Day 4: Lacey’s Reflections – “E-mails to my mother about our mission”

Every morning since I have been here, I have been updating and e-mailing my mother about what the group has been doing, what I have experienced, as well as my reaction to it. This is one of the more in depth messages I have sent, but it explains our daily routines, which had changed drastically since I had first told her about them. I believe this message also embodies the feeling all of us are experiencing when it comes to helping the children down here. We are all so ready to get started, help out wherever we can, and also gain memories that will last forever.

Mommy!
Today, we are going to what is called a Batey. It is a living community for Haitians that come to live and work in the Dominican. The living conditions are very poor and I know it is going to be an emotional experience. It will be hard to see the little kids who have nothing, and are denied basic rights, because they do not have the proper paperwork. Since they don’t have this Dominican paperwork, and sometimes don’t even have Haitian paperwork, they are not able to attend school and in many cases, they can’t receive medical treatment. It will be hard, but will also be a learning experience.

We will also be going to our first homework room today. These are the places in which my group will be teaching the lessons. We found out the logistics of everything yesterday, and I’m so excited to get started on Monday. We will be teaching for 6 days while we are here, next Monday through Saturday. There are two, three hour sessions per day, one in the morning, from 9-12, and one in the afternoon, from 2-5. We will be spending two days at each homework room and will be completing about 6-8 lessons in that time. We had to simplify some of the lessons even more, because we were informed that the kids range from ages 6-12, and the majority cannot read or write, and there may be cases in which the children have trouble focusing. It is going to be a challenge to keep these kids on task, but we have shorter lessons and have a lot of activities to keep them interacting with the material. I think it is going to work out just fine! Caminante was very impressed with our lesson plans and all of the work we put into them. They have decided that they even want to use them to teach adults the basics of science, because they don’t have an understanding either. They are going to do workshops for the parents of the children in the homework rooms, so they can learn the material themselves, but also help to reinforce the information to better their childs learning. They also told us that they plan to use the lessons during the summer, when they have camps of about 1000 students or more! I didn’t think we would have this much outreach, but I am very excited that we can impact as many people as possible! That is what I am most excited about. If I can impact at least one persons’ life, I am more than happy, but the fact that we will be able to convey this to many people is beyond anything I could imagine.

I have also had the chance to work on my Spanish. My professors are very impressed with my ability to read and understand the language when others are speaking. I am working on my talking skills, but I am still a little rusty. I was able to present my overall lesson plan and goals to the Caminante staff, with only a little bit of help though! The four years that I took in high school is coming back to me pretty quickly and by hearing the language all around me helps as well. I will keep you updated!
I love you so much!
Lacey

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