Monday, September 29, 2014

Into the Final Stretch: Day 1,538

Today (Monday), I went out to Solola for the third marking period review (and also to visit new families for the program which explains why I'm dressed like an American below; not that you know the difference since this is the first time I've posted a picture from a meeting).

There was very little that was normal about this meeting.  First of all, my fiance was able to attend with me, and during the course of the meeting, he explained the importance of education and shared his story about growing up in a family with resources (or a lack thereof) very similar to those of these families.  He also had a very serious talk with one young man who should be in 1st Basico (7th grade) this year about returning to school instead of working in the fields.  It was a conversation that needed to be had man-to-man.

Myself with Mercedes and Wendy
Most grades had improved.  One young man went from earning four points in the second marking period to earning FOURTEEN points in the third!  I was shocked and amazed.  His mother simply told me "It was the shoes."  Little by little the people show me that they are starting to believe in this program and seeing that their own "work" in the form of study can earn them things they want.  One person's grades had gone down drastically, and I was a little worried about it.  So, I asked the father if everything was okay.  He said that his wife had been pregnant but had then had an operation.  The boy was concerned about his mother and didn't want to let her be home alone; so he had missed a few days of school.  And then Mercedes and Wendy--the two girls in 2nd Basico (8th grade)--started pulling out sashes.  Every year for Independence Day (September 15th), all (most?) of the schools have a competition.  This competition, in most cases, is for the young ladies of the school.  It involves a number of contests which often include giving a speech about some topic, displaying cultural knowledge, participating in a traditional dance, designing an outfit based on some theme, and so on.  The judges then award prizes/places to each of the top three contestants.  To anyone who doesn't know the school, you really don't know who was 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, because the places have names, not numbers.  However, I do know that my girls took 2 of the 3 places!   (By the way, mom, do you recognize those shoes?  Donated and earned last month. Thanks.)

So, since we were already in picture-taking mode, we took a group photo as well.  We're making it through this year, and next year we'll be even better.  If you've read the other entry I posted today (which is actually Wednesday), you'll have a peek into what lies ahead for us.  We hope you'll be sticking with us as we continue this journey!
Ten parents from each of the ten families we serve here with our community contact, Manuel, and some of the children from the various families.  (Most children are in school at this time of day.)

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