The past two days have been a whirlwind of Spanish, volunteering in the daycare, meeting new people, playing with kids and figuring out the bus system! My first day of voluteering was on Monday. I live with the in laws of my project coordinator, Patrick. He picked me up on Monday morning when he dropped his daughter off at the house before school. Patrick and I went to the center and he gave me a tour. The center was started in 1995 to help women from the garbage dump. As they were helped and their quality of life improved, more people were allowed to use the clinic, sewing center and daycare. They pay according to what they make. Some families do not pay for care. The clinic is for vaccinations, dentistry and other health issues. The sewing center makes all kinds of clothes. The women do not have to pay for their education. And that brings me to the daycare...
There are 90 kids. 90! They are in four classrooms. Each classroom has either one or two teachers. In the baby room there were 9 babies with one teacher yesterday! In the daycare I worked at in Colorado, we were allowed to have 5 babies maximum for one teacher. Usually we had 8 babies and two teachers and that was overwhelming sometimes! 9 babies for one teacher! Today I was in the classroom with 3 to 4 year olds. There were 28 kids! Que loco...
I arrive at the daycare at 8 30, assuming I catch the right busses, and help to give the kids breakfast. It is very important for us to give the kids food because at home the might not get it. After breakfast the kids go to their classes and either do an art project or sing songs. A teacher in Colorado, Flor, was bilingual and taught me The Itsy Bitsy Spider in Spanish. The kids love it! Then I do it for them in English and today I had all 28 kids watching. After breakfast we go outside and play. Then we have lunch which consists of soup, rice and either vegetables or fruit. After lunch the kids take a nap. In Colorado, each kid has their own sleeping mat and their own sheets and blankets. Here in Quito, there are a few big mattresses the kids lay on and they share big blankets!
While they sleep the teachers eat lunch. I usually eat and catch pieces of their conversation and answer a few questions they ask me and ask them a few also. I need lots of help with my Spanish! I feel bad when the kids get hurt and come to me to tell me what happened and I cannot understand them or correct whoever hurt them.
That brings me to another point...a difference between American kids and the kids here. These kids are tough. They hit eachother hard and kick and pull hair and push and all kids of things that would leave a kid in Colorado crying for the rest of the day. And they usually just get up and walk away. They are tough kids. Fuerte.
I brought my camera to the school today and took lots of pictures! They loved to see themselves on the screen. Oh yeah, and they are perhaps the most impressed with my watch which lights up when you push a certain button.
Quito is beautiful!