Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Li Ch'utam's Projects in the Polochic Valley

Our Projects in the Polochic

We rolled in to Nueva Mercedes last night after a few hop, skips, and jumps through the mountains. The kids ran up to the fence to welcome us back as we played soccer with the adults…5-4, I let in the last goal, but it’s more about laughs and time spent together as a community. We are happy to be back in school with the kids everyday trying to be good examples for the 1&2 grade teachers who are making class more creative and efficient… poco a poco (little by little.)  They kids don’t learn much in class, but it’s something we’re working to fix every day and show them that learning can be fun, interesting, and challenging.

They are so fun to be with when they are learning new things; their faces are so bright and amazed to see the photo they’ve just taken, or a sentence they’ve written on a computer, or play a new sport.  We’ve been very lucky so far to have such good friends passing by to meet the community and have fun on a cultural exchange.  One of our Australian friends from Mexico even decided to stay as a 1-3 grade teacher for our friends at Sepur private school a few rivers down.  Now we are working in two sites in the Polochic and have a great team of people trying to improve the local primary education. Any and all ideas can be adapted for both groups. We are happy to welcome Li Ch’utam’s next volunteers in early March. They are Northeastern students who are happy to help and practice their own style of sustainable development. As I type they are surrounding a table at Espresso Royal CafĂ© in Boston planning a week-long photography/phys ed curriculum playfully dubbed Kodaks and Crayons that will help the kids look at life through a different lens. This will be part of our after-school program for anyone who wants help with their schoolwork, wants extra work, or is just curious as to what the big fuss is all about.

This after school program is intended to help more students develop their education past the 6th grade where the majority ends their studies each year.  Kids who wish to pursue their education and interests will have access to tutors, computers full of educational software, books, and fun projects to grow individual & community development. Any ideas about creative, interesting after school activities or curriculum would be warmly accepted and likely adapted for our curriculum if relevant, so please do send those comments to my facebook page or e-mail, kando.d@neu.edu.

 In the name of innovation and sustainable development we have been exploring with our partners at Campus Tec in the city some very interesting possibilities for educational technology. We were invited to Maria Zaghi’s Innovation class at Universidad del Valle in Guatemala City this past week. Her students were wonderful and have decided to develop an open-source software for cheap tablet pc’s that will put the nation curriculum for all Guatemalan primary school students into an interactive adventure video game that will allow students to  journey through an educational world using the touch screen tablets and pens. I’m sure they will do a great job and enjoy their experience working as a team and producing something with so much potential for replicability.  Our feet are firmly planted in the fertile soil of Nueva Mercedes where we will work with the people to develop local educated leaders, and in the name of innovation as global social entrepreneurs we’re reaching for the stars. 

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