Bolivia, Week Four

My fourth week started with a Monday morning Spanish lesson and it seems as though I tricked Sergio in our first lesson, because he came back armed with books and music that were far too advanced for me!

Volcanoes in the Albergue

The big day finally arrived; after two weeks of making, fixing, painting and decorating volcanoes, it was time for them to erupt. I was nervous that it wouldn’t work or impress the children as we hadn’t done that much testing, but I needn’t have worried. The first collective “woooow” as the vinegar and bicarb soda mixture spewed upwards was a joy to my ears.

They were still just as attentive after an hour, but unfortunately we were running out of ingredients. I made sure the last one was the most explosive and the children scattered as it sprayed all around. More volcanoes next week!

At this point I’d like to add a photo or video, but the Albergue has very strict and very sensible rules to protect the children’s privacy, so you’ll have to take my word for it that they were very excited. Here’s one of a volcano though: 

In the two classroom sessions, we made musical instruments, such as maracas (decorated toilet rolls with rice inside), tambourines/panderetas (plates with bells) and guitars (half a bottle with elastic bands). Very creative. 

Children’s Centre

I was in the “babies’ room” for the first time (I think their toddling skills should allow them to bear the name). Every day is a learning experience for me, especially with a different age group. There are lots of toys and balls to keep them entertained, but some of them only want what another child has, which means that I spent most of my time getting in between scrapping toddlers. Lifting them in the air seems to be a guaranteed winner at the nursery, but again, if you do it for one…

The next day I was with the pre-infant class, who 2-3 years old. They can do most things themselves, but often choose not to. The tía in the class is new and left me with eight children for about ten minutes – when she came back they were climbing all over me, each trying to get me to read the book they had chosen.

For our morning activity (with two classes on Tues/Wed), we made tambourines and sang songs (los pollitos dicen) – right up my street.

For Thursday I was in the kitchen and helped prepare lasagne (washing up is helping, right?) It was easily the best meal at the nursery so far and I was disappointed not to get seconds. On the same day, Constança started at the zoo and she “painted piñatas for a spider monkey’s birthday” – such a great sentence.

Teaching English

We had our weekly planning meeting on Friday morning and the headline for me was that I would be teaching English twice a week. On one hand, I was happy to be able to put my CELTA training into action, but it was still daunting. Partly because I didn’t know what to expect, but also because of the preparation involved, which is very different than for less academic and more playful sessions. Justa put me at ease by telling me about previous classes and saying that she would be present for the first lesson. That went out of the window when she found out later the same day that more than 50 students had signed up!

Porvenir

We spent the afternoon at Porvenir and had a typically quiet Friday session. One of the children, Zaira, likes to play with the soft balls, particularly the ones that she sees the other children playing with. When I reached out for her to pass me a ball, she simply sat down in my outstretched hand, much to Constança’s amusement!


Saturday’s session at Porvenir was probably the most tiring yet. The most energetic children were there early and kept me busy, before everyone joined in with some organised games and some yoga.

The next day I was at Porvenir on my own as Laura and Constança had gone to Lake Titicaca. I really enjoy spending time at Porvenir, but after this session I was really tired. A really lovely thing happened when a parent invited the three volunteers for dinner at their home (knowing that Laura would soon be leaving).

The afternoons were supposed to be for planning my first English lesson, but I mostly spent them in bed or watching the Olympics. We all went out to the local pizza place on Saturday night and I got to know the new work-aways, Helene and Alison from Scotland.

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