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.