The Kids of CacalchenPosted: January 19, 2012
While journeying to a rural village in Mexico is an experience in itself, one thing I loved about the trip was working with the students at Academic Natanael. Despite the conditions many students lived in, were always full of joy and ready to play at a moments notice!
I was able to visit a few local homes in Cacalchen and the conditions broke my heart. It seems like everyone sleeps in hammocks because there is not enough room for a normal bed and I am sure they are expensive as well. Many families do not have indoor plumbing, therefore, no bathroom and kitchen like I am used it. Kyle at the academy has many ideas to help improve the lives of families in the Yucatan. There are plans to build roofs and bathrooms for many families, so they can live more comfortably and safely.
One challenge of working with the students was my inability to speak Spanish. I took Spanish in high school over ten years ago. In between I took Italian, which did not help my Spanish speaking ability. I did surprise myself and was able to understand more than I expected, but my speaking skills are not up to par with many of my fellow iMedia students.
The kids loved playing with our equipment, especially iPhones, iPods, and digital cameras. Once you let one take a photo or play a game, it was hard to get it back! It seemed like every time I turned a corner, there was a student running around with their new found toy. Luckily, the kids enjoyed the equipment and nothing was broken.
One experience I really enjoyed was being the leader of Team Verde on Friday morning. We played my different team building games. I cheered the kids on and helped them go in the proper order. I also go to participate in the games, such as the three-legged race. I was especially good when I had to catch balls in a bucket that was on my head. Despite the fact my team did not win, it was a lot of fun working closely with the kids.
Despite the language barrier, the students were not afraid to interact with me. I learned so much about the children by observing them and attempting to communicate with them. I hope by next time I visit Mexico I will be able to communicate much better than this trip.