August has been a time of transitions and adjustments. I have now been in Arequipa six months, and culture shock has set it. I would love to write that this month has been the most productive yet, but that just isn't the case. One transition we have made was going from having interns all summer, to sending then home at the beginning of this month. For me this meant, that I went from having someone else about the house everyday, to being alone once again. While I enjoy my solitude, it is much easier to be unproductive when I know no one is watching. It has been a struggle to find the motivation to get up and go to Spanish class and take the time to plan the lessons I will teach as opposed to showing up unprepared with a skeleton lesson that accomplishes the task, but not necessarily well or with much thought on my part.
This past Thursday I returned to the national school I have been volunteering at, only to be told by the English professor that, she thought it would be better if I didn't come anymore. Her reasoning was, my Spanish isn't where it needs to be for me to be helpful in the class. (Naturally, she told all of this to me in Spanish.) Needless to say, I was disappointed that my relationship with the school and the students have been put on hold. We did exchange phone numbers, so it is possible that my relationship with Prof. Castilla will continue.
As a result of my conversation with Prof. Castilla, I will be devoting more time to developing a workable children's Bible study curriculum. The challenge, is that I never have one age group to work will, in every setting I find myself in there are children as young as two and as old as twelve. The challenge is to prepare material that keeps all the children engaged while communicating in a way that everyone learns something valuable from the lesson. Thankfully, I have happy and willing guinea pigs out at Naranjal who continue to attend Bible Class in spite of my dreadful Spanish, or perhaps because of it.
There was one day when we were unable to go, due to transportation issues, and I was told later that the children came around every twenty minutes or so asking if we were there yet, so we could have class. Their attention and enthusiasm for learning is incredible and I know that anyone who has ever taught children would love to have these children in their class, because they are so wonderful at listening and paying attention to what I say.