La Chureca, Nicaragua

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For Teaching With Technology: Podcasting

After listening to the podcast about the students at Willow meadow Elementary School, I have generated five ways I can use podcasting in Spanish Instruction:

Podcasts can be used in the following ways to assist instruction in the Content Area of Spanish:

1. Giving How to's:  teachers can use a podcast to give instructions/directions of how to make a podcast in Spanish = Teacher Generated.

2. Listening Activity: Teacher makes listening activity in Spanish and has students listen and respond to questions about the information/conversation they are listening to in Spanish for comprehension = Teacher Generated.

3. Festival of San Fermin: Students responsible for a segment of a show commentating about the history and current events of the "Running of the Bulls and Festival of San Fermin in Spain"= Student Generated.

4. Grammar Rules/ Info Sharing Song: students make up songs that will help them remember the latest grammar rules/ information they have learned in Spanish and post tehm as a podcast to share with the class = Student Generated.

5. Podcast Study Guide: Students get to teach each other what they have learned over the course of a unit in Spanish by creating a radio show podcast of the important themes to study for in an upcoming exam = Student Generated.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Hardest thing... My Favorite Part

My friend Kate sent me an email asking me to fill in the following blanks:

The hardest thing about being in Nicaragua has been _____________________.

My favorite part about being in Nicaragua is _____________________________.

I loved thinking about what she asked me and sent her back the following responses that immediately came to mind. I decided to post on my blog the responses (since i've been lame in updating)

The hardest thing about being in Nicaragua (believe it or not) is
living with 14 other strangers that you have to live and work with
everyday who are not like you at all. At first it was way way cool.
Super fun... Super easy. But really I think at this point in the trip
I am finding most of my struggles internally being people that I live
with (specifically the other volunteers)...I don't think that they
would ever assume that, but I have to take it to God everyday,
otherwise I'd have a breakdown... The main leader of Manna Project for
the region calls living and working with Manna Project : "the Real
World (show) meets Peace Corps"... and I would say that pretty much
sums up a lot of the dynamics here.
I mean I think i'm making my time here sound bad... but really its
not (its awesome living here!)... its just that you have to really work on relationships and
communication ... and you know me... I'm an RA... I don't share rooms
with other people... and I'm in authority over other people that I
live with... The only other time I've lived in a house with a bunch of
peeps was last summer when I lived with Ohana (my best girlfriends)...
So anyway... its been a major learning process for me to live with
others and love them.. (i'm learning that I am actually a really
selfish and short tempered person)..

My FAVORITE PART about being in Nicaragua is... oh my goodness that is
too hard to answer... It is absolutely amazing being here. The people here are so loving... I stinkin love giving kids hugs and looking into their smiling faces with so much joy! I love
teaching women's aerobics and exercise class... Its so fun to lead
workouts with a headset microphone. i love teaching! I love the
Kids... oh my goodness ... I saw the cutest kid I have ever seen
in my life last wednesday in the La Chureca Clinic. His name is Jose
Antonio ... 2 years old and would have suddened squeal bursts and
laugh for the hour straight that I played with him during the Mother's
health talk... he would scream and squeal ( in delight) and then run
into my arms to give me hugs... I would in a second take him home with
me if I could... so obvi.. the kids which are so stinkin cute are on
my Fav list... Probably close to #1 on it....
its cool that people are so friendly and at the same
time living with 14 people (however hard it may be) is also a lot of
fun... We have been having some intense Speed Scrabble games... We play Speed Scrabble Survival style with elimination of the weakest player of every round.. and we've really gotten into Rummy 500 as well.

Oooh...I just remembered that I think that one of the hardest things
nica wise--- is coming upon people in poverty who ask/beg/ for money
and are mean to you about it. I want to help out and give them
everything i have.. but they are mean and degrading to your person and
expect stuff from you because you are american.. it's been hard for me
to reconcile not giving money to the poor when I have with their
requests which are loaded with Loathing... (and we've been told not to
give people money too)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday SAL!

I am so happy to say that I got the privilege of talking to Salvi on the phone today (or actually yesterday... the 30th of June... One of the most important days of the year--duh!) ! My little big brother is now a big 16 year old and it sounded as if he was having a good day!
On another note... I haven't posted in way too long.  
Last week was pretty crazy.  We were getting into the swing of things programs and teaching wise, so i spent the least amount of time ever on my computer to reflect and update.

Last week we had more responsibility to actually lesson plan and take a bigger role in the programs and classes we chose to be apart of--
I loved it! I think English classes are my favorite academic classes to be apart of. 

The students are awesome.  In my Monday and Wednesday adult beginner's english class there are about 15-30 students that come.  They very from age 12 to age 52 (totally guessing), but they are all eager to learn.

