Today I spent the day working with the Bibliomovil, a mobile library that serves poor rural villages. We bring books to the children of these various communities there as well as facilitate educational activities. The trek through the mountain villages is a bit treacherous in our school bus turned library. I have much respect for Alvaro, our driver, who makes driving in times square during rush hour look like a cake walk. The streets are narrow and oftentimes riveted by the huge rainstorms that frequent the region.
Today we visited a small rural neighborhood. This is where Nereyda lives, she is my tour guide for the month. We are about the same age, and when I visited the first time we became fast friends. The houses in the village are similar to those in La Chispa however, there is a lot more space. People have a little more land, allowing them to keep chickens, ducks, pigs etc. They are more remote and the schools don't have many supplies. From what I understood, the bibliomovil is the only provider of art supplies and reading materials.
There are two other interns from the states who help with the program as well, Claire and Molly. They are both in High School and both live in Vermont. They have been here a few weeks already and seem pretty settled. It is nice to have a conversation without having to think so hard. They also know the ropes and have a pretty good command of Spanish. When I am a little confused its nice to have someone to turn to, and vice versa. Out of three gringas one of us is bound to understand.
The kids were fantastic. They instantly greeted us with hugs and smiles. The bibliomovil represents fun activities and they are always glad to see it. In the morning, we read a story to the children about a ladybug and afterwards, the kids got to design their own bugs. The morning session closed with some group songs and then individual or small group reading time. The kids were very eager to show me how well they read. A few were shy at first, but with some prompting read out loud. Nereyda says that before the bibliomovil the kids really didn't like to read. Now, they really seem to enjoy it and even call themselves readers.
After a two hour siesta in Nereyda's house, we returned to work with some of the older kids, 6th graders. We did a mask project with them in which the students had to represent 3 aspects of themselves. Unfortunately, I think the kids spent more time decorating their masks then self-reflecting, but they enjoyed it all the same. I have a similar activity in mind for next week, so I need to think of ways to make the activity a bit deeper.