Saturday, August 4, 2012

last day :(

Yesterday was the last day at the school. I knew from the moment that I woke up that it was going to be hard to say goodbye to the kids that I had grown to love so much. I had never expected that it would be as hard as it was to say good bye.
When we got there we had so much to do. People were running around every which way, trying to get things ready for the kids. Everyone was blowing up balloons, papering food, and giving out clothing.  After about 5 minutes we had a good system going, Kevin set up the computer Meaghan and Douglas gave out the clothes, and Makena and I set up the party space.  After it was all set up kids from the home visits started showing up. Marisol was there with her parents lots of others were there also.  I was so happy to see them showing some care towards their kids and being a part of their lives. Once lunch was ready the kids ran to the lunch room and were so amazed by all the work we had done. They ate their lunch and kept coming to get more!
After lunch we did all the dishes, and then started the fiesta. We had two piñatas I think everyone loved those, even the parents were diving for candy.  The kids were so pleased; they sat us all down and read their thanks. Then they called us up one by one and gave us Nicaraguan gifts to show how much they loved having us there to help. It meant so much more than another gift I had ever gotten because they have nothing, yet they joined together to get us each something.  After lunch was over the kids had to go home. I was so sad to see them go. I have grown to love these kids so much and it just rips me apart to see them all leave, so happy and know that they will go back to school on Monday and none of us will be there.  I gave hugs to everyone, but I will miss Ramón the most. He had a smile the lifted your heart, and a laugh that was so contagious.  I only spent a day with him but that day was the best day of my life. I will miss him dearly.
We left the school and went to Carmen- margarita’s house for a going away party that the teachers had made for us. There was a DJ and huge speakers. The girls were trying to teach me how to dance and shake my hips but I just couldn’t do it. It was so bad that I made everyone laugh.  Again it just shows how much they grew to love us.  I will defiantly miss this place, and I will try really hard to stay in contact with all the kids. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thankful for a copy machine

This morning I was sitting at the school waiting for all the kids to arrive.  Little did I know the bus had broken down and the only kids that were at the school were those who had walked there.  I was sent to Yahoska’s class. For about an hour it was only Ramón and I. Our first activity was playing with clay. We made butterflies, soccer balls, shapes, name tags, numbers, and letters. It was so amazing to see him say the words or letters out loud along with the picture in front of him. He was really interested in my soccer ball sculpture, so I took him out to the basketball court and had him play soccer with me.   After about 5 minutes he was doing better than I was. He hit the ball directly to me no matter where I was.  Another child arrived late and we asked him to join in on our soccer practice. Both kids couldn’t stop smiling; they loved it so much, they even asked if I would take them out to play tomorrow too. I think that it was the most fun I had had on this whole trip. When the teacher called us in I was sad that it was over, but I was also so surprised that we had been outside for an hour and a half.  Time flies when you are having fun!!
After lunch was over Crystal, Kevin, and I helped Yahoska with her lesson plans. That meant that we sat at the table for the rest of the day making copies of the paper (the kind that we all  used when learning how to write in kindergarten) by hand. I would trace the lines in pencil, Chrystal would put marker over the penciled lines, and Kevin would erase the left over pencil marks. That was a ton of work and I am so thankful that I have a copy machine.  Luckily we had a printer donated with a copier on it. The teachers will be so thankful that they no longer have to go home and copy on a piece of paper 9 times so their class can do one activity. Thank you so much for the printer.
I realized that tomorrow is the last day that we will have with the kids and I am so sad that our time will be over.  I have made such great friendships with these kids and it will be really hard to say goodbye to them.  These kids are so amazing and their hearts are so huge. They are just waiting for someone to accept them because their parents don’t always realize how amazing they are. I feel as if I have given them more of a reason to want to come to school.  I have given them that acceptance that they are looking for.  I get to go home to a loving family and friends, but some of them will still go home to the same uncaring and/or abusive family.  I wish them all the best and hope that someday things will change, that someday they can be looked upon as the amazing and beautiful people that they are.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.  ~Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

