Imagine yourself 13-14 years old in a foreign country, trying to speak the language with a cooperative school. They have excursions planned and you board the Metro for the first time. You are excited to get out and see the Prado and Parque de Retiro. Excited that the entire group will be together. (Reunited and it feels so good!) You switch to three different lines before you reach your destination and the the teacher says that they hope you were paying attention as everyone is on their own to find their way back…..
What he did not say is that on the way back, they take a different station, one line and impossible to make any mistakes on which train to take. Relief!!
The kids are exploring the city….learning about art, history, culture, revisiting and perfecting their language skills because the teachers see which areas in speaking they are struggling with, though some get frustrated, they come back and try again. Each day better than the day before.
One thing I note, is how special this is for both the kids and Miss Matano. These kids love her, as she does them. There is a sense of pride for her to share in this experience with them.
Also surprise encounters with Don Jose and Sr. Otero…you can tell the teachers that have impacted these kids. Priceless!! (Too bad no photos en el Museo).
We end our week with community service working with the Elderly at Los Balcones. They were prepared for us………Los chicos went from being a little scared, …….to leaving with smiles on their faces…… The precious part was learning that their presence was the first step in making someone’s day!! They may say that all they did was talk, color, sit, and played games, what I saw was generational respect, listening, giving their time, working on fine motor skills, assisting in rehabilitation and exercises with purpose. I was so proud of them……..but here children are a reflection of their parents, so a toast to you!!
The Los Balcones staff made three tortillas de patata, which the kids love and devoured. With almost every culture “Food is love!”…….. So start cooking…
And Ice cream is always a nice treat….
They end their week back at the schools, lunch and free time in the swimming pool. All the kids are required to wear swimming caps in the pool. That did not go over well, but they made a go and I promised no pictures!!
……………And now off to their families for another weekend of adventures!!