Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I need a real vacation

Monday was the start of cursos vacacionales, or vacation courses. Our regular school year ended in early November which makes right now sort of like summer break. Except that we have 500 bored kids, no swimming pools, no summer camps, no lemonade stands. The answer to this is more school--but fun school with classes like handicrafts and drama.

Hannah and I are teaching two classes together: Drawing 2 and Painting 2. We have classes of 25 kids each ranging in age from 7 to 17. Thrown in the mix are up to 5 special needs kids in each class. Now when I say, "special needs," we are talking about kids with severe problems. Autism, Downs Syndrome, wheelchairs. The non-"special needs" kids have needs of their own as well. We have kids with ADD, ADHD, kids who can´t read, kids who can´t sit still, kids who steal, kids who don´t come to class, newly arrived kids who ask us for money. If this doesn´t sound chaotic enough, please imagine trying to teach drawing and painting with a few boxes of crayons, some cheap markers, 3-inch long colored pencils, and computer paper.

The classes last for 80 minutes, more or less, depending on when they decide to ring the bells that day. However, our second class, with the most trying kids, lasts for 100 minutes, the last 20 minutes being designated for chores. We are still trying to figure out where 24 kids should stand while one of them mops.

An abundance of supplies
for 7 weeks of class
with 50 kids.

Yesterday, after class, seeing as a pack of computer paper only lasts so long, Hannah and I went into Tegucigalpa to buy a few supplies (with our own money, of course) for our class. After running around looking for deals on posterboard and pastels, I had an out-of-control headache and was threatening murder at anyone who happened to brush into my supply-filled backpack or grocery-bag-filled arms. At the persuasion of my friends, I decided should probably reconsider murder and settle for something less criminal, lest I change my blog from ameliagoestohonduras to ameliagoestohonduranprison. We decided on beer and stopped at the Salva Vida bar that is conveniently on our way out of the city.

Two beers, two bags of water, and 4 Advil later, I was back to my pleasantly-fiesty (as opposed to my violently-fiesty) self and we broke one of our own rules and hitchiked back to the Ranch after dark. Luckily it was a safe and beautiful ride. We watched the sky darken into purple and then black. Fireflies were lines of light as we flew by and the Christmas lights on the little plaster houses broke through the dark air like jewels.

Once back at the Ranch, we skipped hogar (concerned about beer breath and a possible resurgence of anti-child emotions) and stayed in, eating fried chicken we bought from a roadside stand and watching season 3 of Sex and The City.

Today was another day. Exhausting, yes. But better than yesterday. And yesterday was better than the day before. If this trend continues, well, I just might survive. Then, after these so-called "vacation" courses, I´m planning on a vacation all my own.


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