2006 Mexico Mission Diary
These photos are from the preschool after school ends, which is about noon. The preschool is bright and inviting, but they need more storage space! The first two photos are of the common space in which I worked. In the first photo, you can see a stack of monitors I needed to test. Beyond them is the hallway to all but one of the classrooms.
As I worked, I always heard children laughing and singing. They passed through the common area on their way here and there chattering happily. Some of the boys were bold enough to say "¡Hola!" to me. When I returned the "¡Hola!" they became very excited, and approached for high-fives and as many Holas as they could get in before the teacher came to find out why they hadn't arrived at their destination yet. The girls said "¡Hola!" too, but mostly stayed in line as they passed by. One little girl, named Lisa, was brave enough to come near. She was very interested in the computer. She would only smack her hands at the keyboard. It hit me that these children didn't have computers at home. They would need to learn how to use these computers before they could use any educational software on them!
This photo is about a 45 degree turn to the left from the previous photo. Even though the double doors are marked "emergency exit," everybody went in and out of them, and the right door was left open half the time. This is the way to the playground, so the children passed through here frequently. One teacher had her students place their hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them as they walked through the school, so they looked like a human chain. All the other classes filed neatly through the school single file.
Listening to the children filled me with joy. It actually helped that I didn't understand them. When I hear my kids running around the house, I understand what they're saying and focus on that. I am likely to pay less attention to the tone of their voices. Because I didn't understand anyone's words, it freed me to pay attention to the life in these children. I found joy not just in their laughter, but in their arguments and even in the tears of one poor little boy named Jose who fell twice one day. The teachers fostered good feelings with music. There was always singing in the school.
This photo is of one of the teacher's desks in a classroom. I was part of the crew that built those desks last year, and it's really neat to see them in use. We painted them white, but all but one of them has already been repainted tan. The remaining white desk is very scuffed and dirty, and could use a coat of paint! The classrooms were small and spartan, but tidy. After hours, chairs were stacked neatly atop the tables. The teachers cleaned the school every day after the children left, so my afternoons in the preschool were accompanied by the smell of bleach. A couple times, I wish I knew how to say, "Can I walk here or is the floor wet?" in Spanish.
I happened upon the playground when the kids were playing a game that I think they called "Prince or Princess." I stopped to take pictures. An adult man was running the game. He chose someone to be the prince or the princess; they held a bandanna to show their position. The rest of the kids lined up to chase and, I think, tag another child, and then run back to the prince. I couldn't figure out all the rules of the game, obviously. But just look at these kids' faces. They were loving it.