First Home Visit

 It was the end of the school day and I was leading the preschoolers out of the classroom. Once we reached the bench this beautiful girl, Sulema, ran up to me and gave me a huge hug and didn't let go for about 2 minutes. As she hugged me, she kept saying mama. It wasn't until she grabbed Dougy and calling us mama and papa, that I realized that she was wishing for a family that cared for her. It broke my heart,  she had to pretend that she had a loving  family to be happy; Her mom doesn't care about her. When Lisa- Marie went to visit Solema's  house the mom was gambling with men that abused Sulema.  She had so much lice it was falling out of her hair.

This afternoon Kevin and I went on home visits with Mrs. Gutmann. We went into the slums and saw a couple of the houses that had children with challenges living inside them. We went there to meet the family and children. I was so happy Kevin was there to talk for be because I was so surprised by how they lived I couldn't even speak. Many of the houses were smaller than my room, and 9-10 people live in them. Many of the houses didn't even have windows they had bars.

The first house we went to was the home of Marisol. She was 2 years old and weighed about 8 pounds. The parents were split apart and the mom lived with her parents. Her dad is an alcoholic and comes home drunk. Marisol is very malnourished, and I am really worried about her. Kevin held up two of his fingers and it was thicker than her leg. This made me feel sad and also I had way more than I needed. I have parents who love me and beautiful sister and enough food to last me the rest of my life and they are lucky to have one of those things.

The second house we went to was the home of 15 month old  Deanna, again the parents no longer live together but this split up was different. Her father had another family. while he was married to his mother he was also with another girl they have kids the same age and all the kids are disabled. Deanna has an enlarged heart, so she cant do physical therapy.  Because her heart is enlarged  her circulation is cut off and so her feet nose and fingers all have a blue tint.

In the third house we met Julissa. She is a 22 year old woman with epilepsy. While we were there she was having a Grand Mal seizure. It was so sad to see that all she ever did was lie on the floor, she did nothing else except for sit. Her mother thought that Juliussa was a curse on the family so she gave her child to her mother (Juissa's grandmother).  The grandmother didn't know what to do so she never took Julissa to therapy. Now she lives with her husband, mother and father in law and her little brother who is 10. They all do the best that they can but even that is not good enough.

Lastly, we went to Clara and Franklin's house they are 13 and 14. Clara has a heart disorder and Franklin has a brain disorder. They were not there because they were at the Doctor's office. I really wish they were there so I could meet them. Overall, today was a sad day!

