Feliz cumpleaños, Estados Unidos! On Monday, July 4th, the American volunteers (Matt, Kate, Ben and Mr. Yon) thought that a lesson on U.S. independence was in order. Accordingly, the four of us spent the day going from class to class offering special lessons on why the United States celebrates the Fourth of July.
The kids had a great time with the special activities. With the chiquitinos (youngsters) in Kindergarten, we had a special lesson on the American flag. The kids, who are very proud of their recently acquired familiarity with the English color spectrum, memorized that the flag is red, white and blue in a heartbeat. Next, they got to show off their artistic prowess and drew their best rendition of Old Glory.
Since the flag activity was such a hit, we did the same with the first graders. We also thought that we would test their arithmetic, as we challenged them to tell us how old the United States was this year (they were mind-blown when they figured out that the Fourth of July was the U.S.’s 240th birthday—que viejo!).
With the second and third graders, we pursued a different activity. We had them play the “Game of Georges,” in which half of the class got to pretend that they were Englishmen and the other half American colonists. The pseudo-Englishmen had (probably too much) fun bossing around their colonial counterparts, and the American colonists clearly felt some just satisfaction in declaring their independence at the end of the game. Throughout our lessons with the older kids, we were sure to draw upon the similarities between the Anglo/American divorce and that of Spain/Honduras.
It was a fun, educational Fourth of July, and the kids walked away with a good history lesson and some even better artwork.
We presently have five volunteers at our bilingual school. Thabi, Ben, John (Mr. Yon), Kate, and Matt are having a great time and an incredible, meaningful, life-changing experience. We are tremendously proud of them and grateful for the incalculable gift they give to our students. Our children will remember them as friends for a lifetime and they will learn to converse in English. Our volunteers may never truly understand the significance and value of the time they have given.
Thabi and Kate will be with us through the end of the school year in November. Matt will soon complete his five weeks with us and we will dearly miss him. It has been all too short and we hope he can return. In mid August, Ben and John will complete their tour with us. On the day of their travel, Alex will be arriving to join Thabi and Kate for the remainder of the school year. We have had an incredible year with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. What they have had in common is a generous heart open to enriching, life-changing experiences. We thank them!!
If you would like to read about Matt’s experience at the school, he posts a blog at Backpack Matt.
We are in need of volunteers at our bilingual school for the 2017 academic year from February through November. Find out more about our volunteer opportunities at http://shouldertoshoulder.org/volunteer-opportunities. You can also write us at Paul and Laura with any and all inquiries.