Saturday, June 09, 2007

workin´ it

paint, trees, butterflies,'s been a really busy couple of weeks. june 5th was día del medio ambiente, you know, another day to celebrate the earth and environment. can't have too many of those, can we? maybe next year (if i'm here) i can suggest to the teachers that the kids have yet another know, kids dancing, piñatas, the whole nine yards in celebration of both día de la tierra and día del medio ambiente. how do you think that'd go over? as much as i think that they'd look at me like i was nuts, i think part of them would be like "another chance for a fiesta? let's do it!!!"

anyway, so let's start with last sunday. this comité that we formed has wanted to meet like twice a week every week, and it's so crazy! sometimes i'm like "oh for the love of god..." with these meetings, but then i'm happy when we are actually in the meeting and discussing new things we can do to improve the environment in san jorge. we had a general meeting with the people of san jorge and we invited this woman who works for this NGO in apaneca (we are looking for all the help we can get to add funds to the comité, as well as other things like barrels and plastic bags, things like that). so she came and told the comité that she was going to give us paint so that we could give the paint to the people of san jorge to paint their houses. see, the idea with this is that we can make san jorge look know, clean up the trash, paint the houses, other beautification stuff. so we got this paint and last sunday, we had a little paint giveaway on one of the streets in san jorge. it was a lot of fun just seeing everyone come down with their empty buckets and gallon jugs, all super happy to be getting the paint. the comité kind of has this strategy right now which is "action, action, action." don wilfredo, the president, is really intent on "doing things," not just talking about them.....which is what salvadorans are really good at. they love to sit and talk and talk and talk about how much they want to do or whatever, but when it comes down to actually doing things, they're not the greatest at it. so the comité has really focused on getting out there and doing stuff, and this paint giveaway, while in no way related to the trash problem, was something related to cleaning the place up in terms of beautification. and the people loved it! what is funny, though, is that we only had two colors of paint: light pink and a really light brown color, almost creme. so now if you walk through san jorge, it seems like there's so much pink! it's hilarious.

this is a good picture of the comité (minus don jorge)...left to right, delmy (in the purple dress), carlos, diego, niña reyna, antonio (who´s not officially on the comité, but who everyone thinks is a great speaker, and so they ask him to do a lot of the talking on behalf of the comité), don wilfredo, geovany, guillermo, mercedes and pedro

don wilfredo (the president)

guillero and don pedro

carlos´s daughter

the paint giveaway begins

diego stirring things up

a happy resident of san jorge

don jorge helping pour paint

carlos and don wilfredo

niña cleotilde....this is the grandmother whose house i stayed in during my site visit

geovany, mercedes, niña reyna and antonio manning the registration table

carlos and niña reyna

don wilfredo´s wife and their daughter

one of my compañeras that lives up in a pueblo in santa ana has a tree vivero project with her alcaldia and generously offered free trees to anyone interested. i told the comité about this opportunity and we decided to solicit 200 trees for a reforestation project in san jorge. deforestation in el salvador (i think) is the worst in the world. like statistically speaking, i'm pretty sure that el salvador ranks first in the world in terms of deforestation....which suuuuuucks! and even though i live in a pretty forested area (because of the coffee forests), there still is a lack of a lot of higher trees. there are shade trees for the coffee, but so much of what is actually forested is coffee trees, that there is a lack of other kinds of trees. anyway, we solicited 150 cedro blanco (a tree that reaches super high heights) and 50 flor de maria (same as san andrés, a tree that has these beautiful yellow flowers). so on tuesday, the actual día del medio ambiente, i rode to el porvenir with don wilfredo, diego, antonio and salvador (my neighbor in apaneca, who owns like 5 houses in san jorge). we had to find our own transportation, which can be a real bitch because not a lot of people have cars, let alone trucks that we could use to transport 200 tree seedlings. salvador has a pickup and generously offered to llevar the trees if we'd just pay for gas. so that was a big help. we got the trees back to san jorge and are now just waiting for a good time to sembrar. we're planning on coordinating a day when some of the young kids from san jorge can help us, and i'm planning on having the 5th and 6th graders help out, not only for reforestation of the community, but at the school as well. so that's going to be a great thing for the colonia. it'd be nice to turn them all into a bunch of tree huggers, wouldn't it. haha.

to celebrate día del medio ambiente, my theme for the week at the school was utilizing the three r's.....reduce, re-use, recycle. i gave the kids a 15 minute charla about re-using things that normally they'd just throw out....empty yogurt cups for pencil holders, plastic bags to hold their money for school refrigerio, styrofoam cups to plant flower seeds......stuff like that. then with the first and second graders we made butterflies out of toilet paper rolls. they absolutely loved that activity. it's funny how something so simple can make these kids just so happy. my mom has given me so many school supplies that last year i gave to the teachers. but the teachers horded them and hardly ever used them with the kids. so when my mom brought me two suitcases filled with crayons, scissors, glue, construction paper, etc. when she and my dad came to visit over christmas, i didn't give them to the teachers. i decided i'd use them for activities i was doing and so for this butterfly activity, i had all the supplies and when we were done, i packed everything up and can use them for the next activity. it's a lot easier than relying on the teachers to keep this stuff for the kids. they have no idea how to utilize stuff like this.....they lose crayons, take them home for their own kids, whatever. and that stuff is supposed to be for the kids! so i figured, i'll use them and whatever's left over at the end of my service, i'm having a giveaway of my own, only this time the stuff's going directly to the kids.

first graders ever and jonathan coloring away

mirna coloring with the girls

jonathan´s finished product

the first graders and i with their butterflies

second graders working

luis....this kid has 12 brothers and sisters!!!! can you imagine???

elba and the second graders making their butterflies fly

the older kids – 3rd through 6th graders got to make flowers and butterflies out of plastic bottle tops and painted them using leftover paint from the map project. that was a cool project as the kids were amazed that we could make such cool stuff out of old salva cola bottles. it's really hard to use that oil-based paint, but it was totally worth it. the kids had a great time and hopefully learned something in the process. i actually had a couple kids that came in after doing the project and told me that they used plastic bottles at their houses to make more of these little decorations. totally cool!!!!

fifth and sixth graders cutting the wings and petals for their butterflies and flowers

the girls painting

manuel de jesus with his finished product

fourth graders painting

some of the finished butterflies

walter and jaime arturo (two of second-grader luis´s brothers....remember, there are still 10 more kids in that family!!)

in other news, invierno has finally started....which means it's just rain, rain, rain all the time. the great thing is, my house is nothing like the cuarto at the hostal where i was living last year at this time. my walls aren't covered in mildew and i actually have a place to dry my clothes even if it's raining. i've had bust out my excellent rainy weather wardrobe: rubber boots, rain jacket and umbrella pretty much every day for a week or so, but hey, my feet, torso and head stay dry so whatever. there were a couple temblores on friday which left everyone feeling nervous. it's weird how everyone gets all edgy when we have even the smallest temblor. but i suppose when they've lived through some of these major earthquakes they've had in the past, any time the earth shakes below their feet they are thinking that it's the start of the next big one. and you know, it's just a matter of time before the next big one hits. we are sitting right on the ring of fire here in el salvador....a seriously major area for seismic and volcanic activity and it really just is a matter of time.

and last but not least, enrique iglesias has a new video....yeah!!!!!

that's all for now. :-)