Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Visit From The Queen

This afternoon we had a visit from the President and Queen of Salasaca. They brought gifts for the children. Also pictured is Shayla, from Canada who is helping with our English Program. You can't miss her....Back row to the right of the President. Click on photo to enlarge.

Rosa Maria And Shayla

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Annual Christmas Program Is History

As is usual here in Ecuador and many Latin American countries, our Christmas program scheduled for 10 AM got started around 11:30. That was OK because we needed that extra time for two last rehearsals. Even with the extra time they were chaotic. Linda, suggested that I sit between a couple of the kids to keep order during the program, but I assured her with, not too much confidence, that once the program started they would be fine.

The program was given in Spanish, English and Kichwa.
With the exception of the songs that were sung in the different languages, all of the speaking parts in English were translated into Spanish so that the parents understood what was being said and it showed that the children also knew the meaning of what they were saying in English. It was not just a case of memorizing lines in English.
I asked one of the students to be the director as I did not want to be one of those teachers who would sit in front and mouth the words to the kids if they forgot there lines. I was just going to be a spectator and they would succeed or fail on there own.

They preformed wonderfully.

Many cultures have special festivals in December and here in Salasaca Kapac Raymi and Christmas are celebrated and these two festivals were the theme of the presentation. The stories were simple and did not go into a lot of details. All of the students, ages three to 14, had a part in the program.
On Wednesday while we were rehearsing, Luis, the very creative teacher of everything except English, was busy in the back of the room, cutting up cardboard boxes.When we had sung “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, the last song on the program before the dance dances which would be held outside, he asked five of the younger kids to come to back and he gave them each a musical instrument that was cut out of cardboard. He put on the record, “No te Vayas”, by the popular band “24th de Mayo”. He then led the group around the room dancing to the rhythm and playing their horns, drums and cymbals. It was hilarious. The next morning, while we were going through the program he painted each of them.
The idea was that after “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, the newly created band would lead the way outside for the rest of the ceremony. Luis….I don’t know where you got that idea, but it was fantastic.
The program ended with all of the students taking part in a couple of traditional dances. The total program was an huge success and enjoyed by all. I want to thank Bill and Debbie our volunteers from Scotland, who put a lot of time into the preperation for todays program and then had to leave early. You missed a great show and you would have been proud.

After the program all of the parents were invited to have lunch followed by a couple drinks of the famous $1.00 a box peach wine that is drunk, sometimes to excess, at all festivals here in Salasaca.
It was a great day and one that I will remember for a long time.

A few pictures taken after the program.

Linda, a long time friend, who lives in the mountains across the river from the town of San Francisco, came to see the program. She brought home made cookies for the kids who instantly accepted her as a friend.The two swings, made from bicycle tires are used constantly by kids of all ages.Cyri, prefers to swing up-side-down.Fabiola, who has been working with us for more than two years, will begin a program in January, teaching all the children who want to learn, the traditional Salasacan dances.Luis, one of the most creative teachers I have met. It is a pleasure to work with him.
Manuel and Fabiola. Manuel is the father of two of our brightest students at Katitawa and a big supporter of the school.This is our 1972 VW Kombi that brings the kids to school each day. Luis is the choffer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mark....Your apple tree lives.

This is one of the two apple trees planted by Mark, from Ireland. This one almost did'nt make it, but now it looks ok. The other is growing like some of the kids here. More pictures later.

The Big Christmas Progrm is the 13th.

The annual Christmas program will be presented to the families and friends on the 13th. If any readers of this blog are in Baños plan to attend. Salasaca is only $0.50 away and the program starts at 10:30.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Rosa Maria Library

If you look back a few posts you can really see the difference. We now have more than 1,000 books and we are in need of more shelves.
The large picture that adorns one of the walls was donated by Rosa Maria for whom the library was named. It was painted by her brother who lives in Salasaca.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Advertizement For Volunteers

I absolutely loved the time I spent at the Kichewa School, the children were so open and caring. I felt for the first time in my travels close to the people and close to the culture. It was a truly special time for me and I recommend the experience to anyone looking for a bit more to their travels. I would like to thank Robert for the Amazing work he is doing keeping the volunteer project, the library, the school and now the spa to support the school going. Robert you are truly an amazing man, and because of you these children will have many more opportunities in their lives. The school is dedicated to preserving the Kichewa traditions, and English is taught with respect for this serving only to support the preservation of a culture in a changing world. I would also like to send a big hello to Debbie and Bill, wishing you lots of fun with the kids….May they warm up your hearts like they did mine.
Love Rachael

Elizabeth Has Posted More To U-Tube.

Just received this E.Mail from Elizabeth.

