Active Learning

by Evan Tiffany, Summer 2 Intern

I have been here for just over a week now, and some things about Nica life still surprise me. 

Brendan and I meant to take the bus to get to Lacrosse the Nations (LtN) at Club Hope this morning, but the bus was so packed that there was no chance we could get on. I shouldn't say no chance though. Upon arrival, 20 people or so managed to pack into the bus, already standing room only, shoulder to shoulder. We took the next one, which didn't have people hanging out the back door when we left. 

I am more and more impressed with LtN. This morning, the kids learned about the importance of listening. They are all under 14 years old, mostly probably under 10. We played a game of telephone, and simply sat still and listened to the things around us for 5 straight minutes. No talking, just listening. The kids took it seriously. We listed the things we heard, birds singing, people walking, cars passing by. Afterwards we did an exercise where we passed the ball in teams, and had to listen for a signal to change directions. 

My Spanish is getting better. I took three years in high school, which was about as effective as you would expect. However, everyone here is very understanding of people trying to learn Spanish. I've worked my way through conversations with strangers (with their patient help), which is a very cool thing. 

Walking around Villa Guadalupe with the Child Sponsorship group I have seen some very surprising things. I've never been to a place so dirty, which is understandable for a neighborhood right next to a massive dump. The kids are all skinny. The dogs are worse. The streets smell like sewage. 

But you know what? 

There is music playing from a house on every street. The kids laugh and smile and play with us. The adults have their share of trouble, yet many are still happy to chat with us. It's all very human, and in such a hard place to live, under such hard conditions, there is still a lot of happiness, which blows me away. It makes all of my problems seem very small. 

You may have guessed by now that personal growth is one of our group goals here. And it is definitely in progress.