We drove from the first school up the very rocky and bumpy unpaved hill all the way up to the top and were greeted in front of the second school by a little girl with a small feisty dog. The school was much different than the last one as it had only three grey cement classrooms at the top of a long flight of cement stairs. There was no playground, basketball court or yard to play in. Just three classrooms. We unloaded the truck and hauled everything up the flght of stairs to set up our book station. This time, instead of checking out books, I was going with Caira into the classrooms to help with arts and crafts! We were both so excited.
We walked into the first classroom and were welcomed at first with quiet stares, then smiles and then a big, “Hola!” from the kids in their little wooden desks. We came here to read them a story and then do a craft project that involved the character of the story so that they could connect with the book and take a piece of the story home with them. I remember doing this in elementary school myself and it really did work. I know it was beneficial for my mom too–she loved when I brought home crafts I had and then eagerly told her about the story I learned in school. In fact, I bet she still has a box of all my elementary school crafts stored somewhere! I can imagine that it’s not much different here with the kids and their families.
One of the ladies volunteering with us offered to read the book to the classroom. The book was called “La Primera Luna Llena de Gatita” (The Kitten’s First Full Moon). It was a very sweet book about a kitten who thinks that the full moon is a big bowl of milk and travels far to find it, but after failing many times he comes home and finds a big bowl of milk waiting for him there. The story of the kitten made all of the kids laugh, so they were excited to be making little gatitos (kittens) of their own.
1 popsicle stick
1 pice of colored square paper
2 little button eyes
1 little puff ball (for the nose)
It was a simple and easy but very fun little art project to do. Caira was so cute with the kids as she helped them fold their papers into cats and glue the popsicle sticks. I was so happy that she got to do this with us–to experience this wonderful life changing day with us. It had always been her dream to help/teach children overseas and here she was in Nicaragua at a small elementary school actually doing it. And she was such a natural. She looked so happy and completely in her element–she was fulfilling her passion. Her ideal Life Out of the Box. And how special that we could help her in accomplishing this even for just a day. She would go onto her first semester at ASU in just a couple of weeks, but this experience of doing what she was most passionate about would stay with her as she started her college education. She would certainly be back.
I enjoyed helping the kids make their little gatito faces and helping them come up with names for their popsicle stick kittens. Each of the kids had so much character –they made me laugh the whole day. Before we knew it, it was time to go. Time flies when you’re having fun and today was certainly no exception. We packed up our things, said our goodbyes and drove back into town.
Today was one of those days that made me feel warm and fuzzy from the inside out. I was literally beaming. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. And perhaps it was because I was volunteering with a purpose–to find our cause, integrate it with our business and possibly give back even more so that the helping would perpetuate beyond today. Along with this amazing feeling of happiness came a lot of pensive thought. How could we actually make a difference to this project? What product could our business realistically give back to them so that they could continue giving these children books?
On top of these very important questions was also the question of where we were going to live the next day. Were we going to stay in San Juan del Sur and renew our rent here at Hospedaje Elizabeth? Or were we going to move up north to Masaya where the handmade products were being made? Our friends, who were staying in Hospedaje Elizabeth as well, invited us to continue traveling up north to Granada with them the next day. We had all gotten so close and Granada was on the way to Masya, so we were very tempted. There was lot to think about and a lot to pack if we were actually going to make the big move. So, naturally, we decided to make the decision over a few cold Toñas on the beach during the sunset.
To start at the beginning of this story, check out: Finding Our Cause in Nicaragua