Alli puncha, roberto!

i saw that you posted one video on your blog, a link to youtube... so that made me think to upload some of the videos i have of katitawa... i uploaded them to youtube so that people can see them... here are the links:

No 1..Graduación en Salasaka

No 2..Banquete de la graduación

No 3..Presentación de inglés: Walpa y Sayri

No 4..Presentación de inglés: Klever y Andrés

they are low quality, but i hope you enjoy them... please feel free to share the videos to promote the school...


Thanks Elizabeth.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Katitawa School on You Tube.

The last day Ganga was here she made a short video and posted it on You Tube.Click Here to view. Thanks Ganga.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ganga Has Left, But She Left Something Behind.

Two weeks ago, Ganga, a volunteer from England, had to leave, but she left some of her work that will always remind us of her. She is also an artist so while she was here she made a new sign for the schoo and other signs that were needed.
In the past some visitors have had a difficult time finding the Katitawa....Not anymore.We finally got the two sinks installed outside the dinning room. Just in fime for Ganga to decorate the splash-board with "Wash Your Hands in Kichwa, Spanish and English.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fabiola And Jose....Never a dull moment when they are around.

Anyone who has visited the volunteer's compound here in Salasaca will appreciate the following pictures of Fabiola and Jose. October 13Th will be her 21st birthday party at her home. You are all invited.
Many have promised to be here for her wedding. We will keep you informed.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our Second Year Begins.

September the 4Th marked the beginning of our second year of English classes at Katitawa. Although we had five graduate we still have six of the older kids returning. Four of the six are doing exceptionally well and it is great to see their progress.

We also have four of the littlest kids who have moved up from the kindergarten. Last year we had two one and a half hour sessions per week and now we have a one hour class everyday. Since we are a small school we are able to limit the classes to four children per class which is great for teaching a new language to kids who already speak Spanish and their native Kichwa. We are also including the youngest children in the daily English program which seems promising.

Many of the public schools in Ecuador teach English, but the classes are only one hour per week and are taught to classes of 40 to 50 students by non-native speakers. It is no wonder that these kids when asked the simplest of questions, like "Good morning" or "How old are you." they look at you blankly and say nothing.

We were able to make a lot of improvements over the last five months thanks to a generous donation by an anonymous person in Holland. The kitchen and dining room now have lights and the food preparation areas are now tiled. That along with a new paint job it is easier to keep clean. There are also lights in the pre-school room and in the next few weeks we will put lights in the maintenance building.

All of the electricity is provided by solar panels which charge a new deep-cycle marine battery that requires no maintenence and so far handles the small load. We also have a new (used) computer and a new printer. As we add new things,in a few months we will need to get another battery which will double the power available.

Last year the kids were picked up in an open truck and this year we have a Volkswagen Kombi.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Walkway To The English Classroom.

It is hare to see from this picture but the walkway to the two classrooms is collapsing. It was built with too little rebar and has broken away from the wall and has split into two sections. It is not dangerours but needs to be redone.When we build the new walkway we will also redo the garden.

Keep watching as we will post pictures of the progress.

Principal Building Is Now Waterproff.

This is the roof is the main building at the school. The flat roof allows water to stand and had caused some problems to the paint on the inside. The plan is for a second story however that may be years away. In the meantime we solved the immediate problem with a good quality, (hopefully), roofing material.

The Vegetable Garden

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Volunteers....The Kids Love Them.

One of the big plusses when you give a little of your time here is that you get back a whole lot more then you give.

Combination Soccor, Basketball, Volleyball Court.

An Old Classroom Gets A New Look

This historic classroom, which was built 10 years ago when the school was first opened, had fallen into disrepair when the newer building were built. It was used as a collection room for everything that you didn't want to throw away, but have no use for at the moment. The roof was in such bad shape that whenever it rained everything inside was soaked which made the choice to discard some of the treasures a little easier.
Since it was the second building built on the site more than 10 years ago, raising it was out of the question as it had some nastalgic value if not an historical one. We have plans to renovate in the near future, and by that I mean to make it structurely sound and keep the origial look. We then plan to use it as a workshop.

On careful inspection of the waterlogged contents we found enough roofing material, left over from the construction of the kitchen and dining room to that decided to at least make the roof a little prettier while waiting to get started on the more complicated job of renovation.
With the help of our two volunteers from Ireland, Enda (pictured above) and John who is taking the picture the tempory roof was completed in just a few hours.

As with so many things....Simple cost free solutions are staring at you and we were too blind to see them.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Vacation English Classes Started August 9th.

Vacation school English began on July 9th. We really did not know what to expect as to the number of kids who would show up but was very pleased with the turnout.We started out the day with 20 students and before the week was out we had 30. We split them into three groups seperating them by age and ability.
Elizabeth took the most advanced. This group was made up mostly with Katitawa students she had worked with during the school year.
Derek took the youngest.

For the last two weeks Julie took over and added a little dance to the program.
And I took the rest.

On the last day we tried to get the group together for a picture but it was difficult. This is the best that we could do.