Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inspirational People and Places

 Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mitzi and I are in Nicaragua for module 5 of the diplomado.  But, before all the work we had time to ride the zipline at the Mombacho volcano.  It was spectacular!!!  There’s approximately 2000 feet of cable and 17 platforms all situated above the Cutirre coffee plantation.

We spent some time in Granada and Masaya then picked up this hitchhiker along the road.  It was Ulises!!  :-)   It was great to visit with him all the way back to León. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Proud brand new homeowner
Julie and Ulises by the washboard.
Automatic washing machine soon?
We did some preparation for the modules before going out to lunch with Ulises. Then, we had the privilege of seeing his new house in the suburbs of León.  With his new job, he hasn’t even had time to move.  We are mostly concerned with his massive book collection that will most likely become his kitchen table and bed. 

We rode the very packed ruta bus back into town

On our way back to la casa de protocolo, we found a natural juice place which has quickly become Mitzi's little slice of heaven.

Monday, January 20, 2014
Mitzi explaining that we are shifting
more of the responsibility to them this week

There are so many quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. that inspire me.  The one that kept coming to me today is:
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” 

Some reminders of human progress for me today:  seeing the enthusiasm of the diplomado participants as they returned for another week of education during their summer vacation; reflecting on what we value as teachers; observing pure joy as a student taught her lesson; graciously accepting a package of crackers from a participant as her way of expressing her gratitude and especially, witnessing the teachers’ pride in explaining their successful use of some of the diplomado strategies they have learned.  It’s the starfish for me again.  This requires sacrifice and a bit of a struggle but it also requires passionate concern for the education of the next generation of Nicaraguans.  We need to start somewhere and I believe that education is the best place to begin.

We had students answer three questions:

1. what they value most about being a teacher;
2. why they decided to participate in the diplomado;
3. what has motivated them to continue attending the modules.
 Another activity was having the students teach their lessons from Module 4 (Kris & Beth) that incorporated UDL concepts.  One student, of course, had nearly a complete teacher supply store in her bag.  She lives and works in a very impoverished port town and yet she has an innate gift for teaching with anything. Very inspirational!

Mitzi and I also had a conversation with Indiana about expectations.  While we understand the differing cultural norms, we also feel strongly that we must challenge the teachers as much as possible.  If we continue to expect less out of the diplomado participants, they in turn will have lower expectations for their students. 

The most effective ways to move out of poverty are with education and people to mentor.  
Fortunately, we get to do and be both!

At the end of the first day, we went to Barbaro to get the fancy coffee drink to celebrate.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Maria is back!!!  It just didn't feel like casa de protocolo without her. 

Many of the participants were early today-- eagerly anticipating teaching their lessons.  It was beneficial for them to actually "teach" as if it was a second grade classroom.  We were thankful Jennifer brought her big bag of stuff and also that Daniel didn't bring his carpentry tools.  The entire morning was spent with the participants teaching their lessons and the two of us providing feedback and support.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon focusing on Multiple Intelligences.  There is such a sense of pride in their culture as they so easily break into song and dance.  I know they have a much better foundation than in 2008 because they were able to come up with some quick activities for each intelligence related to Nicaraguan history.

Another inspirational day, beautiful weather and now an evening sitting outside doing work... listening to the parade outside and thanking the geckos.

- Julie

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