Thursday, April 8, 2010
As Kevin and I travel to partner countries, I want to let everyone know what it is that were actually doing day to day, how each country and non-profit partner plays out, and hopefully in the end provide details of the environmental-themed children's book series we hope to publish in a year! The books will all be written by young women and kids around the world, and the backs of the books will feature the profiles of the strong female leader of each organization and the local endangered animal on which the book is themed. Countries to come include Cambodia, Bangladesh (the Ganges dolphin), DR Congo, Sudan .... but, our first stop: Nicaragua.
We have been in San Isidro, Nicaragua, for two days now. It is almost part of the capital, but for all appearances worlds away from the city. Our stucco home is one of the lucky with a tank above the house for running water. Friendly roosters and perros serve as consistent if vocal guardians, and Spanish is the only option here. Heaving 3-seat camponeras (read: tuk-tuks) ride along the dusty hill road entrenched in the dusty mountain and surrounded by small tin-lined or stucco homes and gnarly green trees.
Fabretto's main school at the top of the windy hill is extensive and lush, with a small student garden cultivating papayas, pinas and radishes, basketball courts, an auditorium, a scholarship student building that includes a computer lab, and a chicken coup. Today, 100 chickens will be slaughtered up the steet. Mucho sangre! Mucho trabajo, they said.
Ernesto, the music teacher, has regaled us with sweet Nicaraguan class songs of libertad and latino-america, and offered to help write a turtle-themed song with the classes here. I returned his music with a meager Bubbly on the guitar; if only Caillat's version had been accompanied by congo drums like mine was! The ukulele has yet to be brought out.
With homes open to breezes as much as other people, this community feels small and entirely separate from Managua. Classes on creative writing and sea turtles began yesterday with 30 students in 2 schools down the hill, and the students are already showing their creative talents. When asked to draw turtles with personalities, students came up with colorful images of golfing turtles, domestically-focused turtles going about their housework, and even some picketing tortugas on strike for humans eating their eggs! Today the students began thinking about elements of stories like narrative voice, setting, and characters, and with amusement acted out the story of Jeshi the gorilla. The students are 8-12 years old, and so far very sweet, engaged and attentive.
Tomorrow we hope to organize the classes into writing skits that will be turned into Oscar-nominees on Monday. Plans are also in the making for a Tortuga Fiesta on Friday next week to celebrate the conclusion of the workshop, with a class-made pinata perhaps!
People here go to sleep at 8pm, and are up with the roosters and the sun. Geckos skirt the walls roving for insects, and rice and beans is the daily fare. So far so good, and Ill keep you posted.