Alternative Title: Adventures in Ex-pat Patriotism
We had some really incredible last few days on campus!
On Friday, we finally had our registration! We have precisely 100 students coming this summer, ranging from mostly 8 to 16 (although the little boy I’m sponsoring is only 7 and a real sweetheart). It was a slow start making sure they all had actually gotten their parents’ permission and etc, and handing out the shirts that we spent hours spray-painting, but by the time we did their proficiency exams, we got really efficient. I mostly tested beginners, some intermediates, and the advanced group, who just blew me away with their excellent comprehension. My favorite moment of the morning was one little girl, maybe 8, who I asked “how are you today” and she responded (despite every other kid just saying “good”) “I am very well today. Thank you. And how are you?”. It melted my heart.
After teaching them the school song and dance this year, we told them about the rules and introduced ourselves. To my delight, as soon as my name was said, they all giggled “Maggie Tout Sauce”! I secretly, not-so-secretly love it! We then fed them lunch, which always makes my heart glad knowing they got something to eat that day, and said goodbye until Monday.
After a lunch spent watching “Frozen” in the nurses’ apartment, we picked up the team from Carmel from the airport and then had our staff July the 4th party! Everyone was decked out in their patriotic gear and ate hotdogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, chips, real salad, and even deviled eggs!! I was pretty psyched. We headed to the clinic roof and sang “Proud to be an American” on the top of our lungs while watching the fireworks some staff members bought. This has been my second time out of the country on Independence Day but I always seem to love America the most when I’m away.
On Saturday, we got to see the school’s kindergarten graduation! This has been one of my favorite experiences so far! Held in the decorated church, the parents were dressed to the nines. Everyone was wearing full suits and dresses and were bursting at the seams with pride. Because very few kids go past the sixth grade especially in this area, this is their “big event”. The graduates lined up in their little caps and gowns and I got to see my little friend Timac. Hearing him call my name and smile his mega-watt, devious smile is my favorite thing. They did a precious march down the aisle (I’ll try to upload that video but you know our wifi…). The whole program lasted nearly 3 hours; the kids had memorized so much from verses to skits to dances to speeches, all in adorable, monotone memorized French. It was really cute to understand it all. One of my favorite moments was the “passing of the torch” to the next class and the valedictorian proudly saying “Dear parents, dear classmates, this was our year in kindergarten. Together we sang, we danced, we cried” in her solemn, little voice. Seeing how vital education is to their community was an amazing thing to witness.
I got to form my team for Activities for the first week- a group of four eager high schoolers who I’m just positive I’ll have a blast with. We decorated the school and one of the 11 year olds who lives here year-long helped make my classroom sign.
Feelin’ like a real teacher and crazy excited to start!