Friday, February 6, 2015

The Latest Happenings in Munoz

A short introduction- My name is Kelly Terry and I am the current Volunteer Coordinator/Assistant Director for Project Esperanza and the writer of the Munoz blog for the time being. I hope you enjoy my relaying of all things exciting about Project Esperanza in Munoz, and feel free to give me comments, feedback, or ask questions! I try to be very open and personable to our Project Esperanza community.

So. February. So far so good. The Fair Trade Art Shop has been running smoothly and things have been moving forward with Sewing My Future and the sewing of hats and bags by women in the Munoz batey. We're getting ready to put them in our shop and on our online store! Hopefully, in the future, the trained seamstresses in Munoz will be employed by various textile producers from major shopping websites, like Etsy.

At the United Brothers School of Munoz, we've been having lots of fun. Filo, our recent new teaching assistant, has been so helpful in Jacob's big class (filled with 1st - 4th graders) and has taken the reins in teaching the young students their letters, numbers, reading, writing, and mathematics. Today, like all Fridays, students stood at the front of the class and sang songs of their choice. It's amazing how little "verguenza" (shyness) these kids have- they jump up without inhibitions to sing a solo (or duet) and can't help dancing a little as they sing. The older students in the class are working on their multiplication and division. They've mastered addition and subtraction... and are excited about it. A few boys insisted that I stay inside with them during recess and give them "really really really" hard addition problems, with 7 digits!

Pierre practicing writing "a"
In the back of the school, Daisy (our preschool and kindergarten teacher) has taken on an assistant, Francia, to manage her almost 30 students. As they were getting a little out of hand during recess, Francia got the small kids engaged in a fun jumping, clapping, and singing song. From what I could understand, the jist of the song was "Dios me hizo, y soy especial" (God made me, and I am special).

Volunteer-wise, our most exciting recent development has been giving English classes to any interested children in the Munoz area. For a few weeks so far, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5 - 6 pm, eager students flock to the United Brothers School of Munoz to convene for class. Several travelers from all corners of the world (Belgium, Alaska, France, North Carolina...) who are currently residing at the SunCamp Apartment Rentals (also in Munoz) have been extremely helpful with the classes. We're currently encouraging any interested-in-volunteering individuals in the Puerto Plata area to link up with us to give English classes or work on our continuing recycling project in Munoz! 

Today we reviewed the alphabet, numbers, several emotions, and basic conversation skills then jumped into alphabet, number, and emotion BINGO! Kids were trickling in throughout the class, congregating to the loud sounds of laughter and English coming from the school.

In conclusion, Munoz has been a happening, fun place for Project Esperanza and we (as always) have big plans and lots of hope for the future. 

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