Sunday, March 30, 2008

Visit From "Los Saraguros"-

A few weeks ago we had a visit from a group of teachers from a bilingual school in Saraguro. They were interested in what we were doing in Salasaca. They wanted to start an English program in their school and I was invited to visit. They are located in the southern part of the state in the Loja Provence.
 
If you would like to know more about the Saraguros, click here.

Cookie Time

Wendy and Adam, from the UK are masters of creativity and they also love to cook. They have been teaching the youngest class the different emotion words in English and to ilustrate the point they baked cookies and brought them to school along with icing, raisens and other decorative items and had the kids decorate their cookies with any emotional face they wanted.
 

 

 
 
As you can imagine....There were no sad or angry faces.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Big Changes Planned For Katitawa School

As we near the end of the school year we need to make definitive plans for the next school year starting in September.
First of all I would like to review a little history of the Katitawa School. The school was started more than 10 years ago by Rosa Marie Masaquiza to fulfill a lifelong dream of having a bilingual school in Salasaca. Bilingual meaning that it would teach Kichwa and Spanish. It started as a private school and later joined the network of bilingual schools that were approved as experimental schools under the Ecuador Department of Education. In 2006 we added English to the curriculum.

Although Katitawa is not owned by the government, however the government does contribute a small sum of money for the salaries of two teachers, one of which also acts as the director. For many years Rosa Maria was the Director, but in February of this year, Rosa Maria had an opportunity to take a job at a university in the United States which was very difficult to pass up. Before she left she found her replacement and everything proceeded without any problems with the students or parents.

Some problems have cropped up in the last few weeks that are causing some doubt how much longer the government will be paying the two teachers. They have already decided not to pay Maria who has taken over for Rosa Maria. Maria will continue however because a group in the United States have agreed to help with her salary for the rest of this school year. So for the rest of this year we are operating as before.

At this time the directors of Sumak Kawsay Yachay are looking into the feasibility of reverting Katitawa back to a private school. We are in the process of writing an operating plan and present it to the Education Minister for approval.

The biggest problem is that we will now increase our operating budget by $400.00 which is what the government has been paying to the two teachers. We are quite confident that we will be able to raise this additional money plus a little extra. It is our goal to be able to increase the salary to at lest $250 and hopefully more per month which is just slightly above the minimum wage of the country.

Once we have the budget worked out for the upcoming year we will publish it here.

The Kitchen/Dining Room Changes Day By Day

The current volunteers continue the decoration of the outside walls of the "Kitchen/Dining Room", started by Hanna, Any and Becky in February. This is an ongoing project as we still have a couple of sides to go. Click here to see the beginning of the painting project.

 
 

 

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Portable Chicken Coop

A few weeks ago, Cara from St. Louis, Missouri was volunteering and told us about a chicken coop on wheels that she had made for her garden. The idea was so intriguing that we really wanted to construct one that would be used in the Katitawa garden.

We talked about it for a couple of weeks and shortly after Cara left for home Adam and Ryan decided to build one. One thing about these guys....they really make things happen. They made the plans, went out and bought the materials and in a few days it was a reality.
An interesting aside to the story was their trip to Ambato for the materials. When they found the place that had most of the material they were getting ready to pay for it when the owner asked them what they were doing. They told her that they were volunteers, working at a school in Salasaca and were going to build a chicken coop. The owner was so interested that she ended up giving them some additional material that they will use for another project.
 
The coop is being moved into place and as you can see it really is portable. On Saturday six young chickens were added.Everything seemed to be fine, except on Monday we found that one of the chicks had died.
Of course we gave it a proper funeral.


We don't know what went wrong, but in a week all the young chicks were dead. It was sad but we will start over in a few days.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Dirty Job....But someone has to do it.

Sometimes there are dirty jobs that need to be done. This was one of them. It took us more than a week to clean the irrigation water cistern. It had not been cleaned for at least 10 years and was about a third filled with mud, rocks, tires and a lot of other foul smelling things.

We had some help from the mothers of Alex and Jefferson and the grandfather of Darwin. These Salasacan women are strong.
What's going on down there.

 
 

 

 
It was a lot of work but we had a great feeling when the job was over.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Visitors From Quito.

A few weeks ago, we had a young couple from Quito, who came to spend three days in Salasaca to find out what the Katitawa School was all about.Nicolas and Paola are university students who are interested in our project and would like to return during the next school year as part of a practice teaching program through the university.

Since our plan is to begin the next school with specific periods of time devoted to specific subjects, we would welcome guest teachers who would be able to spend a month or more teaching one subject. For example, a university student who was qualified to teach 5th grade math would cover a full semesters work in the space of one month.