So to prove that it’s not all walking through water, here are some pictures of how we spend our days.
At the start of the second half of the year, there was a parent-teacher-staff-student conference.
After the meeting, the parents had to sign the notes. For legal purposes, or something.
Okay, not really actually quit my life. (You can stop freaking out now, Mom.) Just a little bit really. Literacy is so liberating and exciting. I want everyone to feel the reading rush, you know?
There are thirteen girls in my baking class, though only about eleven have been attending. (Hm, I wonder where the other ones went. Maybe I should be concerned?)
One day while we were waiting for the cakes to bake, I told them I wanted a photo. They were happy to oblige.
Well. Guess what happens when I say, "Oh-la-la! Look at those legs!"
This is Oscar. He's one of the maintenance guys. He's actually more of a janitor (he's not really a fixer-upper type of guy), but he's indispensable with his willingness to chip in and his positive attitude.
He's a friendly guy. Sometimes he calls my husband up, just to see how he's doing. It's sweet!
Also, like many Guatemalan men, he's touchy-feely with other men. He's fond of plopping down alongside my I-need-my-personal-space husband and draping an arm around his shoulders. It's pretty much hysterical to watch my husband struggle to maintain composure while internally wigging out.
This worker is taking a wheelbarrow load of grub up to the girls' dorm.
Here's Mario hauling one of my ingredient boxes up the stairs to the bakery. (Stuff is always getting hauled: food, tools, books, picnic tables...)
Here, let me show you:
When I open the doors in the morning, there's lots of scurrying.
The reason there is so much poo is because:
1) the bakery is right next to the woods and the windows aren't covered, and
2) the weekend bakers don't wash out the pans, sweep, or wipe off the tables.
(What's even worse, they scrape the dirty pans out onto the floor, and then wipe down the dirty baking trays—that have been sitting out for a week—with a greasy, filthy rag that's tossed in the corner somewhere. Shudder.)
So on the mornings when I come in, I have the girls sweep, wash all the pans, scrub the tables with soap and then disinfect them. One of my proudest teaching moments was the first time the girls did all that cleaning up without being told.
Here's my husband and Mario hauling a stove up to the baking room.
(This is supposed to be a positive post, and it is, but I can't not say the truth: Bezaleel has a lot of stuff that's been donated, and then, because of all the worker turnaround (a K'ekchi' cultural thing), it gets forgotten. The stove is just one small example of this unfortunate pattern.)
Feast your eyes, people!
This group of first-year students struggle the most with reading. (I'm not even sure that one of them yet knows how to speak Spanish.) Until they came to Bezaleel in January, they probably only ever spoke K'ekchi'. In other words, they're at about the same place my children are in school, in terms of second language acquisition.
We spend our class periods working on reading, vocabulary, and comprehension, but they're begging to do math, too. I think I'll start them on basic subtraction tomorrow.