Today we taught prepositions and had different writing and speaking activities.... Next class we will have a little "pruebita" (quiz) and play some simon says :)
In my Chureca Beginner's English class we practiced reading comprehension of the English vocabulary that the students learned last week.  They have market, education, fighting, and gifting vocabulary that the students (who are also adults from the range of 17-27--guessing again) use to write sentences and practice conversation.  Geoff, The main program director in charge of one of the English classes I'm helping teach, says he tries to incorporate reading, conversation, writing, and listening skills as much as possible in teaching English.  So our lesson plans have been surrounded by trying to incorporate different disciplines that we want the students to use.
So the two English classes I'm helping teach are just about the best and most challenging thing I
feel I'm working on down here right now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ometepe and Volunteers

This weekend we went on a trip to the island of Ometepe!
To get to Ometepe we left from our house here in Managua and  went on a two hour car-ride (starting at 5 am!!! Thanks Erin for reminding me), caught a ferrry, and got to the island which is the middle of lake Nicaragua.  On the island of Ometepe there are two volcanos (I think they are both inactive?).  We drove around the island during saturday.  We stopped at this little outdoor restaurant that is nestled in between Lake Nicaragua and Charco Verde (means green puddle).  We had breakfast (yummy).  Then we went to some pond--I'm pretty bad with names, but the guide told us some people call the pond "fountain of youth."  The water has a lot of minerals in it-- so it is suppose to freshen your
 skin and make you younger. We hung out there for a few hours.  We rubbed some of the mud on the bottom of the pond on our skins to make us softer.... I don't know if it worked--maybe? (Mind over matter).

We eventually ended up at the shorter volcano (called Maderas) and stayed at a hostel called Finca Magdalena.  On sunday morning we got up to hike the volcano (5:30am again).  It was quite an experience.  It was raining, wet, and slippery.  We had two guides... one was rushing us--so the boys went on with him.  And then a few of us ladies ended up leisurely going up the volcano with another guide. He gave us the run down on the flora and fauna of the mountain. Good Stuff!  I included a short video of this experience here in the blog.
Overall tons of fun! It was a good weekend trip.  We all came home exhausted!
In the video you will see Eva, Christa, Summer, and Elizabeth ( I think you see a little bit of each of those gals).  They are girls I am volunteering with here this month.  Speaking of which, I haven't really mentioned the other peeps I'm volunteering with.  This session of summer volunteers has 9 people.  Two guys and seven gals! The guys names are: Ryan and Andrew (from Virginia and Texas).  The girls are: Eva (Texas), Meghan (Atlanta), Christa (VA), Summer (VA), Elizabeth (Texas), and Ashley (Texas).   I love the group of volunteers! We have gotten along very well :)
The program directors leading us this session are Geoff and Erin (equally amazing).  There are other Manna program directors here that we are working with and everyone is so fun, dedicated to their students and really interesting to talk to :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

La Chureca- Managua, Nicaragua

Yesterday we went on a tour of the trash dump to get more acquainted with the area that we will be working with.

I have included some photos of the dump.

La Chureca is the slang term for the dump where some 200 families live.  The people live in houses they have made from scrap metal or other materials and they specialize in collecting different materials that they can sell to be recycled.  

Manna Project international works in many different areas in the life of the people in the La Chureca community.

One way is Child Sponsorship.  With Child Sponsorship, children who are diagnosed as being mal-nourished and have mothers who attend weekly health talks  in the La Chureca community receive monthly allotments of oatmeal, soy products and vitamins.  The gals who will be helping the project directors this month with this program will go to the health talks and home visits to check up on the mothers and their children in the program.

Another program is an Beginners English class that is hosted in a Health Clinic that is located in La Chureca (called Casa Base de Salud).  I will be helping the Program Director Geoff, with another volunteer here in this class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There is another program called Juntos Contigo that some Manna Volunteers will be helping in  this month (I can't exactly remember exactly what they do).

Also within La Chureca there is a school that missionaries have started and a sort of half-way house (ranchón) area for children who are addicted to huffing glue.  I think that as time permits, I would like to revisit the place because some little kids are just left there all day long.  When we visited on our tour, the little kids just reached out to us and pulled us in to hold them.  They just wanted some affection.  I held this little girl named Karina.  She was beautiful and loving and just wanted some affection.

Ok--So that's an intro to La Chureca.  One of the places where I will be spending time volunteering.

I will also be working in Math class, Adult Beginners' English class, Women's Exercise Class (me and Christa, another volunteer will be making a new routine for the class), and Music class in the Cedro Galan community.