Monday, July 30, 2012

first day at the school

Today was our first day at the school with the kids.  Being there felt like your first day of kindergarten when you walk around asking people to be your best friend. If you accept you leave all your previous thoughts and everything else behind and you are with them fully for the time that you have you will be amazed by what you can do. These kids are so special that not even 5 days is enough time. The kids have no worries while they are at the school because they don’t get teased for what they look like or called stupid. 
Soon after arriving I was given hugs by many of the kids, and a hand shake from and adorable little boy who was about 6. The kids were so excited to see new people and show us how much they knew.
 I was ushered off to the classroom in which I would be helping at. There were about 8 kids they were all deaf and in either 5th or 6th grade. In that class I talked to 3 of the kids and got to know them. The first was the oldest. He was 14 years old and we had the same birthday!!!!  Second was this really shy boy. He sat in the corner of the room and barely said thing. After trying to communicate with him many times he finally started to warm up to me. He showed me every sign in the signing dictionary then he started to look through my drawings in my notebook and sign them also.  So I gave him all my drawings because I know he will take better care of them than I willJ. The last was this tiny girl who was 14 also; she had her hair up perfectly with many rubber bands, and an adorable head band. She reminded me of my best friend Rychelle because everything that little girl did ended up perfect even if it took an extra 20 minutes just like Shelly.  Her name was sander.
In that first class I realized how different teaching is when you can’t verbally explain things, and even harder when you don’t know much else then the alphabet in Nicaraguan sign language.  I was trying to explain how to add addition problems from right to left wit out talking, or understanding what anyone was telling me unless they spelled it out really slowly.  That didn’t go to well so I just wrote the numbers 1-100 and pointing to the answer.
When the bell went off at 10am for lunch/recess people were everywhere.  During this short period of time I braded a girls hair, she had a huge smile on her face for the rest of the day I made me so happy to think that one braid could make a child so happy.  She was such a sweetheart and has an amazing since of humor. Then after that went and saw what the kids had for lunch. The kids were eating lots of pasta with butter and rice. There was no nutritional value it made me really sad, but the worst part was that lunch was the only meal that some of the children got all day because their parents couldn’t afford dinner or breakfast. When lunch was over Meaghan and I were pulled over to the swings to push the boys.  The only thing the boys would say is “más alto” which means higher.
In the last class I was with the 3rd and 4th graders they had science. They didn’t need much of my help so I wrote in my journal. The funniest part was when I brought my Gatorade into that classroom and all the kids were signing about me and how weird I was to be drinking blue water. So I tried to say its Gatorade but they can’t there me so I tried to sign and tell them that id made it so I didn’t get dehydrated. But that was a mess so I ended up giving them each some, but they really liked it so they wouldn’t give it back.  That’s ok though because I have more!
The best part of the day was when the kids were leaving and we gave them bags full of food and hygiene stuff. They were so happy to get home and show their parents. The bus was a crazy mess there were probably 25 people in a bus for 12 people. The kids were just piled in there waving good bye. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day One

Arriving in Nicaragua was great we got off the plane and a mariachi band was playing, and we had Lisa-Marie and Carlos our driver waiting for us as soon as we got of the plane.  Driving away from the airport was nothing like any other vacation I had ever been on.  It was so real. It was dark outside but you could see the houses and buildings that you were passing. The houses were nothing special but you could feel the love, care and culture bursting out from the windows. 
Falling asleep was really hard because I couldn’t think about anything other than seeing the school and all the kids. but as soon as morning came I really wished I had more time to sleep because oh my goodness three hours of sleep was not enough for the long day of hard work we had ahead of us.
Today!!! Where do I start? We did a lot of cleaning and learning today. We cleaned the entire inside and out of the school we picked up trash around the perimeter of the school, and got lunch for the teachers. Even though it was a lot of cleaning it makes it all worth it to know how happy the kids will be when they see their classrooms. I am feeling more self-confident with my Spanish speaking skills and cleaning.  Today I learned how to use a washboard and I learned that there were many many kinds of bugs that can kill you in Nicaragua.   But I mostly learned that you can have a language barrier but still make great friends. Crystal is one of the friends that I have already made.  She is 20 years old and our translator.  I really got to know her when we were scrubbing all 200 floor mats. And one of the things that hit me was how hard it is to get a citizenship in the United States. Crystal is already a citizen but had to get her 4 mouth son lineal a citizenship so she can give him a better education. I wish crystal the best of luck.
Good luck Mom, Julie, April , and Natalie with your Crossfit!!!!  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I can't wait!!!!!!!

Next Week!!! I am so excited to be leaving for this life changing trip in just nine days. After hearing my sisters stories and and seeing all of the pictures on Facebook. I become even more excited ( if that is even possible) but also inspired.  It was crazy to think that My friends and I are in the ages between 12-15 and we are making or are going to be making a huge difference in so many peoples lives, weather that is giving them love, clothing, shampoo, or just even a smile it makes my day to even think about that. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I'm so excited

I am so excited, I don't think I have ever looked forward to something as much as I am towards this Nicaragua service trip! This is going to be the trip of a life time! I am blessed to have such an amazing group of hardworking and loving people going with me on this adventure. Watching my sister pack for her trip to Cambodia makes me even more happy and excited about my trip, but it also makes me a little sad to think that my little sister will be on the other side of the world for 17 days (thats a long time to go without my little Zozo) but I know that she is going to make a huge difference and have loads of fun. Good luck Zozo and the rest of the second cambodia trip!!!!!