Today the kids started becoming more confident and attempted more and more English. Some of the multilingual students really helped by explaining the games or activities in Spanish. The teacher I worked with also speaks Spanish, but the kids seamed to glean confidence from speaking among one another first before sharing with the class. In one of the older classes we discussed adjectives and how to describe someone, namely me. They loved learning how to say “pregnant” and almost lost it when I answered a question posed in Spanish about how many “meses” with 20. I quickly realized my mistake and corrected by saying, “Not 20 months, 20 weeks!” Needless to say they were very relieved. They were also very intrigued by my green (hazel) eyes because nearly all of them had brown eyes.
We reviewed the numbers in one of the younger classes, and by the end of class today one of the shyest girls was able to tell us how old she was: “I am 9 years old,” and count along as we played a version of monkey in the middle with a beach ball, counting up each time we were able to successfully pass the ball. The record was 30, by the way, and a small handful of kids kept up the whole way.
For most of the kids at camp, English is at least their 3rd language. I was quite impressed to learn today that one of our quieter-yet fairly high achieving-boys speaks Arabic at home, Spanish with most of his friends, and Catalan (a regional language that is sort of a mixture of French and Spanish that they use in formal situations) in school. However, he really tried to use English today not only in the English station but also in their sports activities and throughout the day.
English is one of the main ongoing activities at the center where we held camp, which they call La Fuente, “The Fountain.” They have classes some of the time but also host a language café for the community. It’s a place people can come together and practice their English with one another. As with the kids in camp today, they really open up when they have a chance to practice with peers. A major difference is that some of the women who come to La Fuente aren’t literate in any language, so the lessons can include basics such as how to hold a pen.
By partnering with the local team we hope we can help La Fuente be a light in the community. The team stays in contact with the parents and helps answer questions and build relationships. As with VBS volunteers at Existence, our team makes it possible for camp to run smoothly and for the community to get connected with La Fuente, hopefully for the long-term.