Of course school is always a good time but this past Thursday we had a particularly fun time with our fifth graders in the science lab. We’ve been working through the circulatory system as a class and after studying the heart we decided to dissect one. Fortunately, they’re readily available at our local market since anticuchos (fried cow heart) is a local dish. Here are a few pictures of us and the kids working our way from the right atrium to the aorta of two cow hearts.
We recently had a chance to stop in at the Casa de la Amistad (House of Friendship) and see how the center has been running. The Casa is right next to a major men’s and women’s prison in Cochabamba and provides a safe place for kids age 4 to 18 who live with their parents in these facilities to go during the day and receive a variety of services. (Click on the ‘Projects’ tab above to learn a bit more about this program).
Kallie had worked here during her 2009 internship so she really enjoyed getting to see some of the staff again and showing me around the place. We spent most of the morning between the pre-kinder and kindergarten classes and had a blast playing games with these uber energetic and engaged kids. At one point Kallie disappeared with a teacher for nearly a half-hour during a break which left me spent like arcade quarters.
We also stopped in to see a group of teens who were receiving homework help and working on art projects with supplies and instruction provided by the Casa. A couple of them were quite excited to use the few English words they knew. It was also neat to see how many of the older kids were encouraged to help the younger ones, providing them a chance to gain leadership skills and support the staff.
CBM, who initiated the Casa, continues to have a financial partnership with the program but today its staff and governance team are entirely Bolivian. It’s great to see programs like this endure through the perseverance of the local community.
We made the trip via four separate flights without any major issues. It was quite boring actually but we’re both OK with that. Descending into Bolivia’s capital, La Paz we were a tad apprehensive due to its altitude of 12,000 ft which often causes dizziness, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. The airport is actually equipped with an oxygen bar for extreme cases. Fortunately, both of us faired quite well.
We had the weekend to get settled into our apartment and acquaint ourselves with the city of Cochabamba before beginning to teach on Monday. It’s been great getting to know our class of sixteen grade 5 students and slowly build a relationship with them. Outside of the classroom we have been focused on studying the curriculum guide and planning lessons for the coming year. As we assess where our class is academically, we have also been able to strategize how to better support each student and best meet the needs of the class as a whole. We are certainly going through a learning curve but we’re really enjoying each day in the classroom and are excited to grow alongside our students.