This weekend we will be traveling to Ometepe.  We are spending the night at a coffee plantation and going on an 8 hour hike up a volcano.  This will be some quality team bonding and fun!

I will keep posting news... love V

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Before Bed I will update--

Well, there's not too much to update besides the fact that my lost Luggage has arrived! YAY!
I am sitting in my room right now with a fan sending the most glorious breeze my way while my two compañera roommates are asleep... yes that means that all lights are off and I'm that creepy girl in the corner typing away at her computer (this reference would probably remind Liz of the days I would wait for her to go to bed before doing work, when we were roomies because if any body was awake and around I would want to talk to them).

Anyhoo-- Life in NICA-

Great! I'm finding that spanish is coming easily- and I am absolutely love love loving speaking with the Nicas and helping in all the English classes.  Well I take that back, I am loving all the classes I have attended and helped in.  I feel that this place is exactly where I need to be this summer and I am so excited to continue to get plugged in more and help.
Ok and let me just say--helping teach someone a concept is so amazing.  What a joy it is to see someone thinking through a problem or translation and then scaffolding them (ed school lingo haha) in the right direction.  
Just keep Reading... Just Keep Reading... Just keep READING...READING...READING

Back to logistics of my day and the happenings:
Today we continued our shadowing of the Program directors in their elements(but you know, its not totally shadowing because your shadow doesn't interact with you and we have actually been given responsibilities and put to work in every class we have been to so far).  I went to La Chureca (for those of you who don't know--it's Managua's Trash dump where about 1500 people live) in the morning and made it to the tail end of the women's health talk.   There is a class every week pertaining  different health issues. Mothers from La Chureca who wish for their children who have been diagnosed as malnourished to be fed (this is "Child Sponsorship") with monthly allotments of oatmeal, soy products, and vitamins, are required to attend.

Ok quick Stretch Break and 10 second breather...GO!

After La Chureca there was a lot of down time.  I read and received my luggage so I unpacked it.
After that, there was more down time and I went and got in the pool with two of the summer volunteers (yes we have a pool--ok I am slightly spoiled here).
We had Math class where I aided this Student named Luisa.  Luisa is 12 but she is severely behind in all areas of school.  Today we worked on simple math--Addition.  We worked hard together.  A lot of visual aid was needed to help show her that 4+1=5 and 1+4=5 and that 2+3=5 and 3+2=5.  I think I would like to continue to work with Luisa but we will see what my permanent placement will be on Friday.
We had another English class today that we helped out with--it was Beginners English.  I helped an adult women named Esperanza. (she was a doll to work with)

Ok I would like for the reader to now Stand up.  Reach for the sky... STRETCH... Bend over... Touch your toes... Shake it out... and sit back down again!

Then tonight Very special:
We had Dinner in the community!
I will spare complete details, although it was probably the best part of my day... Ok I will detail it a little.  We went to la casa de Lorena.  A women in the community.  We had a traditional Nicaraguan dish she made and sat and talked with her and four of her six children present for hours.  They were so warm, so welcoming, so loving that I felt like I could have stayed there all night.
Anyway, Nicaragua opens her arms out to new friends with LOVE.  I am ready to continue serving and seeing what the rest of the month will hold.

we will be going back to La Chureca for an official tour of most of the dump.  I have already been to all the locations on the tour, but some of the volunteers have not.  

Monday, June 16, 2008

Morning Time

Well,  I'm in Nicaragua and it is Hot and Amazing (and the Mosquitos LOVE ME!)

The first night  here not all my luggage came in.  Luckily I borrowed toiletries from people here a the Manna house...Buti'm hoping and praying that it will get here soon... I arrived on Saturday and it is Monday morning and I am still without.

But anyway the reason I am writing this morning is because I quickly wanted to write what I read from Psalm this morning in my quiet time.

From Psalm 78:23

"Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;  He rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.  Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could."

This whole passage is a history of what God had done for Israel.  In the mixture of the many blessings and stories of Israel's thankfulness and waywardness...God's anger and loving faithfulness we see that even when his people disappointed him..."yet" he still gave a command to the skies to provide for them.  What a loving Father.   

Anyway, I think  this passage is pretty sweet as well because I'm volunteering with Manna Project International and this morning is the first working morning and it is great to read about God's provision with the heavenly bread.  I just pray this morning that the Lord would give me grace to live beyond myself.  Beyond my own strength, beyond my own love, beyond my own capabilities---so I can serve these community and people.

