|Angela and Kwame helping serve the|
|Florence giving a tour of the clinic|
Today was the first day of teaching at the ray of hope school. We were greeted by the ray of hope staff and a few of the kids. I taught the macarena to two classes that had 24 kids each. Each classroom was the size was 10 by12 . Though I thought to myself' wow how can they learn in such a tight space? How can they even move? The classroom was so tiny yet their love of learning was so strong that it didn't matter if they were squished together all day long. It didn't matter that they played, ate and learned all in the same small space with not one of them ever complaining. Quietly they waited to be fed. As we served each child, they gave us a sincere' thank you.' it was truly amazing.
I was overjoyed to see how they embraced me with their hand claps everytime we entered the room. Everytime I walked out and walked back in, they clapped and cheered. Today's dance was the Macarena. They had a blast and wanted more. Each child got to show me their favorite dance, and I then found myself wanting more. We were thirsty for each others teachings and happiness that we could not get enough. Seeing these kids and looking at what the they see and witness everyday is amazing. We learned the stories about each child, some who were beat by their fathers and kids who go all weekend without food and kids who are HIV positive and yet, they manage to be happy all the time. They always manage to rejoiced and keep a genuine smile on their face. It makes me so proud to share this experience with them. We danced ,laughed and played games all day and this is only the beginning!!!
|Robin working on her maraca|
Classy taught dance, and hearing the older class laugh loudly, I had to see what was going on. Classy was laughing and dancing and the kids were laughing and dancing with joy!
Craig, Kirsti and I introduced the children to symphony music through “Carnival of the Animals” (a symphony written by Saint-Saens in which each movement depicts an animal). Kirsti, using her whole body, did rhythm motions with the kids that got faster and faster until we ended laughing the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt.
My personal project this year is called the Reflection Project. Words can be similar to a living organism - capable of growing, changing, spreading and influencing the world in so many ways, directly and indirectly, through others. Words boast self-belief, self-confidence and self-esteem. The reason why words have the power to affect others so much is related to personal identity. Words are very powerful. If we hear words that are affirming, reinforcing of who we are and desire to be, we are likely to accept them as an accurate description of who we are, which then increases our motivation to fulfill and enhance that description even more.
Every day, each student will pick a name out of a hat and deliver a compliment or affirmation. By the end of the week, each child will have delivered 5 complements to their peers, and in turn, will have received 5 in return. The children will also be making an arts and crafts project that will "come alive" over the course of the week. Plain white frames will ultimately burst with color using pipe cleaners, buttons, glitter, and feathers. And on the very last day, they will be gifted a mirror to put behind their frames. The message here is to confirm how wonderful the children felt when they were receiving those daily complements and affirmations - but to communicate that there may be a span of time when they do not receive a complement or affirmation - but not to be discouraged. Because all they simply need to do is take a look in the mirror, see their powerful reflections for themselves, and remember the greatness, strength and beauty that they already know lies within them.