Brian and I have decided to do a little bit of fundraising using our respective support networks.
A fundraising project we have been given by the missionaries here is to build a concrete wall around the border of the children's homes. Right now there is a flimsy wooden wall that needs to be repaired every year or so because of the excessive rain they get here, rot, and erosion around the posts. This edge of the project is also the border they share with an extremely impoverished community. Literally two feet beyond the nice grassy area that the rescued children play in are the shacks made out of scrap metal that entire families live in, the only separation being a rotting wooden wall. And we know that it isn't usually only poverty all by itself that affects a community. It is usually accompanied by neglect or abuse of children, drug or alcohol use, prostitution, and violent fights over food or possessions using weapons. Many of the children come from that community to attend the project's daycare every day because their parents can't (or just don't) feed, clothe, or even really spend time raising them as they grow up. Every few months the missionaries go into "the farm" as it's called, and check for any new babies or new families with children who need help. Even though it is a community that the project ministers to, it would obviously be beneficial to have a stronger permanent barrier between the type of poverty and danger from which the abandoned children are rescued and the safe and loving environment they now call home. We've divided up the fundraising costs between four people, and I'm responsible for raising $1,200.
The other fundraising project we have is just to cover the costs associated with our math tutoring. We bought 6 review books to help us review the math for the various grade levels and ensure that we're teaching things in the same manner that the schools do. We'll also have substantial costs associated with printing and copying worksheets, review sheets, etc. for the students.
If you have the means to contribute to either our teaching supplies or to the wall I encourage you to pray about it and then act accordingly. I also encourage you to talk with friends or your church about making a contribution now that you know about the need here. The missionaries really want to install the wall at the end of October because there is a big team coming from the U.S. to volunteer in construction and installation will be very labor-intensive. I will keep you updated on the status of funds!
I am really enjoying math tutoring! Last night I was helping two students and I was actually surprised when they said they were tired of sitting – then I checked my watch and realized we’d been going for two hours! I never get bored of it. It is frustrating when they don’t understand but it’s also an interesting challenge to think of a new way to explain it so they will understand. I got annoyed when my students told me that their math teacher at school won’t even repeat herself if they ask her. She won’t even re-explain something! She doesn’t skip a beat when the class is lost and confused.
I think it’s even more exciting than watching a good movie or sporting event, watching the student hesitate over a problem. I can see the wheels turning in their heads, and when they get it right, I want to jump up and give them a high-five. Actually I did that today. I think the students enjoy themselves when I’m so excited to help them. I try to always give them really positive feedback like, “perfecto perfecto!” or “super-inteligente!”. Today I helped a girl who is seriously very bright, and all she needed was a few things clarified and she was off to the races solving trig problems faster than I could. YAY!
Tonight my friend Johanna comes to visit from Honduras! She's a fellow Wisconsinite and Hopkins grad working in a clinic and a jewelry-making business with women with HIV. Commercial: there is a link to her blog on the right! She has to leave the country for a few days and then re-enter through customs every 90 days to renew her visa, just like I have to here. I’m excited to hear more about her experiences and to share with her what we’re doing here.