Tuesday, July 15, 2014

World Cup around the world

We are back in Nicaragua!!

Watching the extra time in the World Cup Futbol
championship match in Masaya Nicaragua.
And my 13 year old daughter Lydia is with me for the first time and Jonathan Scherling's sister Johanna is also here for the first time.  We are World Cup soccer fans and were concerned about missing the championship game due to our flight to Managua.  When we arrived, we noticed so many people wearing soccer/futbol jerseys and travelers waiting at the gate watching the game.  Our driver Julio even stopped some random people on the street to ask the score (which was still 0-0) and we listened to the game on the radio.  Once we knew the game was going into extra time, we stopped in Masaya at a Tip Top ("fast food") to watch the game with the locals.  Many people were supporting Argentina.  In Granada though, the majority had Germany's colors painted on their faces. Then, when we arrived in Leon we noticed people still out celebrating the World Cup and numerous signs in front of businesses advertising they would be showing the games.  There was such an energy surrounding all of this!!  Soccer/Futbol is an equalizing sport around the world and witnessing this in another country made it very real to us.  Jonathan prefers baseball but was gracious in supporting our need to be part of this world event.
After Masaya, we stopped at Tio Antonio's Hammock
shop in Granada Nicaragua.  This hammock was made for 17 people
but has held up to 30.  These hammocks are hand woven by
deaf or blind individuals and are the best in the world!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Martha has the four littlest boys and
 has their attention!
When I first came to Nicaragua in 2008 to provide a teacher training workshop, I assumed the teachers had a strong foundation in pedagogy.  What I actually saw was a severe lack of materials and the class activities were seemingly unstructured with no sense of curriculum scope and sequence for students at any grade.  I saw very little preparation by teachers before starting each lesson and the students wasted over 30 minutes each day running around for recess.


It is so gratifying to see the school actually resembling.... a school.  In 2008, it barely resembled a poorly run day care.  The deaf students had virtually no language, one was a biter, the teachers had no structure and there were very few expectations in place.  It has taken several trips over the last six years but each one has been better than the time before.  We saw students sitting in their desks, there was a mini lesson plan on the white board, teachers placed students in groups, and the students were signing all the time!  Of course my biggest accomplishment a few years ago was convincing them to get rid of recess!  They are only in school for 3 hours/day and I kept reiterating that there is no time to waste!  ;-)

We spent the first day interacting with the students.  They had been looking forward to my visit which definitely made my day.  Great big hugs!!!  They were asking for Maia (my older daughter who has traveled here before) and of course, they wanted chicle/gum.  Immediately they saw the resemblance between me and Lydia-- and Lydia has already fallen in love with the students.  Jonathan and Johanna Scherling are exemplifying the possibilities of a deaf individual being a successful, educated, independent adult!!
I am working with Eddy and Yuirman on
 basic counting using the Math-U-See blocks

Julie and Lydia on top of the Cathedral
 Tuesday July 15, 2014

We started in the morning climbing to the top of the Cathedral.  Since being designated a historic site by UNESCO, it is undergoing many renovations.  This time we went up yet a different flight of stairs.  To go on the roof we needed to take off our shoes for the newly whitewashed ceiling.  One of the workers stopped Lydia and told her to get her sunglasses on because the bright white was not good for her eyes.  He then explained his pounding headaches in the middle of the day, working in the heat with jeans and long sleeve shirts.
Johanna & Lydia in Nubia's math class
At the school, Johanna and Lydia worked on teaching math to Nubia's class.  I helped with basic counting and math using the math-u-see blocks.  Jonathan led the group in the Elephant game again which is an all time favorite for everyone.

The Elephant Game-- every student enjoys this game!

Many people ask me what I do in Nicaragua and how I got involved. Here is an article that I wrote about my first experience in the country, in case anyone really wants to read it.:  
Delkamiller, J. (2014). Nicaraguan education initiation: A case study.  International                                 Journal of Science Commerce and Humanities, 2(3).

--  Julie Delkamiller

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