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 BaƱos plan to attend. Salasaca is only $0.50 away and the program starts at 10:30.