From Hedaya ’17
Tuesday, March 8
Today was our second full day at the school and the first day that I really felt like a part of La Nicaraguita. That was mostly because of the 25th anniversary “competencias” that are being held each day this week as part of the celebration. The whole primary school population moved outside for an hour of field day type events. Each class sat together on the porches of the two school buildings that face each other across the street. The street was closed off for one block so that there was room for the competitions. We sat with our classes to help maintain order and to enjoy the spectacle. Kids screamed and cheered for their classmates, and the classes that weren’t participating at any given time clung to their George School teaching assistants and tried to talk with us over the insane amount of noise.
The teachers had us participate, too, in the rice-sack races, the balance-a-lime-on- a-spoon-stuck-in-your-mouth races, and relay races. It was really a lot of fun even though it was the hottest day so far and I was decked out in black Adidas pants. When I wasn’t making a fool of my un-athletic self, I was sitting with my class. The children are so young, just 4 and 5 years old, that it would probably be hard to understand them even if they were speaking English. Most of the time I’m either saying “No entiendo” or I just smile and say “Si.” However, today I noticed that even with my broken Spanish, they always wanted to talk with me and never gave up trying to communicate. I thought about that during lunch and carried it with me into my 7th grade class this afternoon, where we participated in an English lesson and helped the students perform their dialogues.
We are so busy here that sometimes I am completely unaware of my surroundings, but I took everything in when we took an ice cream break and sat on the curb. We aren’t in the United States anymore. Not many people speak English here. I was finally able to appreciate the level of cultural immersion that we are experiencing (as I tried to keep my ice pop from dripping through my fingers). I never thought I would say this, but I am looking forward to waking up at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning and doing this all over again.