Before I go quick recap from trip so far:
Got in Late Saturday night (june 14th)
Airline lost my luggage
Mosquitos love me (I'm praying that my blood become toxic to them so they won't want me)
Sunday-went to church, had orientation meeting, toured the community: Cedro Gallan where we will be doing a lot of our volunteer work, played ultimate frisbee, had a cook out with the Advance English Students from the Manna Programs and played in the pool, then went to bed.
TODAY: Construction and Maintenance work in the morning at the community Center and then we will be shadowing the Manna Project Program Directors in different classes and such!  Woot Woot!  Here I go!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Traveling thoughts and New Beginnings...

I wrote this at 10 am in Miami International Airport

The first and only thing I can really think of right now as I sit in a walkway between Concourse D and E in Miami International Airport, is how stinkin close people get to you as they walk by.  This hallway is literally at least 25 feet wide and it is lined with chairs that are against one wall.  WIth all that space, you'd think that people would maybe back off a little and give my feet and my person some room to breathe.  Yet every time people choose to walk by, they walk by me, barely flattening my toes (wow I am totally being melodramatic here).  This is about the only complaint I have this Saturday morning as I embark on my 8 hour lay-over in the airport which is the continuation of my summer journey.

I'm officially off on my trip to volunteer in Nicaragua.  It is fairly strange for me to be sitting and waiting to go.  I feel like my life has been consumed with Nikki's wedding and bieng with family during Nikki's wedding weekend.  Don't get me wrong, that was an excellent thing to be consumed with, but I haven't thought much about Nicaragua (ah...I hope it doesn't hurt the country's feelings... I mean I'm being honest).

Ok time out:  three gals just barely brushed my toes as they walked by.  Give me some space people! Another guy just walked by with the sweetest alligator cowboy boots I've ever seen.  Ok so back to wedding and Nicaragua.

Wedding: the wedding was absolutely amazing (and I just lost my train of thought because a guy just drove by on a tricycle with a basket in the back!).  I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful bride.  Everything went perfect.  My favorite part of the ceremony of course was when the doors opened for the bride to walk down the aisle.  Everyone who took a look at Scott saw love.  He was crying as Nikki walked down towards  him.  Nikki was crying as she approached, andeveryone standing behind them (aka the wedding party and family was sharing tears with them as well.)  It was so beautiful.  A wedding and a lifetime of marriage to follow...that's what we all go to witness last Saturday.  It was sweet connecting with family as well.

The day after the wedding I got to spend time with the fam from Nebraska, South Dakota, and New York.  I also had quality time with my grandparents who live in Panama.

Now I'm back in the airport again thinking about Nicaragua.  In my volunteer handbook from Manna Project, the to-do list says to mentally prepare for the experience.  I guess that's what I will be doing more of now.  

Two minutes later:  I felt a tingling feeling on my arm and leg and thought I was nervous, when i looked down an ant was crawling on me (maybe not nerves?).

Anyway, enough silliness.  I'm going to put my computer away for a little while now and really think and pray for the next four weeks.  I have time to do this.  It is now 10:45 am and my next flight doesn't leave until 5:50pm.  So I end these few morning thoughts excited, indecisive (on what exactly I want to do in the airport while I wait--duh I should be reflecting but I'm antsy) and hoping for some good insight on what I want out of this trip.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Support Video

So today has been a long and busy day (and I have barely left the house!). I have been staring at my computer for most of it--actually switching from using the house PC (Dell,which is family preferred) to my Mac (me preferred) trying to figure out how to make a decent slideshow for Nicaragua.

Well, I made a nice show! Then when I tried to send it to some people, I found out that Office Powerpoint maybe wasn't the best way to go. Anyway...Dad, being the hero that he is, swooped in and helped me convert my (wonderful) Powerpoint to a movie, and here it is! I can post it!


So please watch it at:

Also! Wedding Update:

I have been quite a busy Personal Assistant! Yesterday I made over a dozen phone calls for the lovely bride, went to the tailors to get my dress shortened (believe it or not the dress is 10 inches too long!) and sat for a couple hours making favors with Nikki and Liz. Things are coming along and we are so excited for all of our family and friends to come in town.

OK go to the link. Watch the video- I made it to show in Church, and have a great day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Have a BLOG!

I'm very excited to say that I have a blog spot (thanks to the wonderful Sarah Cowherd who not only got me on gmail but now has me blogging). This space will be a place for me to keep track of the summer (and life?).

There's a lot of exciting things going on right now.

The most obvious is Nikki's wedding (woot woot, yay sister!)! It is just 18 days away! Seven days later I will be flying to Managua, Nicaragua for four weeks, and then San Jose, Costa Rica for ten days (I just bought my plane tickets!!! No really--literally half an hour ago I bought them!).

I used to be a hard-core journaler, so let's see if I can keep up with blogs... I feel like I should write more, this being my very first blog and all--but I really want to go to bed.

I will end with WELCOME FRIENDS! and Good Night!