  • What number comes after 6?
  • What color are avocados?

The last one actually has a nice little story.  For the first two groups when I asked them the question ("Que color son los avocados?") the kids gave me strange looks and then answered "Green."  The third group did the same and answered both red and green, but the fourth group just gave me the dumb look, like they were wondering what avocados are.

Solely by looking at the word avocado, one would think it's a Spanish word.  After all, it's rather difficult and tedious to say in English, and all the vowels are pronounced correctly for it to be Spanish.  But the real Spanish word for avocado is "aguacate."  I'm really not sure how most of them got the right answer.

After all the groups were done, those in the group with the most points were the winners and got prizes.  Everyone else got participation prizes.  Then it was time for the piñata.

We debated for a while how to properly tie the rope, and finally decided to hang it from a tree.  So I went up in the tree and tied the rope.  However, they tied the other end so that it was hanging on the ground with a lot of extra rope.  I didn't really know what was the grand plan, but I'm not an expert at the art of piñata so I let them go ahead with whatever.  Then two of them had me walk around to the other side of the school building, and before I knew it they were hoisting me onto the roof.

With me up there, the piñata could hang halfway between the roof and the tree.  I wrapped the rope around my hand at first, but then requested that someone throw a stick up to me to wrap it around.  Then I tried to hold that with one hand and take these pictures:

Pinata holding
Pinata has broken

I was in charge of making sure the piñata didn't get destroyed by the first kid, and I guess I did alright, because I held out for so long that one of the teachers ripped it open and pulled the candy out after a little while (some candy had already been spilled).  I thought they should have just told me to go a little easier, but no harm done I guess.  I tried to take some surrounding area pictures while I was up there too:

Mountains from roof

It was pretty cloudy so the mountains aren't real clear.

Mountains

Mountains

The corn fields are one of their primary sources of food, and this road is the main one through town.  There are two more towns of about the same size 2 or 3 kilometers away on either side.

Gravel road

This is the schoolyard.  I guess it's going to be redone next year, but it sure is kind of run-down currently:

Schoolyard

For supper we had hamburgers again, which were again some of the best that I've ever had.  We walked to the little shop in town and had a Coke, and then came back and played some cards.  First we played the two games that I taught them last weekend (spoons and BS), but they wanted to learn something else.  So I tried to teach them Go-Fish, but it pretty much flopped, basically because it's the most illogical game of all to determine who actually wins.  More details can be written about that if you would like.  The second "flop" of the night was when we watched part of Supertroopers.  I think there were three problems: the laptop screen was to small to really see anything, the dialogue was too fast for them to understand the jokes, and everyone was pretty tired.  I guess I should make clear that all of this was just us teachers (school hours are from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 2:30pm to 5:30pm Saturday, and 9:00am to 11:00am on Sunday).

School building

Flagpole and burning barrel in the schoolyard:

Flagpole and burning barrel

Breakfast in the morning was cereal.  Apparently I missed the memo and didn't bring my bowl, but I think only one other person did, as almost everyone was eating out of cups.  Then some of the kids showed up for class an hour early, so we played with them for a while.  I had brought my frisbee this time, so I took that out and showed them how to throw it.  I don't think they had ever seen one before, but they caught on pretty fast.  Surprisingly, it was also new for the college students I was teaching with.  I bet the kids would really have been amazed to see the Ultimate Frisbee game that I played in on Friday night (which I didn't get so sore from this time, by the way).

We did some quick lessons after that, and then cleaned up the school (sweeping, mopping, and washing the blackboards).  I took some pictures of the roadside on the way back (at the request of my dad).  They will be in the post right after this one, which you've probably already read because it's on top of this one.