¡Guatemala es muy simpático! Wow! What a reception!


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Published: June 20th 2013
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Overwhelming WelcomeOverwhelming WelcomeOverwhelming Welcome

The kids were excited and told the teachers they wanted to make a poster. Each star has a student's name.
I am loving being here. It felt like coming home... only better.

I arrived I Guatemala City and collected the boxes of donated materials I brought from baggage, and sailed through customs in 10 minutes with only one box opened and a "Welcome to Guatemala". Rolling the boxes outside, I was met by two women from UPAVIM who treated me like a princess. They took me by the bank to get my money changed and stopped to get a drink... I was VERY thirsty. I really didn't expect anyone to notice that I was coming back. I certainly didn't expect the royal treatment!

Arriving at UPAVIM, there were lots of hugs and kisses and "¡Bienvenidos!". Last year, I really should have paid attention to those around me, because I didn't remember some of the women hugging me to say hello when I arrived this time. Then, to my surprise, they took me to a meeting room and served a wonderful lunch for me and the ladies connected with Montessori. We had cake and they told me I had to take a bite out of it. I looked at them dubiously, but they assured me that this was a Guatemalan tradition, so I did! They all loved it!

The children saw me and they were excited. I didn't think they would remember me, but I guess I made more of an impression than I thought. They wanted to show me their work and I got masses of hugs. I tried to get out of there as soon as possible so the class would calm down.

I was also surprised at how many things that I had changed in the classroom actually stuck. They are still using a lot of the materials I made last year. Just everything is better that I thought it would be, and I had already figured things would be pretty good.

In the afternoon and early evening, the smell of the bakery below, the beautiful view of the volcanoes on the horizon, bustling volunteer quarters, the wonderful food here, the cool afternoon rains, the sound of firecrackers at night, and the ease of knowing how to get around reminded me how much I like this place.

Today, I got busy planning with the teachers what we will be
...and the result......and the result......and the result...

…flies kept swarming my face until I could wash it properly.
making and learning. We set a schedule for what materials I will present to them and what we'll be making. Hopefully we can get it all done! So much work, but not difficult when I feel so appreciated!

There are a bunch of photos waaaaaay down at the bottom of the page. Scroll down to the bottom of this page or double-click on the pictures to see more photos connected with this blog.


Additional photos below
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They gave me an office!!!They gave me an office!!!
They gave me an office!!!

And It's full of materials that I need to teach the teachers to use.
My OfficeMy Office
My Office

I think they mostly gave me an office so that I could lock up the materials and they wouldn't get stolen before they could be put in the classroom. Everything will be inventoried and marked for the school.
Out with the old, in with the new(er)Out with the old, in with the new(er)
Out with the old, in with the new(er)

The old pink tower was so old that none of the cubes had corners.
The old pink towerThe old pink tower
The old pink tower

No top piece… broken and dented.
Old brown stairOld brown stair
Old brown stair

... broken and chipped
The new(er) brown stairThe new(er) brown stair
The new(er) brown stair

Much better condition
Serving lunchServing lunch
Serving lunch

Last year I changed lunch so that the children serve their own lunch instead of the aldults doing everything for them. They are still doing this and they have improved upon it! So great to see that what I've taught has stuck with them!
Central Sur bus terminal Central Sur bus terminal
Central Sur bus terminal

I went in the evening to get my cell phone and internet turned on. I feel comfortable getting around on my own this time.
PlanningPlanning
Planning

Dina (one of the teachers I am working with) helped me plan what we will be doing while I am here…


20th June 2013

Hey Natanya
I'm enjoying your blog so far. You look great - all smiling and happy. Keep taking photos! I'm looking forward to the next episode of "Natanya Goes to School in Guatamala". The chickens are doing good. I've started putting the water jugs in the freezer overnight so the water stays cold way longer. I tried hosing them down with water, but they didn't like that so much. Hahaha! Dora is pecking the hell out of all the low laying tomatoes. I've got some mesh to put up this weekend! Hugs, Fran
20th June 2013

So nice to read...
Reading this just makes me smile! So happy that things are going so well! : )
20th June 2013

How wonderful!! The children are so cute! You've really made a difference there! God bless you, Natanya! You've really put a lot into helping there! Looks like you've lost a bit of weight!
20th June 2013

So happy
This sounds like such a wonderful experience! Enjoying your blog. Can't wait for the next one.
20th June 2013

neato, how great that they are still using methods and materials that you did last time you were there, sounds fun so far
20th June 2013
They are a lot of fun!

YES!
So good to see you made it down. i didn't know when you were going. Glad to see you had a super reception! see you soon.
21st June 2013

OK
Hi, I am so glad you received a great reception. It is so loving and a wonderful start. I'm sure there is plenty of work to be done and I know you will do well. I am alsp glad I could help you out and that you stayed here with Kathleen for a couple of nights. xxoo
21st June 2013

It's because of you I'm here, Tomas. Your help has been invaluable. I appreciate that you brought that extra bag and saved me $100 in transport. Staying with Kathleen was so very helpful as well.
23rd June 2013

impressive
Natanya I am really happy for you and so proud of the work you are doing. How long will you be training teachers this time? would love to share notes on the details of your sessions.
25th June 2013

Greetings Natanya!
So good to know you are enjoying yourself and teaching too! Guatemala has been good to and for you. People who know the beauty of life and share it with others what a magical thing. Natanya it seems we communicate once a year and last I was in Florida and you in Texas. This year I am in Lawrence and enjoying the summer here getting settled into a new home and help in various ways around the community. A lot of my time is spent helping Perry with the school garden which he is the coordinator of. The garden is looking healthy and beautiful. Just yesterday we planted about 100 plus plants this is only a fraction of the garden. Natanya I remember you telling me of your garden experience and it was not "The War of Roses" but weeds. I am glad to hear from you! You have really given your good soul to your Guatemalan friends and family. Take care, Kathy

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