Last Sunday, our first one back, the kids came running to give us hugs and little gifts. Leidy had made a green friendship bracelet for me and happily tied it on my wrist. Tightly. I told her I had bigger wrists than she did. Later, during worship, when my hand went numb, I had Julissa remove the bracelet. Julissa shyly presented us with a lovely drawing she had done of a rose with sweet sentiments and scripture bordering it. Julissa skipped her class to sit with us during worship. Karla nearly squeezed the stuffing out of us. Her mom told me later that Karla woke up very happy and excited that morning because "Mr. Don and Miss Jeanette are back!!!!!"
The kids were all talking about a concert at their school Tuesday morning. When I told Leidy that we would come, she was bouncing with excitement, and when I told her that we would bring her grandma, Concepción, too, if she wanted to come, they were both very excited. She asked if we could also bring her cousin, and we agreed.
We also lined up our English lessons/homework help sessions for Tuesday and Friday afternoons.
So, Tuesday morning we met Concepción and her niece at church and drove to the school. Concepción quietly handed me a bracelet made of tiny shells and green beads. I asked if she had made it and she said "si." I was very touched. We were quite early as Leidy had told us it started at 10:00 when actually it was 10:30. The kids were all on recess break, so they came over to sit with us on the benches outside the school office. Two more moms arrived - Carlos and Karla's mom, Suyapa, and Cruz, mother of Hilda, Greicy, Geicy. Smiley Patty, Leidy's birthmother, also appeared with Leidy's half-sister, Iris. I think we deserved the "show of support" honor for most attendees.
The school has a new music teacher, Ms. Deb, who is a retired music teacher who moved to the island several years ago. She started giving music lessons to disadvantaged boys, teaching drum lessons, and founded a steel drum band. I was very pleased to see that she is now teaching music to our kids! She started the concert right on the dot, too, not on island time. And boy! did she ever coax the music out of those kids! They all sang out, nice and loud. She said later that the trick is to get them to sing and not shout! All the songs were in English and were used as an addition to the English lessons. They loved all the motions she taught them and were very animated, especially during Crocodile Rock! Greicy and another girl are learning to play the recorder, two of the nine who had originally signed up for the class. They performed one number. I shot some video during the performances to show them later. We were very impressed with the entire concert. Afterwards, we were served cake and punch, then school was dismissed for the day. We gave rides back to church to as many as we could pack into our car.
After a quick lunch, Don and I went up to church for the tutoring session. Not all the kids came, but most did. We had a short English lesson. No one needed help with homework, so I brought out my laptop and let them watch the videos I had taken that morning. They were thrilled, laughing and pointing and singing along!! Such fun!
The kids usually play soccer in the church courtyard after lessons, but work has begun on the new church addition in the courtyard. They won't have much play area left. They wanted to play so badly, but the men were mixing (by hand) concrete and forming a foundation, so I wouldn't let them. They would have kicked a ball right into their midst for sure! Then the wanted to play on the very wide porch behind the classroom, but after they hit me the second time with the ball, I sent them home. I know, party-pooper!
Susan had left worksheets for us to use for the English lessons and also instructions on hooking a laptop up to the projector for the reading lesson. I had the laptop but no internet connection.
Friday afternoon we met again with fewer kids. I didn't realize that the kids were out of school that day. How many American kids do you think would show up for tutoring and English lessons on their day off? Exactly. We had six of the eleven kids. We were running late due to all the car and phone problems, so we had no extra time to try to set up for the reading lesson. We'll try that next week.